Friday, April 29, 2022

Varsity softball experiences early season loss to Thornton Academy

Windham sophomore Brooke Gerry winds up before
throwing a pitch during a prep softball game against
Thornton Academy on Monday, April 25 in Saco.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham varsity softball was optimistic heading into an early season prep softball matchup against Thornton Academy in Saco, but despite scoring first, it wasn’t enough to hold off the Trojans who posted a 7-3 win on Monday, April 25.

Although Windham was the first to score in the second inning, TA was quick to answer an inning later when they put four players across the plate.

The Lady Eagles continued to battle in the top of the fourth inning as they came within one run of tying the game. But TA slugged it out in the bottom of the sixth inning to secure the lead and then held off Windham in the top of the seventh inning and posted the ‘W.’

“I think we just need to come with more energy, we were pretty flat from the start,” said Windham senior Ellie Wilson. “I think we thought we were just going to roll over them, but that wasn’t the case.”

Wilson said the team’s fielding went well, but it was their hitting that lagged against TA.

In the top of the second inning junior Hannah Heanssler doubled. Junior Reilly Russell singled on a line drive to left field. After Russell was thrown out at second, Heanssler stole home. A walk and sophomore Brooke Gerry singled. A pop fly ended the inning.

The bottom of the second inning brought three opponents up and sent those three back to the dugout.

TA scored four runs in the third inning to pull ahead 4-1.

Windham answered in the next inning when senior Amanda Foss crushed a ground ball to left field. Gerry hit a long ball to center, which was dropped. After a sacrifice fly by junior Ella Wilcox, Foss tagged up and scored. Freshman Stella Jarvais doubled, and Gerry scored.

“We definitely made some mistakes,” said Gerry. “I feel that we didn’t push through all the way like we should have. We could have definitely brought more energy, but next game will be better.”

Gerry said some communication went well.

In the top of the sixth inning, Gerry singled and Jarvais loaded the bases. Wilson grounded for a fielder’s choice. Unfortunately, TA defense prevented Windham’s scoring opportunities.

“We need work,” said Windham varsity softball coach Fred Wilcox. “We got a couple key players that are out right now, and a few players need to step up a little bit. We definitely need to make plays when they need to be made. We are not the offensive team without the two players missing and we’re not the defensive team without the two players missing. [Windham] have to have their heads in the game a little bit more ... they just got to play a little tighter game.”

Wilcox said they hit the ball and got on base which is positive. He added losing one isn’t always the worst thing, especially when you have a target on your back, you just go out there and play another.<

Nice start to season for Windham boys’ tennis

Windham High freshman hits the ball over the net during a
close boys' tennis doubles match against Bonny Eagle at
Windham on Thursday, April 21.
By Matt Pascarella

On a fairly windy day, Windham took the court against Bonny Eagle for the first match of the 2022 spring regular season on Thursday, April 21. After a tough battle by every Windham player, Bonny Eagle won 4-1.

Windham doubles team composed of seniors Bradley Collins and Matt Medina defeated the Scots 6-0 and 7-5.

Windham freshmen doubles team composed of Zach Noonan and Asher Knott brought heavy competition right out of the gate as they forced a tiebreaker in a super close match, that resulted in Bonny Eagle just narrowly getting by in round three.

“I think they’ve done pretty well,” said Windham boys’ tennis coach Garry Stone. “We don’t have a lot of kids with a lot of experience this year; they’ve all been improving quite a bit – I’m pretty pleased with it. Our big goal this year is to have fun and get better.”

During all matches, there was intense hustle coupled with great focus as all Windham players kept their eyes on the ball and stayed with the ball during their matches. Every Windham player had great volleys and quick returns.

In the singles matches, the Scots may have gotten ahead this time, but it is early in the season and there is plenty of room for improvement.

“I definitely had some power serves,” said Windham senior and singles player Will Searway. “The one thing I really liked about the match was the sportsmanship; we were talking and having fun.”

