Friday, September 22, 2023

Windham varsity volleyball earns first win of season over Noble

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham High varsity volleyball team earned its first win of the season at home when they swept Noble 3-0 on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Windham sophomore Rowan Cummings serves the ball and
scores the final point needed for Windham's first varsity
volleyball win of the season on Wednesday, Sept. 13 during
a home match against Noble.
“It felt exciting to get the first win,” said Windham varsity senior Lilly McLean. “It definitely was a really positive environment tonight. It was nice to see. We showed how much we wanted it.”

McLean said that communication and positive feedback were exceptional on the court against Noble and every Windham player was very supportive of one another.

Varsity volleyball matches are determined by best-of-three sets with each set going to 25 points. In the first set, Noble took a small lead early on. However, once Windham was on the scoreboard, it did not take them long to tie the game and then take the lead. Windham sophomore Sydney Harmon’s serving, coupled with Windham’s teamwork and smart playing abilities added several points to the scoreboard in the first set. At one point Windham had a 10-point lead and went on to take the first set, 25-11.

The gym was electric and roared with cheers every time the Lady Eagles scored, which was frequently.

In the second set, Noble jumped out to an early lead. This was short-lived again as Windham’s strong communication helped them score. A hit from sophomore Oakley McLeod and Windham was back in charge. In no time, the team was just two points off the lead. This close set was tied at 15, but Windham edged out ahead and took this set, 25-22.

“As a team I think we managed to cover the ball a bit better,” said Harmon. “We have been working super hard and have been very diligent about how we practice that.”

Harmon said Windham set up their hitters more frequently and to make sure it wasn’t just for power. Harmon said they got this win because they stayed positive, and they focused more on how to fix mistakes during play.

Set three began with Noble taking the lead, but Windham soon tied the game. The Lady Eagles remained intense and had solid volleys and attacks. This was another close set. Sophomore Lauren Neal served up a handful of points for Windham. Noble was not far behind. It was Windham sophomore Rowan Cummings who got the winning point and the Lady Eagles took this set, 25-20.

Cummings said although she may have scored the winning point, this was really a team win. She said Windham took the time in practice to go over what they needed to work on and they brought those skills to this game. Windham was a cohesive team, and everyone brought the energy needed.

“All year we’ve had really good energy and I think today is just the culmination of it,” said Windham varsity volleyball coach Chuck Fleck. “Once it clicked, they rolled right through. We’re executing well – our offense is starting to click, our defense is covering well, serves were phenomenal; so now everything is starting to fit into place.” <

Windham varsity golf plays Greely on road and shows improvement

By Matt Pascarella

Halfway through the season and coming off a win over Bonny Eagle, the Windham High School coed varsity golf team continues to improve and showed its skill during a match against Greely at Val Halla Golf & Recreation, a par 36 course in Cumberland on Tuesday, Sept. 19. Although Windham improved from the last time these two teams met when Greely won by a score of 11-2, this time the Eagles fell 9-4 to the Rangers.

Windham junior Addison Profenno hits the ball during a
coed varsity golf match against Greely at Val Halla Golf
and Recreation in Cumberland on Tuesday, Sept. 19.
Overall, Greely topped Windham in total strokes, 213-237.

“It was tough because we didn’t have practice [on Monday] because of the weather,” said Windham varsity golf coach Adam Manzo. “Not having practice, the day before a match is tough sometimes. This is probably one of the nicest courses we’ve played so far.”

Manzo said as a team, this group is more connected. He said that they all get along very well and more importantly this year other than wins and losses is that this team has become such good friends and good teammates; and everyone is on the same page.

Windham junior Brady Harvie earned Windham two match points and shot a 39 against Greely. Junior Addison Profenno also earned the team two match points, birdied on the second hole, and shot a 43; junior Joe Donnelly shot a 49, sophomore Devin Zachary shot a 52, sophomore Josh Logan shot a 54 and freshman Bradyn Woodward shot a 59.

Harvie said conditions were nice for the match and the weather was great. He said he hit his irons pretty well, but his driver was a little off. Harvie also made some good putts and he said that when he plays tighter courses like this that his goal is to keep the ball in play.

Donnelly had never played the back 9 at Val Halla and said that he played it as safe as he could. He said that his driver went well, long irons were ok, but short game wasn’t there.

Profenno said she was pleased with her game against Greely.

“I usually put a lot of pressure on myself,” said Profenno. “But this time, I took every shot as my first one.” This paid off for Profenno as she notched one of her season’s lowest scores.

She said her teammate Devin Zachary helped her, and the course had good conditions; there was no heat which made for nice play. This time playing against Greely fared better for Profenno and she thought the back 9 at Val Halla was better for her than the front 9.

Manzo’s message to the team remained the same against a powerful team like Greely - wins are great, but is Windham playing well at the right time, and up to their best potential. He said this is important as they head toward end-of-the-season qualifiers.

Everyone on the team is capable of doing well as the end-of-season approaches, Manzo said. <

Friday, September 15, 2023

Windham boys’ soccer dominates Gorham in 4-1 win

By Matt Pascarella

Windham High’s varsity boys’ soccer team remained undefeated as they rolled past Gorham with a massive 4-1 victory at home on Thursday, Sept. 7. The Eagles continued to progress as an in-sync team that plays for each other and leaves it all on the field.

Windham junior Sam Rogers stays with the ball and ahead of
his opponent during a boys' varsity soccer match on
“That’s a tough team were playing, but we’re really confident in what we have right now,” said Windham senior Nick Marion. “We can outplay anyone if we stick to our plan, and we play our game. We were playing exactly how we wanted to, and it just came down to execution.”

Marion said that Windham possessions and their back line play was outstanding.

Windham came out with intensity and moved the ball well with strong defense throughout the match. They stayed with the ball and their footwork was impressive against Gorham.

Some 10 minutes into the first half, Marion scored on an assist by junior Sam Rogers. Marion then scored again with 22:35 left in the first half.

Windham did not let up and several times rerouted the ball away from their net and toward Gorham’s goal. At the end of the first half, Windham led 2-1.

Less than three minutes into the second half, Marion scored again for the third time as Windham remained aggressive with tough defense.

“Anytime you have a cross-town rival in a program that has great success ... that’s all the motivation you need [to feed the competitiveness],” said Windham boys’ varsity soccer coach Jeff Neal. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the team effort and the leadership that we’ve had has been fantastic ... cross the board, great effort tonight.”

Neal said that the program has been trying to build a culture of any day, any game, any team, and they have also worked to build the team’s mentality to overcome adversity and not get stuck in the moment thinking negatively.

According to Neal, Windham focuses on what they must do to be better and that applies off the field as well as on.

Windham outshot Gorham with 18 shots at goal to Gorham’s total of seven.

Rogers scored for the Eagles with less than 20 minutes left in play to make it a 4-1 match.

“Coming into the game we thought it’s been 11 years since we even came close to being the team we are,” said Rogers. “[Gorham] dominated us every year. It feels very good to beat them and we all had the mentality we knew we were going to do it.”

Rogers said they had a good mindset coming into the game and they’ve been working hard in practice. Rogers said passing went well and they had good substitute rotations, so players were getting rest. He thought it was an excellent match for the Eagles. <

WHS varsity girls’ soccer mows down Portland

By Matt Pascarella

After the Windham varsity girls’ soccer team beat Cheverus 2-0, last month, the team returned to the pitch to take on Portland on Saturday, Sept. 9 at home, and their winning ways continued as they hammered the Bulldogs, 6-0.

