Friday, December 30, 2022

WHS girls’ basketball hold off Edward Little in back-to-back games

By Matt Pascarella

Windham varsity and junior varsity girls’ basketball teams played Edward Little on Thursday, Dec. 22 in homes games where once Windham took the lead, they kept it and made it impossible for the Eddies to catch up.

Windham senior Elizabeth Levesque heads to the basket
during a girls' varsity basketball game against Edward
Little High School on Thursday, Dec. 22 at Windham
In the varsity game, EL tied the score early on. Windham pulled ahead, and EL was not able to catch up, with Windham posting a 50-32 win.

Windham’s JV team took the lead early and Lady Eagle defense kept Edward Little to a single digit score for almost the entire game. Windham won 43-14.


“We knew it was going to be a dogfight coming into tonight,” said Windham girls’ varsity basketball coach Brody Artes. “That’s the way Edward Little plays, high intensity, lot of pressure in the full court. We had to be composed, we had to be organized; I thought the kids came out and matched that intensity and did very well.”

Windham went hard after the ball. They had a small lead, and soon Edward Little tied the game at six. From that point on, Windham offense and defense held back EL as the Lady Eagle’s lead grew.

Artes said defense was good especially in the first half; the team had full court pressure. EL couldn’t get into anything offensively and that generated offense for Windham. Any turnover Windham got they tried to convert into an offensive bucket.

Windham led 23-10 at halftime.

In the second half, Windham defense remained strong, grabbing several turnovers to increase their lead.

Windham has been working on transitions, so anytime a team presses them, they have that opportunity in advantage situations to score, if they don’t, they pull it back and run their offense.

“I think our team chemistry always plays a huge factor with how the game turns out,” said Windham sophomore Stella Jarvais who put up 21 points. “We all knew coming into the game tonight that it was going to be physical and as a team we knew we had to hustle and work together which showed. I think our defensive intensity has been great as a whole. I was very proud of all of us.”

Junior Varsity

Windham began with excellent passing and pressured early. They quickly pulled away and defense kept EL scoreless the entire first quarter. Windham freshman Nealie Morey sunk a three-pointer.

Windham got several turnovers to increase their lead. Their intensity never declined. At the half Windham led 23-4.

“We work together really well,” said Windham freshman Kendra Eubanks, who scored 17 points. “We played really good defense, and we did really good on shooting and boxing out.”

In the second half, Windham increased their lead and capitalized on any EL mistakes. They snagged rebounds and did not let up until the final buzzer.

Windham girls’ JV basketball coach Gretchen Anderson said it’s the work they’re putting in at practice that led to such a big win. They push each other as teammates. The defensive intensity led to their offense. They set out to make defense their first priority and offense spilled into that. Also, being great teammates on the court and from the bench made a difference.<

Friday, December 16, 2022

Windham Scoreboard


Compiled by Matt Pascarella

Boys’ basketball

Windham traveled to South Portland on Tuesday, Dec. 13 where they lost to the Red Riots 66-46. Sophomore Creighty Dickson scored 15 points; junior Erik Bowen scored 12 for Windham.

Girls’ basketball

Windham played South Portland on Tuesday, Dec. 13 and won their first home game of the season, 45-32.

Ice Hockey

Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle/Sacopee Valley Trailblazers hit the ice on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at Bridgton Ice Arena against Fryeburg/Lake Region/Oxford Hills. The Trail Blazers won, 4-3, in overtime; Windham sophomore Philip Traina scored in the first period; Windham sophomore Sam Foley scored in the third period. Bonny Eagle freshman Darren Haskell scored in the third period. Traina scored again in overtime.


Windham hosted Falmouth and Westbrook in its season opener on Friday, Dec. 9 at St. Joseph’s College in Standish. Three swimmers qualified for states including senior Hannah Heanssler, sophomore Sarah Inman and junior Grace Theriault. Heanssler finished second in the 100-meter freestyle event with a time of 1:01.12 minutes and first in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:23.25. Inman finished second in the 100-meter Butterfly with a 1:11.64 time and second in the 100-meter Backstroke with a time of 1:12.55. Theriault finished first in the 500-meter Freestyle with a 6:08.92 time and third in the 200-meter Freestyle with a time of 2:16.48.