Searway said he surprised himself and had good returns. Searway was nervous for this match but relaxed a little when he realized his opponent was a friend of his, Tim Zidle.

While Zidle beat Searway 6-0 and 6-1, Searway learned a couple lessons from Zidle, which prepared Searway for future matches. Searway learned to always go for the ball and to anticipate his opponent’s shots better.

Windham senior and singles player Nate Fitzgerald lost to Bonny Eagle 6-3 and 6-2.

Windham senior and singles player Connor McCarthy lost to Bonny Eagle 6-2 and 6-0.

In the close freshman doubles match of Noonan and Knott, they forced a third match after tying the Scots 6-3 and 3-6. During their tiebreaker match, it was very close with the teams being tied several times during the third match. Bonny Eagle won 13-11.

Both Noonan and Knott said they were focused on the game and tried to not get distracted, while communicating with each other at the same time. They said their short game at the net was really good as well as making it work on the ends. Both said their goal for the season is to keep improving. <

Tales from the Woods: Scouting for turkeys a good idea

By Bob Chapin

All winter long friends, who know I enjoy hunting turkeys in the spring, have been regaling me with their sightings of 25 to 40 to 50 turkeys they have had under their bird feeders! I know, I know…I have seen them too.

And while it warms my heart to see them, I know that come May 2 they will be widely dispersed and doing most of their feeding and roosting in smaller family units and gender specific small flocks. Even now the males are forming up into 3 to 5 bird cohorts and beginning to test each other for dominance.

They scrap and display their feathered fans establishing the pecking order and breeding rights for what is coming. Their gobbling will soon fill the early morning air, a ritual similar to breeding elk and red deer. Hunters, intent on bagging such a worthy trophy will be rising well before dawn, gulping down a hot cup of coffee and foods with marginal nutritional value, and heading into the woods in an effort to pinpoint exactly where they are.

They do this because their odds of seeing a mature gobbler within range go up exponentially if you can commence your calling within 100 to 150 yards of the trees where they roosted the night before.

I once hired a coyote guide to speak to a group of rod and gun club members. He started his presentation with a statement I thought at first was too elementary.

He said,” First, hunt them where they are.” Seems simple enough but it makes a good deal of sense when you think about it. We are blessed with wide areas of publicly owned woods and farm fields and the turkeys could be anywhere. 

Turkeys are like coyotes, widely nomadic and they could be here today and gone tomorrow. They tend to hang around areas that present favorite food sources but rarely use the same roosting trees for more than a few days. Our job as hunters is to find out where those areas are.

You can pattern a turkey for several days then the next day they don’t show up even though the weather and the food sources may not change, that’s hunting.

Before you invest your time in getting a kitchen pass, assembling all your gear, getting up well before dawn (*which means about 4 a.m. or earlier), traveling to the selected location on the property you have permission to hunt, you want to be reasonably sure there will be a male turkey in the vicinity. 

Landowners, rural delivery drivers such as FedEx and UPS as well as your local mail delivery person can be of great assistance in keeping track of where they see birds and what times of day, particularly those times of day when you can’t be there. 

Most are happy to share this information if you just ask them. Best times to do your own scouting are the times you plan to hunt and probably no more than a week before the season opens.

For Mainers this year it is a half-hour before sunrise on May 2.

Unfortunately, that means the very early mornings because that is when they are ‘flying down’ to start their day.

While hens and toms will roost near each other at night for safety they are often not in the same trees. But you can bet the boys will not be far from the ladies so they can follow them once they fly down.

My personal diary tells me the first sign I know for sure that gobblers are around is the gobbling they do from the roost before flying down. Typically, that is between 4:45 to 5 a.m. and it is still quite dark in the woods. That means you have to be in position ready to hunt at about 4:15 a.m. in order to let the woods settle down after your arrival.

