Friday, March 25, 2022

Kindness, teamwork drive Windham High lacrosse star’s success

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s Isabelle Babb is a kind, encouraging player who leads by example on the lacrosse field. Along with being selfless, Babb has been playing lacrosse for most of her life and continues to work hard to improve at it.

Windham senior Isabelle Babb signs a letter of intent to play
Division III lacrosse for Johnson & Wales University in 
Rhode Island next year during a ceremony at Windham High
School on Monday, March 21. Her parents, Megan and Rusty,
were also on hand to watch her commit to a college program. 
Babb signed a letter of intent at Windham High School on Monday, March 21 to play Division III lacrosse for Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island next year.

She will bring a strong work ethic to Johnson & Wales and will work hard to get where she wants to be, athletically and academically. She plans to major in psychology with a minor in criminal justice.

"It felt pretty good, [to sign her letter of intent,]” said Babb. “I’ve been wanting to do so since my brother did it, so he’s really helped me. He inspired me to be a scholar athlete and continue to play sports in college.”

When she first visited Johnson & Wales and met with the lacrosse coach there, she felt like it was where she belonged and she could see herself there, even if she wasn’t playing lacrosse.

"She’s always supportive and always encouraging everyone,” said teammate and Windham senior Kayla Flanders.

Flanders said that Babb is supportive not only during games but in practices, too and that Babb is always there for her teammates.

Babb’s older brother, Matty Babb, played lacrosse, too. When Isabelle was younger, Matty was a role model for her and motivated her to also play lacrosse.

When Isabelle was in the eighth grade, she began playing with Maineiax, a premiere boys and girls lacrosse club for grades 2 through 12 in Maine. She has played for Maineiax year-round which has helped her to improve in her athletic career.

“She’s going to bring a lot to the team and the locker room as someone who works hard and somebody’s whose so kind to others,” said Windham girls’ varsity lacrosse coach Matt Perkins. “She is just one of the most positive people I’ve ever met and it’s going to be so good for that team and that program.”

Perkins also said Babb is a great role model for the younger players. If you want to show a younger player how they’re supposed to act or what is expected of them, Isabelle is a great example.

Babb said that Coach Perkins has been very supportive of her on and off the field.

She’s grown to love the sport and said lacrosse is something she sees herself playing throughout her college career.

She’s looking forward to the upcoming Windham spring lacrosse season.

“I'm excited to have fun with everyone. Of course, I like winning, but I just want everyone to have a great year and have fun with it,” said Babb.

She would like to thank Coach Perkins and Coach Meghan Flanagan, her father Coach Rusty Babb, and her family and friends for helping her to get to this point in her career. <

Athletics help Windham’s Sadie Nelson achieve her goals

Windham High graduate Sadie Nelson went on to
play college basketball for the University of
New England and is now a graduate assistant
coach at Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania.
By Matt Pascarella

When Windham alumna Sadie Nelson looks back on her time during high school, it’s hard for her to not think about all the memories that she was able to create through sports.

Sports has had a very positive effect on her life. Nelson is currently an assistant women’s basketball coach and graduate student at Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania going for her master’s degree in Education: Art of Teaching.

Nelson graduated in 2016, and while at Windham High School played soccer, basketball and softball. She is a member of basketball’s Thousand-Point Club.

After Windham, Nelson went on to the University of New England where she played basketball and graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. While at UNE her team won two Commonwealth Coast Conference championships and had two appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

UNE’s Head Women’s basketball coach Anthony Ewing said Nelson brought a great work ethic and desire to get better and win. She worked hard in practice every day, leading by example. She was a versatile player both offensively and defensively.

Basketball put me in scenarios that have made me a stronger person today,” said Nelson. “I tore my ACL my sophomore year of college and that was one of my hardest years to date. I knew that I had to put my all into my recovery if I wanted to come back stronger than I was before.”

Nelson did come back stronger the following year and was nominated a First Team All-Conference player.

After UNE, she knew she had more to give the game and wanted to explore the coaching field in order to see the game from another perspective.

Coach Ewing, reached out to her about coaches looking for graduate basketball assistants. Nelson jumped at the chance.

At first, it was hard for her to get out of the player mindset; she later found that mindset helped her relate to, teach and motivate her players.

