Friday, October 27, 2023

Windham’s cross country teams finish extremely strong in regional championships

By Matt Pascarella

Pouring rain did not stop the Windham cross country team from showing they were ready to compete in the Class A Regional championship on Saturday, Oct. 21 at Twin Brooks Recreation Area in Cumberland. The Windham girls’ team all qualified for the state championship and the boys earned a 10th place finish; just one team spot shy of going to the state championship.

Windham sophomore Sydney Broadbent keeps a steady pace
early in the Class A girls' Cross Country Regional
Championships race at Twin Brook recreational area on
Saturday, Oct. 21 in Cumberland.

“We knew it was going to be rough,” said Windham sophomore Sydney Broadbent, who finished second for Windham and 19th with a time of 21:56.44 minutes. “We knew that everybody was running in the same weather and conditions were going to be the same for everybody and in some ways, it could help us because we’ve worked so hard and prepared since July for this. We were ready for it, and we came and fought, and we did it. We all kept fighting and ... kept going, kept pushing, and we put in the work this season and it paid off today. Everybody worked extra hard – we gave it our all, we gave it everything.”

Junior Tayla Peletier finished first for the team with an 18th place finish overall and a 21.56.32 time.

Sophomore Emma Fox finished third for Windham and 47th overall with a 23:40.61 time. Right behind her was senior Elizabeth Bearce with a 23.50.52 finish.

Sophomore Abigail Dumont finished fifth for Windham with a 24:09.41 time; she knocked off more than a minute from her 2022 Regional Championship finish time.


“It’s a good day to race, with the rain, it cools you off, it makes you feel fine,” said Windham junior Andrew Young who finished first for Windham and dropped over 20 seconds off his 2022 Regional Championship time with a 2023 time of 18:04.92. “Definitely a little slippery ... definitely a good race. As a team, we were really unified; we were hyping each other up, we all felt good. We met our expectations; I was very pleased with my performance. I have to give credit to my team, everything our coaches and our team has done has prepared us for this race.”

Seniors Graden Joly, Jinqi Li and sophomore Gavin Lawler all dropped times. Joly finished second for the team and 35th overall with a time of 18:32.53. Li finished third for Windham with a 19:41.63 time.

Lawler finished fourth for Windham with a time of 19:42.76. He dropped an entire minute off his previous Regional Championship time.

Freshman Mason Bragdon finished fifth for the team in his first ever Regionals Championship race. He had a fantastic time of 19:56.47.

“We think the weather was an asset because we made it so,” said Windham cross-country coach Jeff Riddle. “We needed to work extremely consistently and extremely well together to have a shot to do what we did today, and they responded and did it. I think the biggest thing that's going well is that the girls are a tight, tight true team and the boys are progressing to that end.”

According to Riddle, they will treat the State Championships no differently than the Regional Championships; they will reset and get back into it. States is not a finishing point; it is a goal and that has opportunities of things to qualify beyond there.

The State Championships will take place in Belfast on Saturday, Oct. 28. <

Varsity boys’ soccer team making a difference within community through American Cancer Society donation

By Matt Pascarella

For the second consecutive year, the Windham varsity boys’ soccer team participated in Red Card Cancer Night, at Windham on Tuesday, Oct. 3, a fundraiser in conjunction with the American Cancer Society. This is one of the ways coaches encourage the team to give back to the greater community. Windham raised a total of $780 that night, which exceeded its goal of $750.

From left, Windham soccer varsity junior Luke Cunniffe,
Esther Brown, the Development Manager in Maine for the 
American Cancer Society, and Windham soccer varsity
senior Nick Marion hold a check that the Windham varsity
boys' soccer team donated to the American Cancer Society
on Red Card Cancer Night on Tuesday, Oct. 3.
The winner of the 50-50 raffle is a cancer-conqueror and donated the money won back to the American Cancer Society. Upon learning of this, the varsity team was so moved that they decided to make an additional donation themselves of $500 to the American Cancer Society on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at Windham.

“It really motivated us,” said Windham varsity senior Nick Marion. “It showed us how people think and how we could help the cause as well. We didn't even know it, but the winner of that raffle turned out to be connected, it's my grandma. So, it really ... showed us that we can make a difference.”

Red Card Cancer was established in 2009 as a tribute to founder Paul Payne’s longtime friend and mentor Joe Bochicchio. It is a non-profit organization that reaches all levels of soccer nationally. Their mission is to use the passion of players and coaches and direct it towards finding a cure. The Red Card Cancer organization’s vision is to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

“It was important for us to participate in the event because people come here to watch, but we don't want it to be only about ourselves,” said Windham varsity junior Luke Cunniffe. “We have the privilege to play; there's a lot of people who don't have that privilege. So, we just want to make it bigger than ourselves. It's always nice to give back to people who are supporting you.”