If you are just scouting, not hunting, follow this timetable. Once you hear that first gobble your mission is accomplished and you should retire quietly from the field so as not to disturb their routine. Don’t be the cause of your own “bad luck.” Come back opening day and take one home with you.

If the dawn arrives with no gobbling sounds that does not necessarily mean there are no gobblers around. I was convinced one year that I was hunting a “dry hole.” At 9:30 a.m. hearing nothing, I started for my decoys (I use four to start the season: a gobbler, a breeding hen, anther feeding hen and a Jake or young male) when a gobbler sounded off close by.

As I was already up and moving, I tried to sneak closer and eyeball him. To my chagrin he was still roosted and flew down practically knocking me down. Fortunately, he glided past me into a thick patch of brush, and I don’t believe he recognized me for what I was. I backed out and came back the next day and called in a couple of hens that stayed among my decoys until he showed for his last rendezvous.

If you get through an early morning of scouting and see or hear nothing, the day is not a total waste. Use the time to drive around checking field edges, open fields and tree lines. Don’t overlook cemeteries, fallow farm fields, boys’ and girls’ camps not yet in business. Toms love strutting their stuff in areas where hens can see and evaluate them.

Have a number of these places in your back pocket just in case you strike out on your prime spot, you have a hunt busted by other hunters, or you make a mistake and lose a chance to shoot…it happens.

So is scouting worthwhile…you bet! <

Friday, April 22, 2022

Spring season will feature many great athletes

Windham High senior Pete Peterson throws heat early in a 
preseason prep baseball scrimmage against Sacopee Valley
at home on April 12. Peterson could make it tough for
 opposing batters this spring.

By Matt Pascarella

The spring prep season has already opened for most sports, and in about a week, the spring schedule will be in full force.

Here are a few Windham High School players to watch as the season gets underway:

Boys Lacrosse

Coach Peter Small

Alex Yeaton, junior – In a preseason game against Greely, Yeaton was quick on the field and got to the crease where he scored at least once.

Nolan Brennan, senior– Like Yeaton, Brennan is fast on the field and gets it done. Looking forward to what he and Yeaton will be able to do this season.

Boys’ lacrosse is at home against Scarborough on April 23.

Girls Lacrosse

Coach Matt Perkins

Sid McCusker, senior – In preseason games, McCusker is fast and energetic with the ball. She scored three times in a recent game against Gorham.

Isabelle Babb, senior– Headed to Johnson and Wales next year for Division III lacrosse, Babb is another player who is quick on the field and moves the ball well.

Girls’ lacrosse is at home against Deering on May 4, varsity only.


Coach Fred Wilcox

Brooke Gerry, sophomore – An incredible pitcher who was instrumental in taking this team to the state semifinal against Biddeford last year; she’s only improved more and can take this team even further.

Stella Jarvais, freshman– Jarvais has played on travel teams and has showcased serious skills. She’s an excellent addition to this powerhouse team.

Softball is at home against Westbrook on April 30, varsity only.


Coach Cody Dube

Alex “Bob” Wing, junior – Wing had a couple of solid plays plus a hit that later resulted in Windham tying the game with Sacopee Valley during a preseason game. He’s definitely a player to watch.

Pete Peterson, senior– Peterson was first to pitch in the Sacopee Valley scrimmage and threw the ball well over the plate. He’s going to make it hard for batters this season.

Windham Baseball is home against Marshwood on April 30.

Boys Tennis

Coach Garry Stone 

Will Searway and Dakota Thompson, seniors – Players who have devoted this much time to a sport over their high school careers are worth watching as the season begins and progresses. A doubles team, they were important in shutting out opponent Kennebunk last year.

Boys’ tennis is home against Kennebunk on April 27.

Girls Tennis

Coach Katy Dresnok

Alyssa Conley, sophomore– Conley helped propel Windham to an end-of-season win against Cheverus last year when she shut out her opponent 6-0, 6-0. Conley’s strength can only help Windham this season.