Nelson said being part of the coaching staff has really opened her eyes to a lot of the hard work that goes into coaching a team.

Sadie brings ... a great level of experience,” said Cedar Crest College women’s basketball coach Kenric Carter. “By playing basketball for a good program in college, playing in the Division III NCAA tournament, she understands what it takes to win as a player which correlates to her becoming a good coach. I am very happy to have Sadie as my assistant and I am looking forward to seeing her grow as a coach.”  

Nelson sets goals for herself in sports and life and does what it takes to get there. She said it’s important to note she’s failed just as much as she’s succeeded. Athletics have helped her achieve many of her goals and she’s very grateful for this.

“Hard work ... can lead to opportunities you couldn’t have gotten without it,” said Nelson.

She plans to use her master’s degree to further herself in athletics and would like to be a head coach or athletic director someday.

Her advice to students who would like to continue their athletic careers after high school is to advocate for and put yourself out there. It’s important to understand the task at hand and take every opportunity that arises. Set goals for yourself and know the little things matter; be in the moment and don’t take anything for granted.

When Nelson is not on the court, she’s found a new passion for running and is currently training for her first half marathon this summer. She has taken her time to get used to and explore new places, being new to the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. Nelson also took up golf last summer and plans to get out on the course soon.

“Being an athlete will always be a part of who I am, but it doesn’t truly define me,” said Nelson. “It gave me the qualities and lessons that will lead me to my next stop in the road and luckily for me I get to continue to wake up and do what I love every day.” <

Friday, March 18, 2022

Windham Youth Basketball teams head to Rhode Island for regional championships

Windham's fourth-grade girls' team won the state youth 
basketball title and advances to compete in the regional
championships in Rhode Island. From left are Julia Call,
Jasmine Shaw, Addie McPherson, Reagan McGee, Ella
Higgins, Naia Varney, and Elsa Pearson. 
By Matt Pascarella

Windham Youth Basketball Association’s fourth-grade girls, fourth-grade boys, seventh-grade girls and seventh-grade boys teams played their hearts out in the state championships in Augusta on Feb. 27 and as a result, all four Windham teams qualified for the regionals and will be headed to The New England Basketball Championship in Rhode Island on this weekend.

The New England Basketball Championship features the top teams from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island to face off against players in grades three through eight.

Windham teams did great at the state championship and Windham’s fourth-grade girls’ and seventh-grade boys’ teams walked off the court as state champions while Windham’s fourth-grade boys’ and seventh-grade girls’ teams gave it everything they had and finished as state runners-up.

“It’s been extremely rewarding and fun to be part of this team’s success and I look forward to watching the kids continue to grow over the years,” said WYBA fourth-grade boys’ coach Steven DePaolo II.

He said the season was unique in that they played most of the regular season against higher competition. Windham pushed each other to get better week after week and every time the kids stepped on the court, they put everything they had into their game. They finished second out of seven teams.

“We had a lot of fun, worked really hard and learned a lot from each other and our coaches,” said WYBA fourth-grader Elsa Pearson.

Pearson is very excited to go to regionals and see what she and her team can do.

The fourth-grade girls’ team qualified for the state championship through perseverance, teamwork and from learning a better way of doing things.

“For most, if not all these girls, this is the first year they’ve played organized basketball,” said WYBA fourth-grade girls’ coach Lily Cooper. “These girls have been able to grow so much in such a short amount of time and it’s been very cool to see!”


Windham’s seventh-grade girls competed well all season, too. They have a strong work ethic based on hustle, determination, intensity, defense and rebounding.

They battled a tough team from Gray New Gloucester and left it all on the court.


“We were not out hustled in any game this year,” said WYBA seventh-grade girls’ coach Ben Delewski. “Parents are just as committed as the girls and that makes everything better.”


WYBA seventh-grade boys’ coach Josh Krainis said the team doesn’t have one or two stars on it, but instead a team of playmakers who can carry the team at any given time.


Krainis said the team had lost a few close games during the season.

The state championship games came down to the wire and Windham flipped the script and came out champions.

WYBA seventh-grader Luke Drottar had a foot injury going into the state championship game but decided to play through.