Charlene Burnett was the 50-50 winner that night. Earlier in the day she had been to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston where she was given a clean bill of health after being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2015. Burnett had undergone chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries. Being diagnosed with breast cancer really put things in perspective for Burnett.

“When I bought the tickets, I knew that if I won, I would turn the money back because the American Cancer Society does so much good work,” said Burnett. “It just seemed like the thing to do; and maybe that’s why I won.”

The money that Windham raised will directly help Maine residents. According to Esther Brown, Development Manager in Maine for the American Cancer Society, fundraising within the American Cancer Society goes to local communities and research and advocacy within the government.

The American Cancer Society is proud to partner with the Red Card Cancer organization to end cancer for everyone. Funds raised through Red Card Cancer Soccer program are restricted to support the overall cancer research grants through the American Cancer Society. Red Card Cancer Night is an opportunity to fight against a cause that affects many in every community.

“As a culture we're trying to get them to see beyond themselves,” said Windham varsity boys’ soccer coach Jeff Neal. “I'm very proud of everything they've done; I'm proud of how they've carried themselves throughout the year, I'm proud of the fact that they've embraced the idea of trying to do something beyond just themselves and playing soccer. It's an honor to work with these young men seeing them become men.”

The $500 the team donated came from fundraising efforts they had previously done for the program. Initially they had decided to donate not knowing who the 50-50 winner was. Once they found out it was Marion’s grandmother it felt like it was meant to be and hit a lot closer to home than anyone thought.

“It’s like you’re paying it forward,” said Burnett. “If something I did, generated more money for the Cancer Society, than I think it’s wonderful.” <

Friday, October 20, 2023

Windham varsity volleyball ends season with win over Massabesic

By Matt Pascarella

It was senior night on Monday, Oct. 16 and before the start of Windham’s varsity volleyball match, seniors Rachelle Cloutier, Madeline Dumont, Lilly McLean and Savannah Heanssler were all presented with a small gift to thank them and their parents for their years of dedication to Windham sports. Windham’s varsity volleyball team then capped off the event by beating Massabesic, 3-0, after rallying in the third set to seal their win and end the regular season showing how strong a team they are.

Windham senior Madeline Dumont hit the ball over the net
during a varsity volleyball match against Massabesic at
Windham High School on Monday, Oct. 16.
“That third [set] was a comeback,” said Windham varsity volleyball coach Chuck Fleck. “I would say determination and focus led to the win. “There was a good chemistry on the court; a good way to end the season.”

Windham scored a couple points right away in the first set; they soon had a 5-1 lead over the Mustangs. Libero Heanssler’s serving earned several points to widen their lead. Windham had great teamwork and kept up their momentum as they pulled away from Massabesic. Windham was smart with the ball and made it hard for Massabesic to return serves. In a short time, Windham was up by 10 points. While Massabesic caught up a little, Windham couldn’t be stopped and took this set 25-17. Windham sophomore Sydney Harmon had four kills; an offensive attack unreturnable by the opponent.

That momentum for the Lady Eagles did not lessen for the remainder of the match. They scored immediately in the second set. There were excellent volleys and soon the game was tied at nine. Massabesic was only two points away from a tied set. Windham wasn’t about to let that happen and began to pull ahead. Sophomore Jezabelle Pinto had three kills. Windham won this set, 25-16.

“It was a lot,” said Heanssler. “We worked as a team and pulled it together – I didn’t want this season to end. It shows how much our team has grown throughout the season and we’ve come together. Our communication and really just trusting each other [went well]; end on a good note and do it for the team.”

The third set really showcased the skill Windham has. Massabesic jumped to a 5-0 lead. The Mustangs pulled away while Windham only had a couple points on the scoreboard. Windham did not get down on each other or stop persevering and began to mount a comeback. The cheers from the crowd echoed throughout the gymnasium as Windham turned the tables and was only down by three. Heanssler tied the game at 18. Windham soon took a 23-19 lead. With Windham sophomore Lauren Neal serving, it was quickly match point for the Lady Eagles. After a few tense moments, with Windham working hard to earn the win, this set was theirs, 25-19.

“It was definitely a difficult [third] set and we’ve always struggled with mental toughness, but ... we were really able to push through, and it was really awesome to watch it all come together,” said Neal. “We have a system of coming together and talking about what we can change, what we can do differently and just executing it and I think that’s really awesome. Knowing you have the support of your teammates, your coaches and everyone in the student section is just amazing. Communication and coverage have really improved over the course of the season.”