Windham junior Stella Jarvais stays with the ball before
heading toward the goal during a girls' varsity soccer
match against Portland at Windham High School on
“We came ready to play,” said Windham sophomore Neve Ledbetter, who found the back of the net three times during the game. “We were all very tough ... everyone did their part; we were passing well, we communicated well and that just led to everybody getting a piece of a goal, everybody being tough and everyone hustling.”

Ledbetter said they held the defensive line, and everyone played together as a team.

The game began with Windham’s offense going hard at Portland as they took shot after shot at goal. Roughly 16 minutes into the game, Ledbetter scored, assisted by Windham sophomore Marley Jarvais. Ledbetter scored again with a header from a corner kick, also assisted by Jarvais.

Windham enjoyed solid passing and strong defense against Portland. Junior Stella Jarvais scored next on an indirect kick. Windham remained tenacious right up until the last buzzer of the first half of the match. Defense kept the ball away from Windham’s goal for large parts of the half.

Windham junior Hannah Lee scored with three minutes left in the first half, assisted by freshman Isabella Vassoler. Windham led 4-0 at the intermission.

“[Windham] is implementing what we’re working on in practice really well,” said Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel. “Distributing the ball well, switching field, not just going right down the middle. And defensively we’ve figured out who the key players are and honed in on them; we’re jelling, we get a little better each game.”

The second half brought just as much intensity from the Lady Eagles. Less than 10 minutes into the half, Ledbetter scored her third goal of the match, assisted by Marley Jarvais. Defense remained strong as the team continued to block any scoring opportunities Portland came up with.

With roughly 14 minutes left in the match, Windham senior Abby Lloyd scored from a corner kick and was assisted by junior Tayla Pelletier.

In all, Windham had 22 shots at goal; and Portland had just five.

“Our spacing was really good,” said Lloyd. “Our passing was really good. Individually we all did what we needed to; coming together as a team we are all in the places we need to be, and we need to keep working harder. Portland is an aggressive team, but when we come out, we come out to win. No one out there is selfish, we all get good passes, we play well together and that gets us goals and that gets us wins.” <

Friday, September 8, 2023

Windham field hockey aims to be competitive yet again

By Ed Pierce

Windham High Field Hockey coach Cory DiDonato has lofty expectations for her team entering the 2023 season thanks to a solid core group of returning players and some promising new talent added to the squad.

Windham's field hockey team gathers after team's first game
of the season against Scarborough at Windham High School
Now in her 16th season as head coach of the Eagles, DiDonato will rely heavily on contributions from junior forward Zoe Dries, junior forward/midfielder Grace Joly, and the versatile Sam Bell who can play all the positions.

A year ago, Dries tallied 12 goals and recorded four assists which was second overall in scoring for the team, while Joly had 6 goals and 5 assists for Windham. Bell anchored the team’s midfield dominance and she is expected to play an increased role for the Eagles on defense this season.

“Communication and hard work will be the keys to the season,” DiDonato said.

Also returning for WHS are junior midfield/defender Ava Gerrity, who DiDonato rates as a solid defender and senior midfielder Elizabeth Gurney, whom the coach is counting on to play a vital role this fall. Other returning players are Zocia Lawind, and Abby Trainor.

“Our team is the strongest in our versatility. We have multiple players who can play anywhere on the field,” DiDonato said. “We lost our starting defense so I expect that we will be working hard on filling those roles and stepping up to the challenge.”

DiDonato said two new players will be expected to step in and have an immediate impact for Windham this year.

“I expect big things from Elizabeth Baker, a sophomore defender, and Olivia McPherson, a goalie,” DiDonato said.

Facing a tough schedule, time will tell what this group of returning players can accomplish, but DiDonato says the team has worked hard in getting ready for the challenging season ahead and they are hoping to step up and build on the success that Windham enjoyed in varsity field hockey a year ago.

“We are replacing a large graduation loss, but we have a core group that traveled with us to the Western Maine Championship game last year,” she said. “I expect that experience to help us be competitive and driven to do our best.”

Windham opened the season Aug. 31 with a 3-2 loss at home to Scarborough but regrouped and posted a 6-1 road victory over South Portland/Westbrook on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The remainder of the schedule includes games at Kennebunk on Sept. 11 and at Scarborough on Sept. 13. Windham hosts Biddeford on Sept. 16 and then goes back on the road to Noble on Sept. 19.

The Eagles will host Falmouth on Sept. 25 and visit Massabesic on Sept. 27. Then Windham has three consecutive home games against Bonny Eagle on Sept. 29, Portland/Deering on Oct. 5 and Cheverus on Oct. 7.

Windham will then play road games against Thornton Academy on Oct. 11 and Gorham Oct. 13 before closing out the season with a home matchup against Marshwood on Oct. 17. <

Expectations high for WHS cross country squads

By Ed Pierce

Under the guidance of veteran coach Jeff Riddle, Windham High School is looking for another strong season for cross country runners in 2023 and continuing to demonstrate why the team remains a tough challenge on the schedule for competitors across the state.

Windham senior Graden Joly is
expected to provide leadership
and be one of the top cross
country runners for WHS during
the 2023 season.
Riddle, a former SMAA Coach of the Year, is effective at developing runners to reach their full potential and motivating his teams to excel year after year.

This year will be no exception, according to Riddle.

“WHSXC (Windham High School Varsity Cross Country) Girls and Boys teams are harnessing and focusing their excitement to best compete this fall,” Riddle said.

This year’s team is made up of 33 dedicated runners with 14 girls and 19 boys, and the coach says that both the boys’ and girls’ squads are excited to once again have foreign exchange students contributing as team members on both rosters.

“This summer at WHSXC Camp a number of the runners spent time effectively learning some new ways to consistently train; and the team is already experiencing the benefits of the time put in over their summer,” Riddle said.

According to Riddle, Windham’s returning cross country veterans recognize that they will need to lead their new teammates and elevate them to fill some of the top 7 scoring gaps left vacant by last year's graduates.

“The 2023 team is up to that challenge,” the coach said. “To date, the team had a great showing at the Dan Dorr's Lake Region Invitational race where the girls were team champions, and the boys earned a respectful second-place finish.”

He said that the teams are looking forward to each race opportunity in front of them.

“They will compete in large invitational races again this fall including The Southern Maine Classic in Gorham and the Festival of Champions in Belfast to name a few,” Riddle said.

Among the top returning runners for Windham’s cross country girls’ team this fall are junior Tayla Pelletier and senior Beth Bearce, while the boy’s squad will feature senior Graden Joly and junior Andrew Young.

To date in her prep career, Pelletier has recorded a personal best time of 17:31.40 at 4,000 meters at the Freeport Falcon 4K Cross County Challenge, and Bearce has posted a personal best time of 23:17.00 for 5,000 meters at the SMAA Meet at Portland.

Joly has set a personal best time of 14:22.00 at 4,000 meters at the Freeport Falcone 4K Cross Country Challenge and Young was first in the State Championship meet in a time of 18:39.85 as a sophomore.

On Sept. 8, Windham will travel to compete in a meet at Biddeford and then journey to Narragansett for the Fleet Feet Classic on Sept 16.