“I knew that my team needed me, so I didn’t think a lot about my foot. I just went out there and played,” said Drottar.<

Windham’s unified basketball ends season with big win over Gorham

Windham sophomore Jacob Smith focuses before making a
shot against Gorham in Windham unified basketball's final
game of the season on Wednesday, March 9 at Gorham 
By Matt Pascarella

As they were coming off a strong game where they forced Bonny Eagle into overtime, the Windham unified basketball team played their last game of the season against the Gorham Rams on Wednesday, March 9 at Gorham.

This was a super close game with the two teams tied at several points during the first half.

In the second half, Windham surged ahead. Windham had a six-point lead as the clock wound down, and a couple three pointers from Windham freshman Colby Schmid late in the game gave the Eagles all they needed to remain on top with a 72-62 win.

Windham unified basketball coach Anne Blake said this season brought on a lot of growth, teamwork and positivity.

Windham started with hustle. Windham sophomore Jacob Smith put the Eagles on the scoreboard.

From there, many Windham players scored. Windham junior Dani Iaconeta scored, then senior Jayden Gilpatrick.

Shortly into the first half, Windham had a small lead, but Gorham tied it up at 8.

That’s how large portions of the first half went; very close, with two very evenly matched teams.

Windham senior Cameron Malone was quick to grab many rebounds. Windham junior AJ Mains sunk several incredible shots including a very deep two-pointer from just inside the top of the key.

Windham senior Austin Rice also scored several nice baskets; after which he celebrated with the crowd.

One minute left in the first half and the game was tied at 26. At the buzzer, Windham led 28-26.

Schmid extended Windham’s lead as he was quick to snag rebounds.

Windham did a great job passing. They were supportive of each other.

Windham senior Kayla Fillinger scored multiple baskets. She had fun during the game. Fillinger said the season went really well.

Gorham tied the game up at 40. It didn’t take long, and Windham gained a small lead as time was running out. Schmid sunk a three-pointer. And with 30 seconds left, Schmid sunk another three.

Schmid said this win was for the seniors moving on. He said the team improved overall during the season.

The biggest positives Blake saw during the game was grabbing rebounds and just melding together, playing very well as a team.

“Not only is the last game a win, but we are four and three as of today, so this is our best season yet,” said Blake. “Very proud of their growth.” <

Friday, March 11, 2022

Wilcox makes difference on, off softball field

Fred Wilcox, left, and Ella Wilcox display
the first-place plaque after Ella's team, the
New England Elite, finished first in the 
Snowball Smash in Bedford, New Hampshire
on Saturday, Feb. 26.
By Matt Pascarella

Whether you see her at first base, shortstop or in the outfield, Windham junior Ella Wilcox is a bonafide softball star.

Wilcox comes from a softball family. She began playing in tee ball when she was 5 and eventually moved up to travel softball when she turned 10.

Recently Wilcox and her New England Elite softball team won the Snowball Smash, a one-day indoor softball tournament in Bedford, New Hampshire.

According to Wilcox, it felt good for her team to come in first place because it’s a great bunch of girls who push each other to do their best.

The high school spring softball season is nearing, and Wilcox has been practicing almost every day attending the live hitting sessions at “The Cages,” a softball and baseball facility in Gray.

“This season I am looking forward to playing competitively. After a great season last year, I am ready to see what we are capable of this year,” said Wilcox.

Her father, Windham High softball coach Fred Wilcox has enjoyed coaching Ella all her life.

“She’s so easygoing and a great student of the game,” he said. She’s the epitome of a team player. She will play anywhere we need her to, and she’ll play her heart out. She knows all the positions and plays them very well.”

Coach Wilcox said that Ella is a strong competitor with an extremely high softball IQ which shows on the field and in the dugout. She is always looking for the next defensive play and works hard to make adjustments on a pitch-by-pitch basis.

She’s played in a variety of situations and understands what to do with the ball and where she needs to make a play.

Coach Wilcox said Ella has been surrounded by many great players and teammates her whole life and they’ve all made each other better. 

Outside of softball and being a three-sport athlete, Wilcox is strong academically. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honors Society, is her Class Treasurer and serves on the Prom Committee.

Ella Wilcox said that her father pushes her to work her hardest both on and off the field.

She said that he couldn’t be prouder of her and all the hard work she’s put in and looks forward to seeing what the future will bring for her.