Indoor Track

Windham participated in its first indoor track meet of the season against Biddeford, Cheverus and Noble on Monday, Dec. 12 at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.


Windham sophomore Ava Gerrity finished first in the 55-meter dash junior division with a time of 7.87 seconds, first in the long jump with a distance of 16-00.75 feet and first in the triple jump with a distance of 32-09.00. Windham sophomore Tayla Pelletier finished first in the high jump with a height of 4-08.00. Junior Khalysa Hammith finished first in the 55-meter senior division with a time of 8.01.


Windham freshman Karl Longstretch finished first in the 55-meter with a time of 7.09 and first in the 200 with a time of 25.31. Freshman Nick Verrill finished first in the high jump with a height of 5-02.00. Senior Derrick Stephens finished second in the 400 with a 59.05 time and second in the hurdles with a time of 9.37. Senior Caleb Young finished fourth in the 800 with a time of 2:26.38.


The Windham/Westbrook/Gray New-Gloucester Wolfpack wrestling team faced York at York on Tuesday, Dec. 13 and got their second win of the season, 45-24. Sophomore Ayden Cofone, junior Gavin Tanner and senior Scott Ingalls all recorded big wins. <

Friday, December 9, 2022

Wolfpack wrestling begins season at Westlake Tournament

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Westbrook/Gray New Gloucester Wolfpack wrestling team kicked off the season by competing in the Westlake Memorial Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Bath Middle School, and it was a very strong start to the season.

The Windham/Westbrook/Gray New Gloucester Wolfpack
wrestling team were participants in the Westlake Memorial
Wrestling Tournament at Bath Middle School on Dec. 3.
Windham sophomore Ayden Cofone placed first in the 120-weight class and was voted outstanding wrestler of the tournament.

“It was great seeing the team compete for the first time this year,” said Cofone. “I was proud of how the team did overall, but I still think we had a lot of areas that we need to improve on.”

Cofone said it felt good to take first, and he will use this win to push him toward another state championship.

In the 170-weight class Westbrook junior Gavin Tanner placed first. In the 182-weight class Windham senior Scott Ingalls placed first.

“I felt great,” said Tanner. “It's something I've worked really hard for. This is the first tournament I've ever [taken] first in and I hope to keep it going.”

Ingalls, who’s coming back from an injury said getting this win means he can still perform at a high level. The team winning shows the kind of program being built and how it can lead to success.

Westbrook junior Owen Pillsbury placed third in the 132-weight class. Windham junior Chris Harvey placed fourth in the 152-weight class. Windham junior Griffin Moreau placed third in the 285-weight class.

“We have been putting in a lot of hard work in the practice room, so it was great to get off to a strong start,” said Windham/Westbrook/Gray New Gloucester Wolfpack wrestling coach John Nicholas. “There were a lot of good teams at the tournament so it was nice to see we can compete with the best in the area. We are happy with winning the tournament, but we also know that it's a long season and we have to keep grinding to reach our ultimate goals.” <

Windham graduate’s love of soccer leads to impactful athletic career

By Matt Pascarella

Starting as early as Pee Wee soccer, 2016 Windham High School graduate Ciera Berthiaume began her athletic career. She is now a second-year grad student at the University of Southern Maine and is working toward her master’s degree in leadership studies.

Windham High graduate Ciera Berthiaume keeps her focus
while playing for the University of Southern Maine
during the 2022 women's soccer season.
She eventually plans to go into teaching where she’ll be able to be involved in the community and still be active in the local soccer world. The youngest of three children, whether Berthiaume was playing in a game of her own, or watching one of her siblings, soccer has always been a big part of her life.

She took a break from the sport during her freshman and sophomore years of college. She started playing again because she missed it and its atmosphere.

During the 2022 season, Berthiaume helped lead the USM women’s soccer team to a Little East Conference (LEC) Championship win which advanced the team to the first round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship.