Lauren DeLuca, senior– Half of a doubles team, DeLuca helped Windham shut out Biddeford in the Class A South opening round last year. With this being her final season, I look forward to seeing what she’ll do.

Girls’ tennis is home against Thornton Academy on April 29.

Boys Track

Coach Paula Pock 

Connor Langstaff, junior – Langstaff consistently puts up good numbers and breaks personal records. At States last year, he placed seventh in the 300-meter hurdles and seventh in the high jump. 

Will Stewart, senior – In indoor track, Stewart finished the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.17 seconds. He also finished second in the 200-meter with a time of 25.26 seconds; he will only continue to succeed.

Girls Track

Coach Jeff Riddle 

Stella Inman, senior– Inman came very close to breaking the school shotput record during indoor track and plans to beat it this season. She also became a shotput state champion when she threw a distance of 37-10.75 feet. 

Khalysa Hammith, sophomore– Hammith is lightning-fast on the track and qualified for four state events last year. I think she’ll keep that speed up this season. 

Outdoor Track begins on April 28 with home meets against Noble and Portland. <

Tales from the Woods: Breaking out the Boat

A thorough maintenance check can save problems and avoid
issues down the road for boaters who are getting their
watercraft ready for another season. COURTESY PHOTO
By Bob Chapin

With the very first signs of spring, before all the snow is gone from the shady areas of the lawn, those of us who are boaters and fisher persons think about breaking out the boat and getting ready for the first launch. Even before you roll it out of the garage or pull the tarps or shrink wrap off, you can renew your registration for the boat and trailer at your local town hall or online.

A tip: if you take your old registration to the Auburn DMV you can renew for five years versus your normal one year and at a lower rate. Maine residents get their invasive aquatic species sticker integrated into their registration. Carry your boat and trailer registration with you wherever you boat.

Once you get the wrapper off the boat is a good time to check for mice infestations as they love to make nests up under the bow and in any closed compartments such as undersea storage, floor lockers, live wells, and transom cabinets. While you are there check for chewed wiring and tubing such as transducer tubing, gas lines, and anything coated in plastic. I once had five kayaks gnawed one winter, two with complete holes through the hull. Make yourself a note to put mouse discouragement devices in place next fall if you find any evidence they have been there.

While we are talking about electrical wire now would be a good time to top off your starting battery and any auxiliary battery you use for trolling motors, lights, bilge pumps, etc. If you used a trickle charger all winter, your batteries should be fully charged.

Fully charged means that if you put a simple multi-meter tester on it and set the dial to 50 volts DC, you should read at least 12.1 v—any less and it goes on the charger. It is recommended that you disconnect the electrical leads to the battery while it is on the charger and charge it in an area with good ventilation. The process of charging a battery releases hydrogen gas which is very flammable.

If you were diligent last fall and changed out the lower gear and the engine oil and filed off the burrs on your prop, then you should be ready to go. If not, you have work to do. If it has been three years or more since you last changed out the spark plugs on your engine, then do so now, you’ll be glad you did.

If your hull was intact with no leaks last fall, you should be good to go. With an aluminum boat, if you had a few leaking rivets, you can try hammering them tight with a ballpeen hammer or specially designed punch but be sure and have a friend back you up on the inside of the boat with a stout backstop or risk putting dents in your boat.

If you still get leakage, consider drilling out the offending rivet and replacing it with a slightly larger solid rivet. Should you have a wooden boat, it may require a period of soaking in water to allow the wood to swell and seal any leaks. As a kid we had a heavy wooden rowboat that would leak like a sieve when we first put it in the water. After three days of sitting on the bottom we would bail it out and it would be bone dry the rest of the summer.

Use a boating safety equipment checklist available from West Marine, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife or the Department of Marine Resources to ensure you have all the required gear for the size of your boat and where you will be boating.

This includes all the required lighting when operating after sunset and before sunrise. Check your signaling devices either electronic or manually operated and that you have serviceable Personal Floatation Devices sized for every passenger, including you.