Overall, McLean scored eight points throughout the match, Harmon had 5.5, Pinto and Heannsler each had 4. <

Windham first team boys’ soccer gets win over Gorham

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham boys’ first team soccer team, a mixture of freshmen and junior varsity players, took on Gorham in a game at home on Thursday, Oct. 12 and in just the team’s second game of the season, they went hard against the Rams and beat them, 1-0.

Windham freshman Allegra Kawaya accepts a pass and keeps
moving during a first team boys' soccer match against Gorham
on Thursday, Oct. 12 at Windham High School.
“It was some of the best possession soccer we’ve played all year,” said Windham first team boys’ soccer coach Aaron Graves. “We’re not a team, we’re a family; we really try to preach that and today ... I’m very pleased with everybody – everybody played their part very well. Our off the ball runs were great, defending as a team, for the most part we kept our shape in the midfield and didn’t get too stretched out, overall, we played a great game as a whole. Always stuff to work on, our first touch, our communication, I didn’t think we talked a whole lot today ... it got us in trouble a couple times with miscommunication and not talking.”

Windham started the game aggressively and kept the ball close to Gorham‘s goal early in the game. Windham worked hard to be first to the ball. They had solid defense and kept Gorham scoreless in the first half. The Eagles did a good job redirecting the ball and kept Gorham from gaining too many possessions.

The Eagles gave 100 percent for the entire game. Late in the first half, Windham freshman Allegra Kawaya made a cross to freshman Abram Cayetano and Cayetano scored, which gave Windham a 1-0 lead midway through.

“I expected [Kawaya] to cross the pass and he did, great assist from him and I just hoped that none of the [Gorham] defense had a touch on that ball,” said Cayetano. “We’ve been working on this all week ... we played hard today. Our motivation and just keeping that winning mentality led to the win. Our possession was better than it was at the start of the year, we didn’t get frustrated with each other when things went wrong and we’re just a family now.”

According to Cayetano, spacing, making smart plays, and going after the ball if you lose it are some things that still need improvement.

In the second half, Windham was determined to get the win. Their defense did a great job holding Gorham back. Windham had more shots at goal in the second half and they continued to work hard to be first to the ball.

Late in the second quarter, Windham sophomore and goalie Cam Damon had a key stop right in front of the goal to prevent a tie game. Gorham had one final attempt before the whistle, but it hit the crossbar and Gorham was shut out.

“I think playing the ball outside and passing more [led to today’s win]” said Kawaya. “I just take the ball, take two touches, and just cross it ... so I can have somebody put it in the box; switching and playing the ball and playing the ball outside [went well]. It was a good win.” <

Friday, October 13, 2023

Windham varsity football crushes Scarborough

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s varsity football team has only played Scarborough a handful of times since head coach Matt Perkins has been with the program; and Scarborough has always come out on top. That is, until Windham played Scarborough on Friday, Oct. 6 during its annual homecoming game where the Eagles flattened the Red Storm, 21-3.

Senior Marcus Tillery runs into the end zone to score
Windham's second touchdown during the Eagles' 
Homecoming victory over Scarborough on Friday, Oct. 6.
“It definitely felt good to beat Scarborough,” said Windham sophomore Bradley Muse, who had 52-yards rushing in the game. “I think we really rallied to the football tonight; we worked as a team, and we got the job done. We just got to keep working and getting better each day; we’re so well coached it’s really helping.”

Windham kicked off with Scarborough ready to receive but Windham’s defense halted Scarborough early and soon it was first and 10 for Windham from just inside Scarborough’s 20-yard line.

Windham ran the ball and picked up a first down on Scarborough’s 15-yard line. From there it was only a matter of time. The Eagles didn’t stop, and Windham senior Marcus Tillery scored the first touchdown. The extra point was good, and Windham led 7-0.

Scarborough kicked a field goal to put the Red Storm on the scoreboard, but that’s all the points that Windham’s defense allowed during the entire game. After one quarter, the score was 7-3, in favor of Windham.

In the second quarter, Windham earned a first down at the 43-yard line and moments later, at the 30-yard line, Tillery ran right into the end zone. The extra point kick was good, and Windham led 14-3.

Tillery scored again before unfortunately being injured in the first half. He finished the game with 145 yards rushing. Windham senior Tobias Perkins had made it to the 33-yard line for a first down before Tillery crossed the goal line for a third time. At halftime, Windham led 21-3.