“She is a remarkable mixture of athleticism and soccer technique,” said University of Southern Maine Women’s head soccer coach Seth Benjamin. “I don’t think you find many players that are as strong and as fast and as technical as Cici. She’s the all-time lead scorer for our program; I think people and teams have tended to underestimate her just thinking that she’s super strong and fast and she gets in really tight spots and gets double-teamed and she’s able to beat people on the dribble, keep the ball for us; she’s kind of the whole deal.”

She’s grown so much as a person and player in the USM program, Benjamin said. Her confidence and leadership skills have improved, and she has a great ability to bring people together and make them feel comfortable; everyone on the team looks to Berthiaume for her experience and guidance.

Benjamin says that he’s excited to see what's next for her.

"I grew up playing against siblings that never let me off the hook so when I decided to start playing again it was my determination that helped me get to where I am now,” said Berthiaume.

This season she got the opportunity to play with another Windham High graduate, Julia McKenna. They are a few years apart but were able to play together and contribute to a stellar season with the Huskies.

“I was in middle school when she was in high school playing,” said McKenna. “I do remember going

and watching her play at her high school games and thinking I wanted to be just like her. I will miss playing with her next year.”

During the 2022 USM Women’s Soccer season, Berthiaume set the University of Southern Maine women’s soccer career records with 43 goals, 20 assists and 106 overall points. Berthiaume’s also a four-time All-Little East Conference player, Second-Team player in 2018 and 2019 and First-Team player in 2021 and 2022.

Berthiaume said the accolades are something she tries not to think about. She is grateful for the second chance to play at USM and can’t wait to see where the program goes next.

When she began playing for USM in 2018, she had a goal to become LEC champions and playing for Windham taught her how to handle her nerves in high-stakes games.

She says the team plays because it’s fun and in high stakes situations it’s important to remember the foundation of why they are there. It’s been years of hard work and putting in time outside of the season to finally reach the finish line of becoming LEC champions this season.

Berthiaume likes to read and write in her free time and says she might have too many books she wants to read. She also enjoys walking her dogs and getting outside in the fresh air. <

Groundskeeping team makes a difference for RSU 14 athletic facilities

By Matt Pascarella

Whether you have attended a sporting event in the fall or spring anywhere on one of the RSU 14 campuses, you have seen the results of the work of Grounds Coordinator Michael DiDonato and his crew of Jacob Gardiner, Alan Hodgdon, Tom Gumble and Phil Swan.

They make sure the variety of playing surfaces within the district are ready when it comes time for the teams to hit the field.

Windham High School's stadium field is managed year-round
by RSU 14 Grounds Coordinator Michael DiDonato and his
team of groundskeepers. Even during the off-season, DiDonato
and the team ensures these fields are well cared for so that
when the outdoor sports start, the fields are ready for play.
DiDonato enacts plans of what happens to the grounds at Windham High School, Windham Middle School, Windham Primary School, Raymond Elementary, Raymond’s Jordan-Small Middle School and the John Andrews building in South Windham.

In addition, DiDonato has painted the start and finish lines for the Beach to Beacon race, the field hockey logo at Boston College, and the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl.

“On the athletic field side of things my main focus is providing safe, aesthetically pleasing, and properly lined athletic fields,” said DiDonato. “When you're an athlete you do not see the behind the scenes work it takes to prepare a field for an athletic event. I have a whole new appreciation for the work that is done when no one is around.”

He works closely with RSU 14 Facilities Director, Property Services and Special Projects Bill Hansen to keep turf surfaces maintained while striping parking lots and roadways, snow removal, mowing, weed whacking, tree work and maintaining garden beds.

“It is great to have Mike part of the RSU 14 Facilities staff.” said Hansen. “He is an expert in ... turf maintenance, so the fields are always in great condition. He is a team player working alongside his staff in all types of weather conditions. The dedicated grounds staff consistently produces fields and grounds for the RSU that are in excellent condition and Mike's leadership is one reason why.”

A lot goes into rehabilitating the turf surfaces during the off seasons; aerating, slit seeding, mowing, fertilizing. DiDonato and his team are always working toward the next season while currently maintaining the turf in the present season. In late spring, they are working toward fall and in the fall, they are getting ready for spring.