If you have a flare gun, check to see that the expiration date on your flare cartridges is current. I keep date-expired cartridges that appear to be in good shape along with my current ones because if you have to use them you will find they do not last long when deployed and may not be seen in time.

While goose hunting late in the season on Chesapeake Bay, another boater had to use his flares. As I responded in his direction two other boats ahead of me did the same, so I was waived off. I am sure he was glad he had more than the required number of flares. Although my boat has an operational horn, I always carry a manual whistle on my person, just in case.

Lastly, check your anchor and dock lines for dry rot and that your knots are still secure. I always carry a short length of extra line because, well, you always need more line, and you may wish to assist another boater.

For added security and confidence I have a set of Mickey Mouse ears or cuffs that I can put over the water intakes on my motor and connect them to a garden hose. That way I can start my engine in the driveway without fear of overheating the motor. Even with all the above accomplished, I keep my first “shakedown cruise” close to home.

It is difficult to thoroughly check your trailer while your boats sits on it. Therefore, after I have launched for my shakedown cruise, I check over my electric lights, guides, rollers and bunkers, winch strap, winch ratchet lock, safety chains, auto grease hubs and tire pressures. Carry a spare tire on the trailer or in the tow vehicle as well as a jack and a lug wrench as they may not be the same size as the tow vehicle. Safe Boating! <

Friday, April 15, 2022

Windham varsity baseball shows promise in preseason game

Windham junior Logan Marden is ready to make the tag at
third base during a preseason varsity baseball game against
Sacopee Valley at Windham on Tuesday, April 12.
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham High School varsity baseball team came within one run of the Sacopee Valley Hawks during a preseason game at home on Tuesday, April 12.

Sacopee Valley scored one run in the third inning, and the Eagles were quick to answer when they had a mini slugfest in the bottom of the fourth inning which drove in two runs and gave Windham the lead.

Although Sacopee Valley was able to sneak in the tie-breaking run, to win 3-2, Windham did a good job defensively. Players were put all over the field and adjusted well to being in many different positions as they made several great plays.

"Our at-bats were okay, we really weren’t aggressive enough early in the count,” said Windham varsity baseball coach Cody Dube. “Pitchers did a great job, they threw the ball over the plate and let our defense work. It was a positive day.”

Windham junior Blake Peeples thought the team did very well against Sacopee Valley. He thought Windham needed to communicate more but said they did well getting on base and fielding in the outfield, as well as getting groundballs to first base and making connections.

In the top of the first inning, the Hawks had two runners in scoring positions and the Eagles ended the inning with those runners stranded and unable to score.

Windham started slow offensively, but kept Sacopee Valley scoreless until the top of the third inning when the Hawks drove in a single run.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Windham junior Alex “Bob” Wing singled. An out at first, advanced Wing to second.

Windham senior Colby Raynor singled; then advanced to second. Another base hit and Wing tied the game.

Raynor scored on a passed ball. Now, Windham was ahead 2-1.

Sacopee Valley wasted no time as they tied the game up in the top of the fifth inning at two. The Eagles defense shut down any further scoring opportunities the Hawks had that inning. 

Windham defense kept it up in the sixth inning when catcher Raynor stopped a runner headed to home.

In an unusual play where a Sacopee Valley runner stopped halfway down the third base line, the Hawks were able to edge out ahead.

"We played good as a team,” said Windham sophomore Login Desrochers. “We got to work on signs and getting to know the plays a little better. We had a couple screw-ups, but overall, it’s going to get better as we play more together.” <

Windham girls’ lacrosse tunes up for 2022 season

Windham freshman Grace Jolly approaches her opponent's 
goal with a fierce look in her eyes during a preseason girls'
varsity lacrosse game against Gorham at the University of
Southern Maine in Gorham on Monday, April 11.
By Matt Pascarella

To best prepare for the start of the regular girls’ lacrosse season, which opened Thursday at Yarmouth, Windham High School played a preseason game against the Gorham Rams at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham on Monday, April 11. The girls worked hard from start to finish but fell to the Rams 12-6.