On Sept. 22, the Eagles host Westbrook/Sanford/Thornton Academy and will compete in the Festival of Champions on Sept. 30. The Eagles then travel to face Scarborough on Oct. 6 before the regional meet on Oct. 21.

The State Championships will be held in Belfast on Oct. 28. <

Friday, September 1, 2023

Eagles’ gridiron experience could be key to 2023 success

By Ed Pierce

There’s something to be said for experience and especially when it comes to prep football. It can make the difference between making costly penalties and choosing the right route for receivers to exploit down the field. Entering the 2023 varsity season, the Windham High School varsity football squad will rely heavily on its experience to take them to another level on the gridiron.

Members of the Windham High School varsity football team
gather before a preseason scrimmage game at Cony on Aug.
24. The Eagles open the regular season on the road with a 
game against Skowhegan at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1.
Under the leadership Coach Matt Perkins, the Eagles finished the 2022 campaign at 5-4, but key contributors were able to rack up valuable minutes that Perkins believes will be beneficial going up against a schedule of tough opponents.

“We feel that our strength is that we are very balanced on both sides of the ball, and we feel like we have a lot of depth at many positions,” Perkins said.

According to Perkins, Windham played Cony tough in a pre-season exhibition scrimmage last week and he felt it gave the Eagles a better idea of what it will take to win this fall.

“We felt like our team took some big steps and improved from the scrimmage,” Perkins said.

Windham will be led by senior wide receiver and defensive back Ezra Foster (6-foot, 180 pounds), senior offensive and defensive lineman Jacob Goslant (6-foot-2, 240 pounds), senior offensive and defensive lineman Joe Somma (5-foot-11, 230 pounds). Foster, Goslant, and Somma, along with senior running back/linebacker Tobias Perkins, senior wide receiver/linebacker Briggs Valliere, senior running back/linebacker Dan Mitchell and junior lineman/linebacker Braydon Penny, were members of the Eagles’ 2021 squad that made it all the way to the Maine Class B championship game before falling by a point, 14-13, to Marshwood at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Perkins said those players, along with senior running back/defensive back Marcus Tillery have shown outstanding heart and hustle in practice and are highly motivated in leading the team into its season opener Friday, Sept. 1 at Skowhegan.

Following the opening week’s regular-season matchup against the Skowhegan River Hawks, the Eagles will host the Bangor Rams on Friday, Sept. 8.

Windham will be at home on Friday, Sept. 15 against the Edward Little Red Eddies, and then Windham visits Thornton Academy on Friday, Sept. 22 for a matchup against the Trojans.

The rest of the schedule for the Eagles includes a road game on Friday, Sept. 29 against the Portland Bulldogs before returning home to face the Scarborough Red Storm on Friday, Oct. 6.

The Eagles travel on Friday, Oct. 13 for a road contest against the Oxford Hills Vikings and then host the Lewiston Blue Devils on Friday, Oct. 20.

The final regular season game for Windham will be on the road on Friday, Oct. 27 against the Bonny Eagle Scots.

Perkins said having players on this year’s Windham team who know and appreciate the value of hard work is significant.

“We feel that because of the work ethic and drive of this group, we could have a successful season,” Perkins said. <

Windham High golfers set sights at 2023 prep title

By Ed Pierce

One of the greatest golfers of all time, Jack Nicklaus, believed that confidence is the most important factor in the game of golf, and he said no matter how great your natural talent is, there is only one way to obtain golfing success, and that is to work at it. Entering this new season, members of the Windham High School coed varsity golf team have been getting ready to showcase their skills and make a serious run at distinguishing themselves out on the links in 2023.

Windham junior Fiona Harmon lines up a putt during the 
Cass A Individual Schoolgirl Golf Championships at 
Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro last season. Harmon
is expected to be one of the top players for Windham's
coed golf team this year. 
Windham Varsity Golf Coach Adam Manzo said that members of the team started practicing Aug. 14 at Riverside North Golf Course in Portland and are talented and eager to get the season under way.

Members of the 2023 WHS Varsity Golf Team include seniors Brady Harvie and Nathan Jordan; juniors Joe Donnelly, Fiona Harmon, Addison Profenno, and Ben Shaw; sophomores Josh Logan and Devin Zachary; and freshman Bradyn Woodward.

According to Manzo, the most difficult aspect as a coach in preparing for a new golf season is getting the team prepared to compete in a short amount of time.

“Our season is incredibly short, so it is imperative that the kids use the summer to prep for the upcoming high school golf season,” Manzo said. “This season, I feel the kids did a nice job on their own over the summer and came in ready to compete.”

He said that Windham is returning a solid core of players from last year’s squad, and he fully expects this team will be a handful and be highly competitive.

The top returning golfers for Windham are Brady Harvie, a senior, and Fiona Harmon, a junior. Harvie was a 2nd Team SMAA selection last season and Harmon finished third overall in the Class A Individual Schoolgirl Championship last season, just 2 strokes away from winning the title. Promising newcomers on the team are Josh Logan, a sophomore), Bradyn Woodward, a freshman, and Devin Zachary, a sophomore.

The regular season for Windham began with a match against Westbrook High School at Sunset Ridge Golf Links in Westbrook on Wednesday, Aug. 29 and the Eagles came away with a 13-0 win.

Manzo said the team will compete in matches throughout September with the SMAA Individual and Team qualifier to be held Oct. 2. If Windham or any team members play well enough to qualify individually, the Class A State Championship will be held Oct. 7 at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.

“I want the kids to have the same take-away as they do every year, progress and improve throughout the season with the goal of qualifying multiple individuals as well as the team qualifying to compete in the state championship,” Manzo said. “It ends up being a one day, 18-hole shootout, and I think we have as good of a chance as any other team.”

Windham’s 2023 JV Golf Team plays and practices at Riverside South Golf Course in Portland.

The JV Golf Team is coached by Brody Artes and team members this year are sophomores Brody Lewis, Nolan McPhail, Carter Mahieu and Aidan Tweedie; and freshmen Matthew Biggs, Braden Childs and Wyatt Richards. <

Friday, August 25, 2023

Windham varsity girls’ soccer progresses as a team during preseason scrimmage

By Matt Pascarella

With the start of the regular fall season beginning next week for some of the fall sports, Windham’s varsity girls’ soccer team took on York on the road during a scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 19. Windham’s defense allowed no goals in two halves and Windham offense found the back of the net multiple times to walk off the field with a 3-0 win.

Windham varsity junior Stella Jarvais heads toward the goal
during a preseason varsity girls' soccer game on Saturday,
“Since we’re such a young team we’re getting used to all ... playing together,” said Windham junior Stella Jarvais who scored during the game. “Everything is just going upward ... we passed very well. [Windham] is a team that works really hard, and we will always put the team first.”

Windham junior Kyla Harvie scored early in the game. Windham got out in front of the ball and worked hard to stay with it.

Harvie said the team has gotten closer throughout the preseason and they’ve bonded as a team to get to where they are. They started strong and Harvie feels like it’s going to be a good season.

Windham had multiple shots on York’s goal during the preseason scrimmage. Partway through the first half, Windham sophomore Marley Jarvais scored from a kick from junior Hannah Lee.