In the winter, DiDonato and his team are responsible for clearing sidewalks and salting as needed. DiDonato also plans out field maintenance, provides the facilities director with a budget and meets with vendors they may need to line up for special projects during the summer, like refinishing the tennis courts or resurfacing and painting the track.

RSU 14 Grounds Assistant Jacob Gardiner said DiDonato’s knowledge makes a big difference when they’re setting up a field, or growing grass or aerating; DiDonato sees the big picture, is a top-notch guy

and they are lucky to have him on the team.

In 2000, DiDonato graduated from Westbrook High School. When he was home from college, he worked part-time as summer help maintaining the Westbrook athletic fields. It was here he fell in love with an outdoor office.

While he was in school for Exercise Physiology, he learned a lot from mentor Lance Tibbetts in the turf industry and decided that was his calling.

“I started working on my pesticide license, becoming part of associations, locally and nationally as well as taking courses in turf,” said DiDonato. “You learn a lot about the science of turf by doing than what you could ever learn from a book. Mother Nature has her own course, and we have to adapt every day, every season, every year.”

In 2004 he became a Sports Turf Manager for the city of Westbrook. In 2007, he became a Certified Sports Turf Manager. He took a position at Windham from 2007 to 2018 and later accepted a Sports Turf Specialties position in Massachusetts. He came back to Windham in 2020.

“If you go to other campuses around Southern Maine, you’re not going to find facilities that are ... maintained the way that ours are,” said RSU 14 Athletic Director Rich Drummond. “Mike and his crew take a lot of pride in putting in the time and the effort and the resources to make our facilities the best possible playing conditions for the kids. I’ve worked at three large schools and by far Mike is the best at his trade that I’ve seen. Mike and his team play a huge role in our teams and our successes.”

According to DiDonato, he is a family guy and enjoys spending time with his wife and son. His wife is Windham varsity field hockey coach Cory DiDonato; he enjoys going to her games. He said that he likes seeing his son excel in academics; be a good human and play sports. He also enjoys going to Windham football and soccer games.

When he’s not on a field, DiDonato enjoys hiking, working around the house, spending time with friends and golfing. <

Friday, December 2, 2022

Windham Police detectives run in Marine Corps Marathon

By Matt Pascarella

The weather may have been a little cold the morning of Oct. 30 before the start of the 47th annual Marine Corps Marathon which began in Arlington, Virginia but it soon warmed up to 65 degrees by the time it finished in the District of Columbia.

Windham Police detectives Eugene Gallant,
left, and Brandon Ladd pause for a photo
during activities surrounding the Marine
Corps Marathon in the District of Columbia
on Sunday, Oct. 30. SUBMITTED PHOTO 
A group from Windham Police Department consisting of Detective Eugene Gallant, Detective Brandon Ladd, Sergeant Jason Burke, and Officer Seth Fournier visited Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Oct. 27. That Sunday, Gallant and Ladd ran in the marathon for the first time.

Every year, individuals from the United States and over 50 countries in the world participate in the Marine Corps Marathon. People run for loved ones, a friend or family member who was killed in active duty or just because they want to run in a beautiful part of the country.

The Marine Corps Marathon is a 26.2 mile run from Arlington, Virginia and ends in front of the Marine Corps Memorial.

Gallant signed up in March 2022 thinking he would get on a wait list but was surprised when he got in right away. Gallant made a pitch to Ladd encouraging him to sign up. Ladd did so and got right in.

According to Gallant, the Marine Corps Marathon was phenomenal. He’d run in a few other marathons before – Maine, Quebec and Boston – and the Marine Corps Marathon blew the others away. The people and the support were incredible.

Ladd said it was amazing.

Both runners finished in a little over five hours. Gallant’s time was 5:04.32 hours and Ladd finished with a time of 5:10.43.

Around the 12- or 13-mile marker is an area called “The Blue Mile” where the road is lined with pictures of fallen service people every five to 10 feet. It gave them goosebumps.