Windham had several shots at goal in the first half with a few that landed, often to tie the game.

“Even though we didn’t have the best night ... we can all work together and ... learn from this and use this as a lesson to work harder and get better as a team,” said Windham sophomore Mallory Muse.

The Lady Eagles took the field aggressively. When Gorham scored less than three minutes into the first half, Windham was quick to answer when senior Sidney McCusker tied up the game.

Gorham pulled ahead by one, but it was Windham senior Molly Black who tied it up at two.

With less than 10 minutes left in the first half, the Rams scored again, but Windham sophomore Macie Ennis shot the ball around the goal post and past the goal to tie the game at three.

Gorham managed to score two more times before the end of the half to take a 5-3 lead.

Windham had a strong start barely 30 seconds into the second half when junior Ashley Clark fired the ball directly at the goalie and it bounced up and in.

Gorham scored three times. McCusker then scored back-to-back goals, but Gorham scored several times more before the end of the game.

Lady Eagles freshman Grace Jolly said the team was really good at encouraging each other and keeping their hustle up though it was a little harder as the game went on. Jolly said the score may have got to the team a little.

"Their effort is great,” said Windham girls’ lacrosse coach Matt Perkins. “We are a young team; we are still trying to figure out the game and each other. We are going to make mistakes.”

Perkins added if those mistakes happen, and the team is able to battle and push through them to continue to play hard. The biggest thing is not to get hung up on mistakes and move to the next play.

He said if the team does that all year, they will come out pretty well at the end.  <


Friday, April 8, 2022

Eagles tie Greely in boys' preseason lacrosse game

Windham High senior Will Woolston charges past a Greely
defender during a boys' prep lacrosse preseason game on
Saturday, April 2 at St. Joseph's College in Standish.
By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s spring season has begun, and the boys’ lacrosse team immediately came out strong in a preseason game with Greely at St. Joseph’s College in Standish on Saturday, April 2 that ended tied at nine.

Although the Rangers took an early lead, Windham wasn’t far behind and matched them pretty much shot-for-shot throughout the game.

In the third quarter, Greely gained a bit of a lead, but there was plenty of time left for Windham to come back and that’s exactly what they did.

“I thought we played hard, played well,” said Windham senior Colby Mizner. “We definitely worked hard all week; conditioning-wise I thought we were there. We definitely need to work on passing, ground balls, just the basic things we need to win the game.”

Windham remained aggressive in the first half going hard after the ball and making sure if Greely got ahead, they didn’t stay there long.

These two teams were very evenly matched. Windham tied the game at two. The Eagles moved the ball well and took a one-point lead. Then Greely tied the game at three after one quarter.

Windham scored in the first two minutes of the second quarter and then a short time later. Eagle defense kept the Rangers to one goal in the second quarter. With less than 10 seconds left in the quarter, Windham scored. The Eagles led 6-4 at the half.

Greely made up a lot of ground in the third quarter. They scored early and quickly tied the game at six. Windham had multiple shots on goal, but nothing between the posts. Greely led by two after three quarters.

“I think we did a good job moving the ball around,” said Windham junior Alex Yeaton. “We did a good job on defense; we’ve got a few things to clean up like ground balls and sharper passes now and then, but I think we did a good job considering it’s the first week.”

Just like they had all game, Windham came back to tie the game at eight after scoring back-to-back goals. Windham continued with great hustle and each team found the back of the net one more time before the buzzer.

“A lot of this is building chemistry,” said Windham boys’ lacrosse coach Peter Small. “Guys haven’t been playing with each other for nine months, so the idea of ... just seeing where they are. We’re developing technical skills but also situational skills; we’re looking at spacing, looking at positioning. A lot of this is where are we? This was litmus test No. 1 ... it was a good matchup to see where we stand.“ <

Windham girls’ lacrosse aims for a strong season

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham girls’ lacrosse team showed they will be quite a force this spring. In a preseason game against Thornton Academy in Saco on Monday April 4, Windham showed the Trojans they could compete.