Windham’s defense limited scoring opportunities for York and kept the ball away from Windham’s goal for most of the game. At the half, Windham led 2-0.

Intensity remained strong as Windham began the second half. They had several shots on goal and Stella Jarvais scored when she knocked the ball in the net off a corner kick. Windham remained in control of the pitch and their defense stayed tough.

“It’s so early,” said Windham varsity girls’ soccer assistant coach Jim Stewart. “To expect to be at a level where we want to be this early is tough ... today was the beginning of smooth; it wasn’t even, it wasn’t soft, but it was smooth. I think it’s really encouraging of the things we’re able to do with a pretty young team.”

Stewart said that the preseason win was nice to have, but for him it’s more about what they are doing together as a team and what kind of game they’re playing.

Two minutes remained in the game when Windham freshman Isabella Vassoler had a close shot at goal that just barely missed going in.

Vassoler said this was her first girls’ varsity soccer game and she said the team’s passing improved as game went on, and that the squad’s hustle had also improved.

"We’re starting to come together,” said Windham girls’ varsity head coach Deb Lebel. “We knew that we had some holes to fill, but this ... felt like a good steppingstone for what’s next.”<

Bowling continues to make difference in life of Windham autistic teen Colin Robinson

By Matt Pascarella

From the moment 18-year-old Windham resident Colin Robinson stepped onto the bowling lanes, he was hooked, and an impact was made.

Windham's Colin Robinson displays his trophy
after winning the Rhode Island Youth Master's
Bowling Tournament on June 3 in Warwick,
Robinson has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and is considered very high functioning, but has a very quiet personality. Bowling has helped him be more comfortable communicating with people. It has helped him learn to work in high stress situations with multiple stimuli, remain calm and keep his focus on specific tasks. He has been bowling for 12 years and has competed in bowling tournaments across New England as well as a few in New York.

This past year, Robinson earned nearly $1,000 in scholarships based on both performance and awards. He was one of three recipients of the Roger Perrault Scholarship from the Lewiston-Auburn chapter of the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), the sport’s governing body in the United States.

Robinson said he got interested in bowling by practicing with his dad, John Robinson, who is a USBC level 1 certified coach. Colin Robinson said he likes to bowl because it’s competitive and fun. It’s exciting because he gets to compete with skilled bowlers.

Both Colin and his father were practicing at a bowling alley and the manager let them know they had a youth league on Saturdays. They gave it a try and things immediately clicked for Colin Robinson.

He competed in about 25 bowling tournaments last year. Recently, he won two DJBT handicap tournaments, a series in New England during the 2022-2023 season. In a handicap tournament, a predetermined value is added to the pin count. He also recently posted his first scratch tournament win at the Rhode Island Youth Masters.

This was an important win for the Windham teen because he was consistent in hitting his targets and shooting spares, two skills he has worked hard to master in practice.

In 2022, he qualified and competed in Junior Gold, a large tournament where his division, the Under 18 boys, had as many as 1,300 participants. Robinson also bowled in the Junior Gold tournament in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2022 and in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2023.

John Robinson said it’s amazing to watch his son work toward achieving his goals. This season, Colin Robinson started out averaging a score in the 150s in both league and tournament competitions. In the last two months of the season, he was consistently averaging a score in the 170s during tournaments.

“Bowling has helped Colin in every way possible; physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, etc.,” said John Robinson. “He’s learned to calm himself and work with and support his peers. I get just as excited when he gives someone a fist bump or says ‘nice shot’ as when he throws a great shot himself. He’s ... made tremendous progress.”

To watch him practice, it’s evident that Colin Robinson works very hard on his game. This past year, he bowled with some of the best youth bowlers in the country under some of the toughest conditions. And he still practices for these tournaments with his father, although Colin Robinson’s official coach is Jimmy Clark.

“He is so amazing to work with,” said Clark, the owner of Bowler Builders Pro Shop and a USBC silver-level certified coach. “I have watched him embrace every challenge thrown his way. I see more confidence in his actions. Watching Colin grow as an individual has also made him a better teammate. Having autism can make the communication between bowlers a little tricky, but Colin is now able to talk with his fellow bowlers with more confidence and more success.”

According to Colin Robinson, his years of bowling have taught him how to compete against some of the best bowlers. He said practicing with his dad is fun and helps him bowl better.

“Autism and other neurodivergent disorders are a very broad spectrum,” said John Robinson. “I encourage every parent to at least give bowling a try. It doesn’t have to be in a league; just get out and let them roll the ball down the lane. I’m in bowling centers three to four days a week and I frequently see groups of people from high functioning to severely impaired. The joy on their faces when their ball hits the pins is incredibly heartwarming.”

Colin Robinson will compete in a tournament in Rhode Island on Sept. 9 and his league bowling will begin on Sept. 16.

Colin and John Robinson are in the process of setting up goals and planning tournaments for the upcoming season. They say that their big goal is converting to two-handed bowling, where his left hand supports the ball up until he releases it. In addition, Colin Robinson will build upon his existing skills, so that he can do his best and qualify for next year’s Junior Gold. <

Friday, August 18, 2023

Windham residents show skills in Maine Senior Games

By Matt Pascarella

Whether you’re competing in one event or several in the Maine Senior Games sponsored by Martin’s Point Health Care and AARP, it’s a great opportunity for individuals beginning at age 45 to meet and compete against others their age. 

There were over 90 athletes at the track and field event from all over New England and included Windham residents Gene Kirkpatrick and Mariellen Sheridan. It was held at Saint Joseph’s College on Sunday, August 13.

Windham resident Gene Kirkpatrick clears the high jump bar
at 4-02.75 feet to set a new meet record in his age range at
the Maine Senior Games track and field event at Saint
Joseph's College on Sunday, Aug. 13.
The Maine Senior Games began in the mid-1980s. According to their website, “The mission of the Maine Senior Games is to provide athletic events and wellness opportunities to improve the health and fitness of people 45 and over.”

Coordinator of the event and Saco resident Karen Reardon has been involved with athletics all her life; she was a coach at South Portland and Biddeford. She retired in 2021 and joining the Maine Senior Games was a chance to continue doing what she loved. She’s been involved with the games for 15 years and this is her first year as coordinator.

“Being involved in sports is what really attracted me to the Maine Senior Games and the mission of the games, is to get people moving,” said Reardon. “[To be] active and be as healthy as possible.”

While these particular events were track and field, the Maine Senior Games offers a variety of events from basketball to bowling to cornhole to pickleball.

Windham resident Gene Kirkpatrick was always very competitive in track in high school. When he heard about the Maine Senior Games, it sounded like something he thought he could do. Currently in his second year participating, the games have gotten him much healthier, and he’s been exercising and eating better.

“At this age, it’s the comradery, meeting new people and forming new friendships is the biggest benefit,” said Kirkpatrick.

For Kirkpatrick it’s not so much about competing against others, but more about competing against himself and trying to beat his personal records.

Kirkpatrick jumped a height of 4-02.75 feet in the high jump which exceeded his goal in that event and was a new meet record in the 70-74 age bracket for the Maine Senior Games. In the triple jump, he placed third with a 22-07.00 distance.

Windham resident Mariellen Sheridan has been participating in the games for five years. Sheridan said she competes for the opportunity to train and be with other people while having a good time and staying healthy. In her age group, she finished first in the 100-meter-dash with a time of 21.94 seconds. She also finished first in the javelin with a throw of 58-08, first in the discus with a throw of 1-08.75 and first in the 200 with a 49.91 time.