“Ella is a leader on the field,” said Windham sophomore and teammate Brooke Gerry. “She works hard and has high expectations of herself and her teammates. She wants the rest of her teammates to work hard too, so we can be successful.”

Gerry said Ella is a great friend. She and Wilcox have been playing together for five or six years on different teams, and Wilcox is always there for her teammates no matter what.

She said Ella is always finding ways to bring her teammates together and she helps players on the field and her teammates with academics off the field.

Ella Wilcox said she wants to make the most of her remaining seasons at Windham High. She’d like for the team to have a solid playoff run and win a state championship.

“I know that there is a lot of great talent in Windham right now,” she said. “So, I think that there is a high possibility of this happening.” <

Trail Blazers’ hockey falls to Lewiston in playoffs

Varsity Trail Blazers senior Aiden Hartwell stays ahead of his
Lewiston opponents during the first round of playoffs on
Wednesday, March 2 at Norway Savings Bank Arena in 

By Matt Pascarella

Ninth-seeded Windham/Bonny Eagle/Westbrook Trail Blazers had played eighth-seeded Lewiston earlier in the season and knew what to expect from them during the first round of playoffs on Wednesday, March 2 at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Lewiston.

The Trail Blazers went hard after the puck, checked their opponents and remained aggressive throughout the contest.

Lewiston scored multiple goals in the second and third periods and defeated the Trail Blazers 6-2; but not before the Trail Blazers left it all on the ice.

“We were hoping to battle against them,” said Bonny Eagle sophomore Lucas Laforest. “We played hard; it just didn’t work out for us in the end.”

Lewiston found the back of the net early into the first period. Trail Blazers goalie, Bonny Eagle junior Porter Krause had multiple saves coupled with Trail Blazers’ defense which held Lewiston to one goal in the first period.

The Trail Blazers came into the second period hungrier than the first. Lewiston still had a bit of force, as they scored goal number two early in the period. 

The Trail Blazers kept up their aggressiveness. Windham senior Aiden Hartwell, assisted by Laforest, went around the net and put the puck behind the goalie. 3-1, Lewiston.

Going into the third period, Trail Blazers Coach Bobby Fothergill told the team this was their last hurrah. They’d come back from a similar deficit against Lewiston earlier in the season.

28 seconds into the third period, Bonny Eagle senior Bobby Fothergill scored, assisted by Hartwell. Now it’s 3-2, Lewiston.

Windham got a power play and things were looking good.

However, Lewiston put two more in the net back-to-back, then scored once more.

“We knew they were a good team, and it was going to be a grind,” said Hartwell. We never held our heads down; we were always positive with each other; we played till the final whistle.”

Bobby Fothergill said they never gave up, there were some low points, but they moved on. They took it shift by shift.

“I’m extremely proud of these guys, said Coach Fothergill. “19 games they played; the effort was there every night.

Coach Fothergill said the team didn’t get down on each other. They win as a team; they lose as a team. He thought they competed well in this game, but the two shorthanded goals in the third period killed them; it’s tough to come back from that.

He’s proud of them and the way they worked. <

Friday, March 4, 2022

Windham graduate’s work ethic leads to coaching

Coach Andrew Wing discusses strategy with the Jordan-Small
Middle School boys' basketball team during a game at JSMS
in Raymond in January. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

Before Andrew Wing graduated in 2019, he was a star athlete on the field and the court and set a perfect example in the classroom at Windham High School. Now a junior majoring in Sports Communication, he still sets an example in the classroom and has made the Dean’s List every semester at St. Joseph’s College.

It is an academic goal of his to remain on the Dean’s List until he graduates in 2023.

Wing played soccer, basketball, and tennis at Windham High School and while he remains an incredible athlete, he chose not to play sports while in college.

“It was a tough decision not wanting to continue my [athletic] career, but I ultimately decided to fully focus on my education,” said Wing.

Although he chose to not play, he was the men’s basketball student assistant under then-head coach Rob Sanicola at St. Joseph’s. He said it was hard work, but an amazing experience.

Wing made many new friends, built great relationships with the coaching staff and was able to be around a sport he loved.