“The Marine Corps Marathon offers a chance for people for a lifetime experience on an iconic course while having a connection with our U.S. Marines,” said Marine Corps Marathon Public Relations Coordinator Kristen Loflin. “Participants of the Marine Corps Marathon are able to interact with Marines while learning that they can truly accomplish the physical and mental mission that they set for themselves through dedication to their training, resiliency and perseverance to push through any obstacles that may happen before and on event day. Their strength has pushed them to succeed in accomplishing a lifetime goal. We are honored and blessed to be able to showcase the organizational skills of Marines by bringing this amazing event to so many.”

Ladd said running the race was all about the ‘why.’ He said your body wants to stop way before the finish line. And you have to get your mind right. It was determination that made Ladd want to push through. He said he has a weird association with marathons; he loves that they make him train but hates the way his body feels after completing a marathon.

According to Gallant it’s a no-quit thing. When he looks at the Marine Corps Marathon, there are people who would like to run it, but are unable to, or may have run it and are no longer able to still do so. It’s about fallen service members and their families. Gallant knows there are people who would really like to run this marathon but cannot. He’s not going to give up for them.

“The Iwo Jima memorial is pretty breathtaking ... so to finish there and have that as your backdrop is incredible,” said Gallant.

Ladd saw people with backpacks that said “running for” either a friend or family member.

“It’s hard to not get caught up in that,” said Ladd. “It’s pretty sobering; it just adds to the [mentality to] keep going, keep going, keep going. That amount of support was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

They both agreed they would do it again. They have at least one more Marine Corps Marathon on deck as Ladd’s sister had to back out from one for health reasons. She’s better now and whenever she decides to run the marathon again, Ladd and Gallant will be right beside her.

Both Gallant and Ladd have been with the Windham Police Department for over 15 years. They said it’s an interesting line of work that never feels like work and where no two days are the same. <

Windham grad McKenna continues success in first year at USM

By Matt Pascarella

In her first year playing on a college soccer team, 2021 Windham graduate Julia McKenna was the second leading goal-scorer for the University of Southern Maine this season, All Little East Conference (LEC) Rookie of the Year and a First Team All-Conference player. In the LEC championship game, it was her goal that secured the Huskies’ 2022 LEC Championship win. The Huskies made it to the first round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship.

University of Southern Maine sophomore and Windham High
graduate Julia McKenna races after the ball during a game
in Gorham on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Hannaford Field
McKenna recently transferred to USM as a sophomore and is majoring in communications. She has an interest in broadcast journalism and would like to pursue something in that field after college. She plans to play lacrosse as well.

“Coming this far and winning our conference has been so much fun,” said McKenna. “I am beyond proud of my team. We are all just showing up and doing what we do best every day. Putting in the work and staying committed.”

When she was 3 years old, she began playing soccer. She loved the game right from the start.

This season, McKenna was on the Huskies team with another Windham grad, Ceria Berthiaume, who graduated high school a few years ahead of her. They both took breaks from playing college soccer, and while they were never in high school at the same time, the two began playing college soccer together last spring.

“It’s been fun having someone else from the Windham community on the team,” said Berthiaume. “It really shows how much the youth leagues have had a lasting impact for both of us to continue playing at the collegiate level while remaining close to home.”

According to McKenna, the awards she received this season pushed her to continue to better her game. Also, it was her amazing teammates who helped her to achieve these awards.

“Getting noticed is nice, but it is vital to always keep pushing to get better,” said McKenna.

Mental toughness is what McKenna believes has taken to get to this point in her athletic career. Just like any aspect of life, it has ups and downs, but it takes love and devotion of the sport – or any sport – to have and continue to be successful.

“Her ability to read the game this season was excellent,” said USM Women’s Soccer Head Coach Seth Benjamin. “Her runs off the ball got her in such dangerous spots that’s how she scored a number of her goals. As a center midfielder ... she involved everyone on the team. Off the field, her personality ... she’s a really friendly kid. Being a first-year player, she interacted with everyone and made a connection with all of her teammates.”

Benjamin said it speaks volumes to the player she is because after taking a year off, McKenna went from high school and club teams to play at the college level and had a very successful season.

Off the field, McKenna likes to be outdoors, hiking or skiing. She goes to the gym often and likes to unwind with a good romance book.<