Sheridan has always been an athlete. And the games gives her a goal and something to look forward to. She works to beat those goals and competing builds her confidence up for next year.

Massachusetts resident Chuck Rossetti is in his second year of the games. He said it was a fun time, well organized, nice and relaxed. The volunteers are fantastic and it’s a joy to compete.

“The Maine Senior Games gives [its participants] motivation to stay active and social interactions,” said Reardon. “For some it’s trying to see if they can make it to Nationals, for others they just want to do it. Having that physical outlet, we all think of it as happening in high school and college and all the youth sports, but if you like to do that, that never really goes away, and this is a place to do it.”

You don’t have to be an expert to participate in any events offered by the Maine Senior Games. You can come to an event and watch or try an event and see how it goes. All skill levels are welcome. <

WYBA’s Sonic Coed 3-on-3 Tournament brings communities together

By Matt Pascarella

After a few years off, Windham Youth Basketball Association’s Sonic Coed 3-on-3 Tournament returned on Saturday, Aug. 12 in Windham and with a great turnout of 16 teams from third graders to adults 40-plus who were playing in a friendly competition that brings not just players and supporters from Windham, but also surrounding towns.

Gray senior Noah Hebert makes his way to the hoop during
the eighth Sonic Coed 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament hosted
by the Windham Youth Basketball Association on Saturday,
Aug. 12 in Windham. PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA  
“This tournament is for a good cause,” said Windham resident and Windham Youth Basketball Association (WYBA) coach Lily Cooper. “It’s a memorial tournament that we’ve been coming to and supporting for years. Just being able to see the kids play together coed, it’s not something they get to do very often. I love being able to see the boys and girls get together and play. It’s great for all the teams and the kids to support each other.”

The tournament was created to celebrate Windham High School basketball player Dan Giguere, who passed away in a car accident. Giguere was a coach, a teacher, a father of three sons and was very active in the community.

WYBA raised close to $1,500 from the tournament which will be split between the Youth Basketball programs and the Windham High School basketball programs.

Gray senior Noah Hebert loves basketball and said the tournament is a fun opportunity to play. For Hebert, spending time with friends, meeting new people and playing a competitive sport he likes is very positive.

“It was time to bring it back,” said WYBA president Ben Delewski. “We have these nice new courts [by the Public Safety building]. It was a great showing, beautiful weather and was a ton of fun.”

Delewski wants to build up the basketball culture in Windham, and events like this can help to start building those powerhouse teams. The Sonic 3-on-3 Coed Tournament helps because the younger kids look up to the older kids and the older kids become role models and with the adults participating everyone can learn from one another and just have a good time. It also teaches to include everyone, as girl’s baskets are worth double the points.

“This is a great cause; perfect day to be out here, seeing everybody. For me, just happy to be playing and keep moving. Everybody’s here having fun,” said Windham resident Johnathan Bassett.

According to Delewski, the tournament teaches kids how to play the right way and get good open shots, having fun and being part of a team. A lot of kids hadn’t played since the end of the winter season, so this is a good summer activity and gets the kids talking about basketball and preparing for the upcoming season.

“I really wanted to play basketball, because I haven’t played since the winter,” said Windham fourth grader Colby Sargent. This was Sargent’s first year playing in the tournament. “It’s really fun because you’re just getting out and playing for fun. It raises money and it’s really good for people to get out and just play.”

Windham graduate and resident Nick Curtis used to play in the tournament as a kid and said it was a lot of fun to play in it now. Curtis said it brings everyone together and supports the basketball programs in a friendly environment.

Windham resident and parent Angela Wyman said the tournament is about team building and community building. She likes that other communities are part of it. Her boys have been playing basketball since they were little and look forward to it every time. It keeps kids involved and brings families and communities together while supporting the basketball programs.

“I’m really pleased with how many people showed up and all the smiles,” said Delewski. <

Friday, August 11, 2023

Windham Little League ceremony recognizes outgoing players

By Matt Pascarella

Windham Little League’s 2023 closing ceremony and 12-year-old aging out ceremony is a way to close out the season and congratulate those 12-year-old players who have aged out of the program, while also thanking them for their time and dedication with the presentation of a medal and a gift. This year’s ceremony took place at Ciccarone Field at Lowell Farm in Windham on Monday, Aug. 7 and was followed by a Home Run Derby and an informal game.

Windham eighth grader Evelyn Robinson slides safely into
home during an informal softball/baseball game as part of
Windham Little League's closing and aging out ceremonies 
at Ciccarone Field at Lowell Farm in Windham on
Windham Little League recognized softball players Eliana Kostopoulos, Layla Pinto, and Evelyn Robinson along with baseball players Silas Clark, Bryon Davis, Dylan Emmons, Chase Gagnon, Riley Gallagher, Brady Legere, Ryan Manning, Sullivan Nappi, Troy Otterson, Hunter Pulkkinen and Cody Ruth.

“It’s important to recognize these kids through their years of Little League so that they feel important and want to stay involved in baseball and softball,” said Windham Little League president Tim Gaudet. “All the way from T-Ball to Majors Division each kid develops in a certain way, they get different coaches and different perspectives on teaching fundamentals.”

Gaudet said he will miss this particular group of Little League players because he has coached a lot of these kids since they played T-Ball. The talent of this group is what stands out to him as well as the fact that they really love playing with and for each other. Gaudet said he likes that they all love being part of a team.

The Home Run Derby ended in a three-way tie with Gallagher, Nappi and Robinson all hitting two home runs. They each received a gift card for their participation.

“It’s been a good, program, good teammates; I loved it,” said Windham seventh grader Gallagher. “All the kids are nice; the coaches are good. I’ve learned a lot about hitting and definitely catching.”

Gallagher had never caught until the AAA Division. Once he started, he has caught ever since. He said that he wants to play in high school, college, and middle school and is sad to age out of Windham Little League.

Windham eighth grader Robinson said that Windham Little League has been a fun time and she’s learned you don’t have to win every single game. She’s enjoyed playing and wants to work on her hitting, with plans to play in high school and college.

Rave X Motorsports coach Ralph Gallagher said it’s bittersweet to have his son age out. They had a great All-Star season and seeing the kids with all the different ability levels all the way up through, his focus as coach was to keep it fun – he wanted the kids to walk away at the end of the season and remember that about Little League.

Ralph Gallagher said Little League teaches the ability to strikeout and get back up the next time. You can’t change what happened in the past, but what you can change is how you react moving forward. You can make up for it in the field or at the plate or make a play. That’s what life is about – if something gets you down you can’t let it hold you down.

Baseball and softball teach kids about growth in areas that are both physical and mental. Ralph Gallagher stressed the important role volunteering plays for Windham Little League. He’s been a coach since T-Ball and said it’s very satisfying, you only get these years once with your child.

Windham Little League is always looking for volunteers and coaches for both softball and baseball. If you are interested, please reach out to Tim Gaudet at 207-939-6235 or at <

Varsity basketball players give back to community by training younger players

By Matt Pascarella

When Windham High varsity senior Erik Bowen and varsity sophomore AJ Moody were up-and-coming basketball players, they had older players they trained with and looked up to. To inspire and help a new generation of younger Windham players, Bowen and Moody recently started conducting training sessions in a newly built gym at Moody’s home.