“It was a great team win and we had a lot of guys that subbed in,” said Windham varsity football coach Matt Perkins. “I thought we drove the ball well, we ran the ball great, we’ve just got to finish. I thought the defense played very well, special teams, we pinned them to make them go for a field goal after a turnover, that was big. Offensively, we’ve got to finish, we have to take advantage of the things the teams are giving us.”

Windham defense kept Scarborough from the end zone for the rest of the game. Windham did get the ball deep in Scarborough territory for a first-and-goal in the third quarter, but Scarborough came away with the ball following a turnover. The third and fourth quarters were scoreless.

“I think ... we brought in some different ways we ran the ball which we hadn’t shown all season,” said Tobias Perkins, who had 103-yards rushing for the Eagles. “Most things went well tonight, every guy when they got their name called, they stepped up and did their job. We got some guys healthy, which helped a lot. Our line just fired off the ball tonight and I think that was a huge asset to why we won the game.” <

Windham field hockey battles it out against Cheverus

By Matt Pascarella

In a game where the Windham varsity field hockey persevered right up until the end, they showed that they have strong defense against a tough team, but fell 7-0 to Cheverus on Saturday, Oct. 7 at Saint Joseph’s College. The score is only one part of the story, as Windham’s defense was incredible and Windham sophomore goalie Olivia McPherson recorded an impressive 33 saves.

Sophomore Abigail Trainor of Windham takes the ball toward
the goal during a varsity field hockey game at Saint Joseph's
College against Cheverus.
“Definitely was a team effort, with team defense and the goalie,” said McPherson. “I think we all did very well with midis and forwards coming back into the circle, everyone did great marking up and had great defense. We all worked together and pushed through to the end to make it the best we could. We all had to stay positive and remember it’s just a game; we can push through, we’ll have better games, it’s just one game.”

Cheverus scored twice early in the first quarter. They moved the ball well, and their defense was solid, but Windham’s defense rose to the occasion and kept Cheverus’ score low for a large portion of the game.

Windham played aggressively and the offense took advantage of any opportunity they could to go toward Cheverus’ goal.

In the second quarter, Windham took a shot at goal and Windham’s defense remained strong the entire game. Windham stayed with the ball and worked hard to be first to it. At the half, Cheverus led 3-0.

“We’ve been practicing a lot as a team and we think we have good game and work ethic; we can come together and have a good game,” said Windham junior Ava Gerrity. “As long as we’re having fun, we’re playing well, we can keep our heads up and have a good game. Even with a loss, we still played amazing.”

According to Gerrity, communication and keeping a good spirit throughout the game were two things that went well. They also played 100 percent right up until the end.

In the second half, Windham did not let a small lead get them down and it immediately pressured Cheverus. Although Cheverus was able to score a few more goals before the final buzzer, Windham defense limited their abilities. Cheverus seemed frustrated that they couldn’t score a lot of goals in the second half.

“We came in with realistic expectations,” said Windham varsity field hockey coach Cory DiDonato. “Our goal was to keep their goals as low as we could and to hopefully pop one in ourselves. Communication and marking went much better than it normally does. Defense is something we’ve been working really hard on this year, and I think with the help and leadership of Olivia [McPherson] it really helped get the defense in a good mindset. I’m really proud of them, it’s the best I’ve seen them play defensively all season. The key for them is knowing that they are always in it; they’re going to know how strong they are defensively and how strong our goalie is, they can rely on everyone [doing] their job.” <

Friday, October 6, 2023

Windham 12-under baseball turns in strong showing against Cumberland North Yarmouth

By Matt Pascarella

After a big push in the fifth inning where Windham Little League’s 12-under fall baseball team scored five runs in a solid effort to upend Cumberland North Yarmouth on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Ciccarone Field at Lowell Farm in Windham, the rally ultimately fell short with a score of 8-6.

Windham Little League's 12-under youth baseball team
seventh grader Chase Gagnon makes a catch during a game
against Cumberland North Yarmouth while on the mound
at Lowell Farm in Windham on Saturday, Sept. 30.
“I think hitting was good today and some fielding,” said Windham seventh grader Dylan Emmons. “We did the best we could.”

Emmons had three really strong hits against Cumberland North Yarmouth, two that were fielded and one that almost went over the fence.

In the bottom of the second inning, Windham seventh grader Chase Gagnon reached first base on a dropped third strike. He later scored and Cumberland North Yarmouth led 2-1.

Windham’s defense was powerful, with the team often ending innings with runners left on base. They also made several great plays and caught runners headed to bases.