Now having just finished his first full season as the seventh- and eighth-grade boys’ basketball coach at Jordan-Small Middle School in Raymond, Wing is staying connected to athletics. He was contacted by JSMS Athletic Director Jack Fitch who asked if he would like to coach the team.

“He gave our boys' team some great coaching and because of Andrew and assistant coach Jed Bloom, the boys had a fun season while learning how to play the game of basketball,” said Fitch.

According to Fitch, they found a good person, a mentor and a coach all-in-one with Andrew Wing.

He says that he had a blast coaching and had no doubt his team improved over the course of the season.

Wing also has a love of film and coupled with his strong work ethic earned him the opportunity to write reviews for Windham resident Ted Trafton’s website “Ted Takes.”

Trafton created the website in 2016 to share his love for film. The website includes preview posts and spoiler-free reviews. “Ted Takes” reviews everything from big-budget film blockbusters to indie movies and even TV shows.

After moving to Windham in 2019, Trafton gravitated toward Wing’s family restaurant, “The Beacon,” in Raymond. It soon became a favorite restaurant of his and they connected over their mutual love of film.

“Andrew is wise beyond his years, an old soul you could say,” said Trafton. “His love for film was incredibly apparent from the start, and what impressed me most was his appreciation for the finer elements of filmmaking often found in the indie film world.”

Trafton said Wing is someone who takes pride in his work, is personable, knowledgeable and a real go-getter.

A year later, Wing has written almost 60 reviews for “Ted Takes.”

“It's extremely rewarding when someone reads a review of mine, takes my suggestion and checks out the film, and enjoys it,” said Wing.

Hard work is the biggest piece of advice Wing can give to graduating high school seniors. If you are moving onto college, Wing says build good study habits, put your education first and you will do fine.

If you aren’t going to college and will be looking for a job after graduation, Wing says to remember that doing something you are truly passionate about can be arguably more important than making money.

After college, Wing plans to work for a publishing company where he can write about sports or film. Having had such a great experience so far, he hopes to continue coaching basketball at either JSMS or even Windham High School. <

After strong effort JV hockey Trail Blazers fall to Poland/Leavitt

Junior varsity Trail Blazers junior Wyatt Carpenter of Windham
moves quickly up the ice while keeping the puck away from
the Poland/Leavitt Kings during a first-round playoff game
at Casco Bay Arena in Falmouth on Thursday, Feb. 24. 
By Matt Pascarella

The third-seeded junior varsity Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle/Sacopee Valley Trail Blazers hit the ice in the first round of playoffs against sixth-seeded Poland/Leavitt Kings on Thursday, Feb. 24 at the Casco Bay Arena in Falmouth and although the Kings jumped to an early lead within seconds, the JV Trail Blazers held their heads up and kept after it for three periods.

The Trail Blazers would find the back of the net twice, but the Kings scored four more times after that first goal win the game 5-2.

“Their effort was there, their intensity was there,” said Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle/Sacopee Valley JV Trail Blazers coach Ben Haskell. “It came down to some little details of decision making; making bad passes or not having our sticks down in the offensive zone and being ready for the rebound – not crashing the net.”

Haskell said the attitudes of the team were great, they just came up short.

After the Kings scored in the first period, the Trail Blazers moved the puck and worked to be first to it. The Trail Blazers took multiple shots at goal. After one period, The Kings led 2-0.

The Kings fired a shot into the net shortly into the second period. The Trail Blazers answered when Bonny Eagle junior Darren Haskell put the Trail Blazers on the scoreboard. The Trail Blazers worked to find the back of the net and stayed aggressive. After two periods it was 3-1, Kings.

“I think we had a lot of good sticks,” said Haskell. “Keeping the sticks covering the passing lanes, getting in the shots; getting shots to the net [all went well].”

The Trail Blazers wasted no time in the third period when Windham junior Wyatt Carpenter immediately fired one in goal. The Trail Blazers dominated the first half of the period and worked hard to tie the game.

“We had decent communication; I think one of the biggest things we had to work on was passing,” said Carpenter.

The Kings scored again. The Trail Blazers kept their heads up but couldn’t get by the Kings ahead of the final buzzer.

Windham sophomore Tobias Perkins said everyone was trying really hard and working as a team. They battled and did their best, but the puck just didn’t go in the net. <