Windham High junior Ashley Clark gets around a defender
during a preseason varsity girls' lacrosse game against
Thornton Academy in Saco on Monday, April 4. 
The Lady Eagles were neck-and-neck with Thornton Academy in the first half and tied them shortly before the end of the half.

Windham would tie the game with the Trojans several times before Thornton Academy managed to slip by 8-6 at the buzzer.

Windham girls’ lacrosse coach Matt Perkins said the team had great hustle and communication. He said they have three returning starters, which is great.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but very happy with their attitude,” said Perkins. “They work hard, they’re wicked coachable, all the things that we want. If you have kids that do those two things than there’s no ceiling. Good things are going to happen.”

Windham pressured early and throughout the game. Right away, the Lady Eagles quickly gained possession in the first half and had multiple shots at goal.

Windham moved the ball well and although Thornton Academy took a small lead early on, Windham did not let them remain ahead.

The Lady Eagles shortly answered to tie the game up. Every time the Trojans scored in the first half; it wasn’t long until a Lady Eagle found the back of the net.

The Trojans would put two more in the net during the first half, but Windham was right there and tied up the game at three. At the half, Thornton Academy led 4-3.

“We definitely work together as a team pretty well,” said Windham senior Sidney McCusker. “We’re doing a really good job on defense; we could definitely work better on communication, but overall ... I feel like our zone [defense] is working really well.”

In the second half, the Lady Eagles remained very aggressive and wasted no time going right to Thornton Academy’s goal. They succeeded, scored and tied the game at four.

Windham defense prevented scoring opportunities early in the second half, but Thornton Academy did score a few goals part-way into the half to take a small lead. Windham scored a couple more times and showed the Trojans they are solid contenders.

“I think we’re doing really well and we’re going to have a really good season and it’s a really good group of girls,” said Windham sophomore Emma Ammons. <

Friday, April 1, 2022

Cofone family continues winning streak at New England Interscholastic Wrestling competition

Windham High freshman Ayden Cofone wrestles in the 
New Englands Championship competition in Providence,
Rhode Island in early March. Cofone placed fifth in
the event following in the footsteps of his father, Dom,
and his uncle, Dan. SUBMITTED PHOTO 
By Matt Pascarella

The Cofone family is a wrestling family. Windham’s Ayden Cofone placed fifth at the New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championship, also known as New Englands, early last month and followed in the footsteps of his father, Dominic, who placed sixth in the same competition in 2001 and his uncle, Daniel, who placed fourth in 2004.

Wrestling has always been a sport the Cofones were interested in. Dominic Cofone signed up for Massabesic youth wrestling in the sixth grade and instantly fell in love with it.

Daniel Cofone looked up to his older brother and began wrestling because Dominic did so.

Ayden Cofone started wrestling in the first grade with his dad and uncle as role models. Dominic Cofone was Ayden’s assistant youth coach and helped him to progress.

In 2001, Dominic Cofone was undefeated in Maine, 35-0. He only lost once going into New Englands.

“Wrestling teaches you a work ethic like nothing else,” said Dominic Cofone. “It’s just you and your opponent out there on the mat and he wants to kick your butt in front of your friends and family. It’s all on the man in the mirror and the work that you put in.”

Windham/Westbrook/Gray-New Gloucester coach John Nicholas was on the coaching staff when Dominic was a sophomore. Nicholas could tell that Dominic Cofone had what it took and would eventually place at New Englands. He loved wrestling just like his brother and son do.

Daniel Cofone won the Regionals tournament in 2004 and then the first All-State tournament. He was the Class A state runner-up and an alternate for New Englands.