In the fourth inning, Cumberland North Yarmouth scored several runs to take a commanding 8-1 lead.

In the top of the fifth inning, Windham pitcher and seventh grader Hunter Pulkkinen caught a hard-hit ball on a bounce and made the throw to first base with plenty of time. Windham sixth grader Caitlyn Halladay made a similar play and a great throw to first base.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Windham made a lot of progress in catching up to Cumberland North Yarmouth. Pulkkinen walked, and Halladay walked. Sixth grader Darius Bean and seventh grader Sam Cataldi walked; and Pulkkinen scored. Seventh grader Silas Clark then walked. Seventh grader Matthew Beaulieu reached first base when his pop fly was dropped. Bean scored; Emmons hit a long, long ball to center field that reached the warning track, bringing in two more runs.

Windham kept Cumberland North Yarmouth from scoring further, but they weren’t able to make up the deficit.

“Hitting went well,” said Gagnon. “Consistency in pitching needs improvement, but morale in the dugout is always positive. We did as good as we could, we tried.”

Windham 12-under fall baseball coach Bill Tom awarded the game ball to Emmons.

“Pitching has been really good, but wasn’t the best today, yet we were still in the game,” said Tom. “It’s been great how competitive the games have all been, it’s been a lot of fun, building confidence in the kids. We hit as a team better than we have been ... unfortunately the balls just went to where the defenders were. [Otherwise] it could have been a totally different game.”

According to Tom, younger players need to develop more so they can contribute at the bottom of the lineup, but limited practices during the fall baseball season make that difficult. The team has kept a positive atmosphere, and he has seen kids improving. <

Windham Middle School boys’ soccer falls to Lewiston

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Middle School seventh and eighth grade boys’ soccer teams played several tough games against Lewiston at home on Monday, Oct. 2 with Windham’s seventh grade boys’ team outplaying Lewiston in the second half, but coming up short, 4-2, and Windham’s eighth grade boys falling, 13-0.

Windham eighth grader Isaac Bernier gets and stays ahead
of his opponent during a boys' middle school soccer game
against Lewiston on Monday, Oct. 2.
Eighth Grade

“The kids worked hard and continued to work hard right up until the end of the game, despite the score” said Windham Middle School eighth grade boys’ soccer coach Matthew Shardlow. “We can’t control the score going into the half, but let’s try and use that motivation to play a better second half. The effort and the attitude are the only two things we can control; we try and focus on that, especially in these trying games.”

Windham began moving the ball well and worked to get and stay in front of the ball, but Lewiston defense was tough. Lewiston found the back of the net six times in the first half. Despite the Blue Devils lead, Windham’s offense kept at it. Lewiston defense made it tough for Windham to get many shots off, but Logan Kuusela and Liam Wade both fired at least one shot at Lewiston’s goalie.

“When we had possession, we’d scan and see where the next pass should be,” said Windham’s Isaac Bernier. “We had more people pressing the ball in the second half. We could improve on our technical ability, our first touch, receiving and in general being more athletic.”

Windham turned up the intensity in the second half, and their offense redirected Lewiston balls. Windham had more shots on goal and kept their effort up.

“Defensively, we need to be more aware of where out marks are,” said Shardlow. I’m trying to get guys to focus on defensive spacing and knowing where their marks are so we’re not giving up as many uncontested shots. We’ll keep working on it.”

Seventh Grade

Windham played much better in the second half and outscored Lewiston 2-1.

“We had great communication, and our defense was doing really good in the second half keeping space and getting the ball out of the middle,” said Jackson Drapeau, who had two goals in the second half. “We could have been more aggressive and not shied away from the ball.”

Windham began going hard after the ball, but Lewiston defense was tough. Lewiston offense had control of the field in the first half. Windham continued to work hard to be first to the ball. Lewiston led 3-0 at halftime.

Windham was the one in control during the second half. They moved the ball better while also getting out in front of it more than they had in the first half. Lincoln Davis had a powerhouse shot at goal that narrowly missed going in and bounced off the crossbar.

An indirect kick from Drapeau sailed right over the goalie’s head and into the net. Moments later Jackson Drapeau scored again.

According to Windham Middle School boys’ seventh grade soccer coach Rick Drapeau, Windham can work on passing with purpose, passing to teammates, not just kicking the ball as soon as you get it; spacing, communication, running through the ball and not turning their back.

“Our spacing is getting better,” said Coach Rick Drapeau. “We were a little intimidated by their size. We sit back and wait – we should be proactive and not wait. Windham is growing every day, every game they are getting better.” <