Windham participants work on their basketball
skills with WHS varsity players Erik Bowen
and AJ Moody during basketball training
sessions on July 25 in Windham.
“When they come here, it’s not like [we] want them to be like us, said Moody. “You want them to be better than you. So ... they can achieve more and love the game more.”

Kids come in and talk to them about what they want to work on. Sometimes Bowen and Moody have a plan and sometimes they’ll implement shooting and dribbling drills into a training session.

Bowen and Moody offer one-on-one sessions or trainings in small groups. They’ll referee games so participants can utilize the skills being taught to them. They also offer open gym sessions and will soon be announcing a middle school 3-on-3 league.

The main focus is basketball, but they also want to bring fun and a love of the game into their training sessions. If you want to succeed at the game, you really need to develop a passion for it, and Bowen and Moody are working to accomplish that with their participants.

“We’re trying to get them better but also have them have a fun time and teach them skills like relationship building,” said Bowen.

Sixth grader Julia Call and third grader Callen Call said they have enjoyed these basketball trainings.

Julia Call said the training shows her how to shoot better and make her dribbling moves work better.

Callen Call says Bowen and Moody make skills, drills, and scrimmages more fun.

Some of the drills Bowen and Moody teach to participants are the same drills they work on during their varsity practices. If the younger participants who learn those drills know and develop that muscle memory, it can only help them as they progress in the sport.

Bowen said using what they’ve learned in practice also helps them too. If they’re teaching what they are practicing, that’s going to increase Bowen and Moody’s muscle memory and they’ll do better on the court.

“[I like] talking to the youth and wanting them to be in my position one day,” said Moody. “And to let them know, it’s going to be one nice ride.”

There is a varying cost to the training depending on what you’re looking for. Bowen and Moody are planning to donate some of their funds to the Dempsey Center as well as put some of their money back into their trainings.

“Younger kids aren’t going to come up and tell you they look up to you, but I know they look up to us,” said Bowen. “Trying to create a more personable connection with the younger people that are the future of our community and our basketball program; it’s been nice.”

Moody said if he had had an opportunity like this when he was younger, he would have taken advantage of it. He wants to take his energy and love of the game and give that to the little kids he is teaching so that they can become better basketball players.

“It’s impressive to have these older kids give back,” said Julia and Callen’s father, Chris Call.

Both Bowen and Moody say they are trying to leave the Windham basketball program better than they found it.

They’ve gotten more of a response to their training sessions than expected, and there is still time to sign up by calling 207-239-9576 or 207-838-1604. <

Friday, August 4, 2023

Windham varsity boys’ basketball wraps up successful summer session

By Matt Pascarella

It’s been a busy and productive summer for the Windham High School boys’ basketball team. They became Gold Rush champions during a basketball camp at Thomas College in Waterville. The entire team has been working hard each morning showing up for early morning practices. In the final game of the summer season, Windham boys’ varsity beat Edward Little at home, 56-49, on Thursday, July 27 in a game that showcased their hard work and dedication.

Windham's Conor Janvrin dribbles past two Edward Little
opponents during a summer basketball game at Windham
High School on Thrursday, July 27.
For the first time, the boys’ high school basketball program invited Windham seventh and eighth graders to join them in a week of practices as they finished their summer season.

“We couldn’t wait for the summer to start, just because of the guys we had coming back,” said Windham varsity boys’ basketball coach Chad Pulkkinen. “Summer has been great, because we get to hang out with these guys, but also helping fuel their passion for the game. It’s very rewarding for me.”

During the final game of the summer season, Edward Little jumped to an early lead. Windham tied the game with the Red Eddies several times and the game was tied at 22 at the half.

At the start of the second half, Windham really increased their intensity and took the lead. Windham remained out in front and made it difficult for Edward Little to get this win.

Windham junior Creighty Dickson said they pushed the pace, finished at the rim and played fast pace on defense; it was a solid game.

When Pulkkinen opened practice up to seventh and eighth graders, he said he’s seen his players start to understand their roles as role models and that gives them a sense of how to hold themselves as players and athletes. It’s a win-win for both sides. It’s been very collaborative and powerful for the program.

“It’s been good we all work out together a lot,” said Windham junior Conor Janvrin. “We all worked together, everyone knows their role and plays a part in the team; I’m looking forward to the upcoming season [this winter].”

Windham sophomore AJ Moody, sunk 3 three-pointers during the Edward Little game, said this was the last summer with some of the seniors. He really wanted to show up for them and put everything on the line; he couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff. He likes teaching the upcoming high school players new things and he can’t wait to play with them.

The varsity players got to show the middle school players how they do things offensively and strategically. The overall comradery has been really fun. Pulkkinen enjoyed seeing his team as a great set of role models. It was fun for him to see varsity players giving back to the youth program.

“It was really fun to watch and play against a bunch of high-level players and being able to learn from them,” said Windham eighth grader Sean Lebel. “They showed me the pace that high school basketball is played at and is a very big step up from middle school. It was a great way for me to work on fundamentals and get up a lot of shots. It was nice to build relationships with a lot of the high schoolers too.”

Windham junior varsity and assistant varsity coach Geoff Grigsby said the commitment and dedication he’s seen on the court from players of all ages this summer really proves Windham is a basketball community on the rise. <

Windham’s Eagle Soccer Camp builds foundation for future success

 By Matt Pascarella

If ever there was a definition of community it was evident during Windham’s Eagle Soccer Camp. In its first year, this week-long camp was run by the varsity girls’ and boys’ soccer programs of Windham High School and took place from July 24 to July 28 at Windham High School.
Counselors and varsity girls' soccer players Olivia Shaw,
front, and Marley Jarvais give a demonstration at the
Eagle Soccer Camp on Friday, July 28 at Windham

The camp combined players of all skill levels from kindergarten to eighth grade and they had the help of current and graduated high school players, as well as varsity coaches and a variety of community members. The goal was to provide an affordable community-based high-quality soccer instructional environment.

“This is building a program for the future,” said Eagle Soccer Camp organizer and Windham boys’ varsity soccer coach Jeff Neal. “The camp was about providing a niche service that would benefit both the Windham Youth South Association program and school teams; we have Windham Youth Soccer Association, high school, and college kids out here. All at the same field at the same time interacting with each other – that’s beautiful. This was a way where I could see we could kind of glue it all together and provide a little bit of cohesion and offer supports across the board.”

The camp was broken up into morning and afternoon sessions with campers divided into groups by age. The morning sessions were about working on skills, while the afternoons were an opportunity to apply those skills in scrimmages and activities.

“It’s important for the younger kids to have older girl role models,” said Windham junior Emily Talbot. “It’s a good experience for us to be with the younger kids who will be playing high school and for them to help us and see what it’s like to [play] with the older kids.”

Talbot said it was a great opportunity to work with the boys’ varsity soccer team more because the teams are separate during the season. She enjoyed watching the younger kids have fun and get involved in playing the game they love.

Windham junior Luke Cunniffe said the week was good and the camper’s energy has been through the roof. Cunniffe said it made him excited for the future of the program. Spending a week as a coach made Cunniffe see the game differently. During the season, it can get stressful, so to see the kids playing unconditionally with a smile on their faces makes it super fun and makes him remember why they all started playing.