By a stroke of luck someone dropped out and Daniel Cofone was able to compete in New Englands. Coach Nicholas put together a small team, including Dominic Cofone to train Daniel, who worked very hard, to be ready for the championship match.

In preparing Ayden for the championship competition, both Dominic and Daniel Cofone told him to train hard and leave everything on the mat. Every match is a fight and will not come easy.

Ayden Cofone said he used their success to motivate him to be better than they were.

Maine sent 42 of their best wrestlers to New Englands and out of the 84 placement spots, only 11 kids from Maine placed, two of which were freshman: Ayden Cofone being the highest-placing freshman.

“It was amazing to see what [Ayden] accomplished,” said Dominic Cofone. “He wrestled the best he had all year when he needed it the most.”

Daniel Cofone said he felt great pride and joy to see Ayden Cofone continue the family success.

Dominic Cofone said his sixth-place finish and his brother’s fourth place finish took them until their senior years to accomplish. Ayden being able to do this so early in his high school career has already surpassed what both he and Daniel Cofone were capable of.

Ayden Cofone said it felt good to make it to New Englands and even better to do as well as he did. He was proud to follow in his dad and uncle’s footsteps.

Coach Nicholas said it has been a pleasure to coach a family so dedicated to the sport. He said Ayden Cofone was able handle the success this year and kept a level head. His success at New Englands will be beneficial to his career going forward.

“It gave him something to work for,” said Daniel Cofone. “Both his dad and I want him to be better than we were. This way, Dom and I won’t have to debate each other on who had a better high school wrestling career.” <

Support, sportsmanship key for WMS in swim meet against Falmouth

Windham Middle School sixth-grader Beckett Bragdon
swims in the 100-yard breaststroke event during a swim
meet against Falmouth at the Westbrook Community Center
on Friday, March 25. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA   
By Matt Pascarella

In the third meet of the season, the Windham Middle School swim team hit the lanes on Friday, March 25 with Falmouth at the Westbrook Community Center and after great efforts were put in by the entire Windham team, Falmouth triumphed 571-232 over the Windham girls and 319-282 over the Windham boys.

There was nothing but positivity and tenacity coming from Windham as they cheered each other on against Falmouth. Windham left it all in the water as times kept falling and the team continued to improve.

“We’ve done really good and even with COVID we’re still good and swimming fast getting the fast times while having nice sportsmanship,” said Windham sixth-grader Stephanie Roghelia.

She finished first in the 50-yard breaststroke with a time of 41.39 seconds. Windham seventh-grader Allison Shardlow finished third in the same event with a time of 53.75.

In the boys 100-yard breaststroke, Windham seventh-grader Sullivan Scharf finished first with a time of 1:17.89. Scharf also finished first in the boys’ 200-freestyle with a time of 2:11.31.

“I think our team did great,” said Scharf. “I think we all fought to get some good places and get best times. What really went well was our team spirit; us cheering on each other all the way.”’

Windham finished second in the girls’ 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2:53.46 minutes.

In the boys’ 200-medley relay, Windham finished second with a time of 2:54.78.

In the 100-freestyle, Windham sixth-grader Beckett Bragdon finished second with a time of 1:28.36, a close 10 seconds behind the first-place finisher.

“I think the team did very well today. I think we made a lot of progression with times, breathing; we’ve all been improving really well,” said Bragdon.

In the 50-yard backstroke, Windham seventh-grader William Blyther finished first with a time of 44.12; right behind him was teammate Nicholas Chasse with a time of 56.20.

Windham eighth-grader Jezabelle Pinto finished second in the 100-backstroke with a time of 1:58.86; very closely following her competitor.

Each practice they are working really hard,” said Windham Middle School swim coach Anne Fougere. “I’ve been very impressed with their sportsmanship and their support of each other; what more could you ask of a middle school swim team, so that’s super impressive. Their times in [the last] two meets have already gotten faster, which is really awesome to see, too.” <