Windham graduate Julia McKenna really looked forward to jumping into this week. She was impressed by how resilient the second graders in her group were. It was very hot during the week, the kids were tired, but they wanted to learn.

McKenna said this was a positive experience and she enjoyed getting to know the kids on a personal level as well as being able to help them on the soccer field.

Fifth grader Natalie Brey joined the camp because she likes soccer and wanted to get better. She said it was a positive experience and she learned new moves like how to keep the ball away from a defender. She would eventually like to play in high school and college.

“Surround yourself with awesome people and amazing things happen,” said Neal.

The camp was successful because of the people involved. The campers kept their attitudes positive through the heat, tried their best and were willing to try new stuff. The staff, including athlete trainer Casey Sinclair, were the ones making it happen, making it a success.

Windham varsity boys’ soccer junior Sam Rogers said the week was a success because everyone loves the sport, and it’s been a good week with a lot of kids learning about soccer. He likes being a role model for younger players.

“Our goal was to help run a camp that served the entire community,” said Windham girls’ varsity soccer coach Deb Lebel. “We’ve connected with 10 to 12 kids in our group, and they know us and know us well. And also know the players on the field, so when they come to watch a varsity game, they are cheering on someone they know and feel really connected to.”

Lebel said an unexpected outcome of the week was the boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer teams getting to work together and become more united. There’s been a lot of excitement; kids want to increase their skillsets and aspire to accomplish as much as they can.

Eighth grader Luke Hangge is a goalie and said he wanted to improve his footwork. The week went well, and he’s learned to have control with his feet. He said he really learned a lot and enjoyed the camp; the coaches made it fun and structured. He would like to participate in it again. <

Friday, July 28, 2023

Lacrosse skills and drills practice an opportunity for offseason development

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham High School boys’ lacrosse team has been gathering since June 27 at Cape Elizabeth High School with surrounding area teams for summer skills and drills practices each week. The purpose of these practices was to improve in the offseason while establishing group chemistry and continue that improvement up until the start of the regular season next spring. They had their final skills and drills practice on Thursday, July 27.

Windham senior Jake Lord holds onto the ball while
Windham sophomore Josh Logan defends him during a
boys lacrosse scrimmage with surrounding schools 
during a skills and drills practice on Thursday, July 20
Windham freshman Tegan Perkins said that his goal during these practices is to get as good as he can and then transfer all those skills and knowledge into the spring season. He said he feels like he’s benefitted from working with his team and others because he said every shot helps you get better.

The teams converged as one big group and then split up into offense and defense and worked on ball movement and handling, and they also competed in scrimmages.

The goal of these skills and drills practices was to continue to have the team practice and develop their lacrosse stick skills during the summer months. Skills and drills sessions were an opportunity for Windham to continue to develop their individual game and have fun on the field. Running drills with players you don’t normally play with was a great way to develop game IQ.

Windham freshman Colin McKenna said coming into high school sports is more competitive, though he knows a lot of the players in the skills and drills practices, so that’s fun. McKenna works on being coachable and takes constructive criticism as an opportunity to improve. He is always working on getting better outside of practice.

“During the season unfortunately, sometimes players are less likely to try new things or to better develop their weaknesses (different dodges, using their weaker hand, etc.) because they are afraid it will weaken the team play,” said Windham varsity boys’ lacrosse coach Peter Small. “This summer, I have watched players really hone in on their relative weaknesses and develop their game. They are also talking more on the field with each other and have developed a better sense of the overall game.”

Small was very impressed with the turnout. They’ve gotten between 25 to 30 players each practice. This was a great group of student athletes who really enjoyed the game and opportunities to play.

Windham senior Aiden Benish said the goal of skills and drills is to get as close to perfection as you can in the small subtle things like footwork, positioning and knowing what your next move is. Benish learned to transition the ball better on offense and communicate better on defense.

He said working with other schools has been like a new addition to their team; everyone works together and helps each other out. Benish said these skills and drills practices will benefit him during the spring season because he’ll have more stick experience and more time on the field with his teammates during the offseason. He wants to be the best player and teammate he can be as well as make others around him better. Eventually, Benish hopes to play at the college level.

“It's been wonderful to see them commit together to play more,” said Small. “They are bonding more as a group, communicating more, encouraging each other more, and have developed a strong identity, especially as the freshmen join with us. I greatly enjoy how hard they work and how much fun they have playing lacrosse.” <

Windham High’s Yale to play for All-American New Balance Lacrosse Team

By Matt Pascarella

Windham junior Evan Yale has been chosen to play on the New Balance All-America Lacrosse Team in a tournament which runs through July 30 in Maryland.

Windham junior Evan Yale competes during a skills and
drills session at Cape Elizabeth on Thursday, July 20.
Yale has been chosen to play for the New Balance 
Al-America New England Lacrosse Team and will compete
in Maryland from July 27 to July 30 in a lacrosse
The All-American Lacrosse Tournament displays some of the most talented players in the country and roughly 100 applicants tried to make this team and from that group, only 23 were selected to represent New England in the tournament.

Yale said that he wanted to try out to compare himself to other players and see how good he was. He says trying out for the team had no downside.

“He’s a guy that will come out and do anything that you ask,” said Windham varsity boys’ lacrosse coach Peter Small. “I think he’s somebody who can score, I think he can move the ball with his stick and pass and find people open; he gets a ton of ground balls. He has this all-around game where he can step back and evade a defender but also come in tight on a defender.”

Specifically, Yale will suit up for the 2023 New Balance All-America New England Lacrosse Team’s Burn Division, which consists of players graduating in 2025. The event in Maryland will be composed of three divisions in each region – the Command Division, the Highlight Division, and the Burn Division.

To be one out of 23 selected for this team is a real honor. Yale said it felt great to be chosen for the New Balance All-America New England team.

“I saw the subject line of the email and I was so happy,” said Yale. “I think it will be really great, there’s not many Maine kids that get to do it; I don’t think we have anyone from Windham who’s made it before. It’s really cool to be one of the first for Windham and the state of Maine.”

His hard work has already gotten him noticed by All-America Lacrosse on the field. He was a member of the 2023 Undergraduate All-Star Team and was written about in the 2022 New England Lacrosse Journal as one of the most impressive attackmen.

Accolades motivate Yale to work even harder, but also show him what his hard work can become. Yale said he knows working harder means he’ll get better on the field.

Windham senior Tobias Perkins praised Yale as a great choice for this tournament because of his great skill set and positive attitude. Perkins said Yale has a strong ability to get by defenders and create space to get a shot off and Yale can see the field and make great passes.

Practices with the Windham team, playing wall ball and staying after practices with teammates to work on shooting and the basics of the game have helped Yale a great deal in achieving an accomplishment like this.

“He’s an outstanding and accomplished player,” said Lee Corrigan, Owner and Operator of Corrigan Sports Enterprises and All-America Lacrosse event powered by New Balance. “It’s a very prestigious thing to be involved with the All-America Games. He’s an outstanding player [and it is projected] that he’ll be an outstanding player at the collegiate level. The people who have come through our event in the last 17 years have all gone on to have great college careers.”

Small said that Yale brings a high lacrosse IQ, a willingness to do anything for his teammates and a complete game to the field. Yale is very team-oriented and Small said he could have scored more this year but chose to feed his teammates and that he’s an unselfish player in the way that he plays.

Yale is aiming to attend a college with a competitive lacrosse program when he finishes high school. <

Tales from the Outdoors: Fishing the Atlantic

By Bob Chapin

If you really want a fun day afield that is also a physical challenge, then consider a “head” trip out into the Atlantic for a day of bottom fishing. When I say “head boat” I am referring to a boat where you pay a “head fee” to be taken aboard and the captain and crew do most of the work getting you to the fishing grounds, equipping you with a rod and reel with terminal tackle already attached, and bait if you choose to use it.

A fisherman awaits a catch while deep sea
fishing in the Atlantic Ocean while aboard
the Bunny Clark out of Ogunquit. 
The operation I am most familiar with is aboard the Bunny Clark out of Perkins Cove in Ogunquit. From my house here in Raymond it takes about an hour and a half to get there, and you are asked to arrive at the dock at 6:15 a.m. for a 7 a.m. departure. The Bunny Clark can accommodate up to 24 fishermen, but they rarely book that many which can get frustrating when your lines keep getting tangled. A group of 18 or less is perfect as it is less chaotic for all, including the crew.

The last trip I took this past June had about 16 fishermen and a Department of Marine Sciences researcher aboard who was there to check catches and record species, lengths, and weights. Ethan was his name, and he did an excellent job which can get hectic when the fish start coming aboard. We always stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Wells enroute and pick up a dozen for Captain Ian and crew. It doesn’t get us a guaranteed preferred place on the boat rail, but it does start the trip off on a pleasant note. 

Speaking of preferred locations there are several on the boat and fishermen who have been a few times, know and “fight” for their favorites. Some like the bow to get away from other fishermen, others prefer the stern cause it is wide and allows more unobstructed water to get your line down, others prefer under the top cover out of the rain and sun if that is a consideration. Frankly, it doesn’t matter where you fish, you all catch fish. We were on what they call their “Elite” trip which returns promptly at 5 p.m. For that you pay a fee of $125 per fisherman.

I usually pack a book or a Kindle to pass the time on the ride out to the fishing grounds at Jefferey’s Ledge, which is a 2-hour boat ride of about 25 miles straight out into the Atlantic. On the way out I have seen whales spouting, tuna fish jumping clear out of the water, and one year a whale shark that for some reason had taken an interest in a lobster buoy and was bumping into it repeatedly. Porpoises are a common sight racing the bow of the boat.

You know you have arrived at the fishing grounds when the captain reduces power and begins circling a set of GPS coordinates for a favorite spot. The first mate will also start handing out fishing rods and you will have to declare whether you want to jig or will use bait. It doesn’t matter which you choose but if you choose bait, you will be handling cut up bait, usually Spanish Mackerel, which some folks rather not get on their fingers because then their lunch tastes like it. It doesn’t matter which you choose because all will catch fish if they are there. The captain picked this particular spot because he has caught fish here in the past but fish move around, a lot, so be prepared for a couple of moves before you get on fish.

It seems no matter where you stop over the Ledge to fish the Dogfish, or sand sharks, are there and will find your bait. When they do it seems as though that is all you catch. When you are using 16-ounce jigs or Dipsey sinkers and fishing in 180 to 300 feet of water just cranking up your terminal tackle alone is a tough proposition. Because you will have more than one hook in your terminal tackle, it is not unusual to catch two fish at a time. This is where the physically challenging part comes in. If the seas are rough while you are out there, you are trying to keep your balance on the boat while reeling in your prize. It is a handful to get to the surface but, hey, that is why you came right?

There is currently a moratorium on Cod until September so those go back, but you are just as likely to catch Pollock, Haddock, Hake, Red Snapper, or Halibut, all good eating fish, if you can keep the dogfish off your line.

The First Mate will come around to retrieve your fish and mark it with a Roman Numeral, so he knows it is yours when he filets them on the ride back to port. Occasionally, Blue Sharks will show up and they hang out under the boat. That is bad news because they will steal your fish before you can get them out of the water. Most are 4 to 6 feet in length and after you have done all that cranking to get your catch up from the bottom you don’t want to lose it to a shark. So, save a bit of energy for that last 15 feet under the water so you can crank your fish in clear of the water once you begin to “see color” as your fish ascends. Do not let it linger near the surface or you will lose it and your terminal tackle. The first set is free, after that you will owe the captain $16 a set!

One last tip…at the end of the day you will be tired and a little frazzled. I like to bring a glass jar with lid filled with water and a clean washcloth. <

Friday, July 21, 2023

33rd Annual Lobster Bowl a big success for outgoing Windham seniors

By Matt Pascarella

The 33rd Maine Shriner Lobster Bowl Classic is a tremendous opportunity for any Maine high school senior, but also does a lot of good raising money for the Shriners Children’s Hospitals. Windham was well represented this year by seniors Max Arbour, Logan Hirning and Alex Yeaton who played on the East football team at Don Roux Field in Lewiston on Saturday, July 15 against the West.

Windham seniors Max Arbour, left, Alex Yeaton, and Logan
Hirning gather after their team, the East, beat the West in the
Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl at Lewiston High School on
“Just an unreal experience having so many communities come together and support one team for a really good cause,” said Hirning.

The teams spent a week having three practices a day and rooming together in dormitories. Hirning said that the players really came together, and it was the comradery that pushed these former rivals to unify as a team. Next year, Hirning will attend the University of Maine and major in construction engineering.

According to the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl website, “The Shriners Hospitals for Children is a network of 22 non-profit medical facilities across North America that provide care to children with orthopedic conditions, burns or spinal cord injuries as well those who are suffering from cleft lip and palate. These hospitals offer all services in an environment where family members feel comfortable enough so they can bond emotionally while providing treatment needed by their loved ones during difficult times, regardless of the patients’ ability to pay.”

The East team had the lead for most of the game, and while the West scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the East was able to hold them off and won the game, 28-23.

While the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl website describes the game as a “tightly contested battle,” there are no losers during this event. Maine seniors help raise money for Shriners Hospitals and those seniors get to play in this respected game.

Since 1990, the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl athletes have donated more than $750,000 for Shriners Children’s Hospitals. This year, its participants did an amazing job and raised over $235,000 which will go directly to Shriners medical facilities across the country.

“It meant a lot to my family, my community, all the kids that were unable to play – representing Shriners meant a lot to me,” said Arbour.

Arbour went in not knowing anyone, but by the end, all his teammates felt like brothers to him. He said it was weird at first to be practicing alongside players Windham competed against for the past four years, but before long they had really solidified as a team.

In school, Arbour started out playing soccer and wasn’t enjoying it, so once he reached second grade, he began playing football and he’s never looked back. It’s his favorite sport and he will play it at the University of New England next year while majoring in medical biology.

“It was really fun, there were a lot of ups and downs,” said Yeaton about the Lobster Bowl game. “But at the end of the day we won so I couldn’t be [happier] with my team.”

Yeaton also began playing football in second grade. He had watched it on TV and said he couldn’t wait to get on the field to play. Next year, Yeaton will also attend the University of New England where he will play football and major in business.

“All three of them were integral to this game,” said Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl East head coach Mark Soehren about the Windham players. “They are fantastic, coachable, tough – I can’t say enough about them.”<