Friday, December 22, 2023

Windham indoor track and field on way to a great season

By Matt Pascarella

In their first meet of the season, Windham’s indoor track and field teams shattered expectations and did a fantastic job against Bonny Eagle, Deering and Falmouth on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.

Windham sophomore Sam Hutchinson clears the high jump
bar in an indoor track meet against Bonny Eagle, Falmouth,
and Deering on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the University of
Southern Maine in Gorham.
In the girls’ senior division, Windham finished second with a score of 39. In the junior division they finished first with a score of 44.

In the boys’ senior division, the boys finished third with a score of 31. In the boys’ junior division, they finished first with a score of 55.


Senior Khalysa Hammith broke her own school record when she jumped 16-5 feet in the long jump and came in second in the senior division.

Hammith also placed first in the 55-meter dash with a 7.75 second time.

“I did set goals for myself to run well,” said Hammith. “I wasn’t setting myself against anything; just go out there and do your best. I feel like having that mentality helped me achieve what I did today. For me and my entire team, the ability to not let our anxiety get the best of us [went well]. That’s what’s important about the first meet is learning to control your emotions and anxieties.”

Hammith said warmup and timing could use a little work.

Sophomore Nealie Morey jumped 5-0 and placed first in the high jump, junior division. Morey also finished first in the triple jump with a distance of 30-4.75.

Sophomore Addison Shanholtz rocketed a height of 5-6 in the pole vault and finished first.

In the long jump, freshman Caroline Cunningham finished first with a distance of 15-2.75.

Sophomore Myla Vercoe finished third in the same event with a 14-4.25 distance.

In the triple jump senior division junior Tayla Pelletier broke a school record and finished first with a distance of 36-9. She placed first and broke another school record in the 55-hurdles with a time of 9.15.

Also in the triple jump, junior Ava Gerrity finished fourth with a 33-6 distance.

“After weeks of phase one preparation training and working to coach-up the event skills needed to safely compete in it, our veteran players worked hard with our large number of new players to build up their confidence to compete,” said Windham girls’ indoor track coach Jeff Riddle. “We met our program goals for this first meet and now we know that our players are ready and excited for many more track and field opportunities together.”


In the high jump, junior division sophomore Nick Verrill placed first with a height of 5-8. Sophomore Sam Hutchinson placed third with a 5-2 height.

In the long jump, junior division sophomore Mason Arbour jumped 19-1.75 and finished first. Arbour finished first in the triple jump with a 36-8.75 distance.

In the long jump senior division junior Andrew Young finished second with a 17-6.25 distance.

In the shot put, senior Teddy Sanborn came in fourth with a throw of 35-0. Junior Aiden Heath finished 10th with a 29-3 throw.

In the 55-hurdles, senior RJ Biggs finished first with a time of 10.28.

In the 55-dash, senior division Marcus Tillery finished second with a 6.83 time.

Junior Andrew Young finished first in the boys’ 1-mile with a time of 5:01.14.

In the 800, senior division Young finished first with a 2:15.01 time.

“I really wanted to do better than I had in the past,” said Young. “I definitely didn’t expect to go out and do what I did; I’m happy with it; I had personal records in both events. I’m very impressed with everybody. Integrating what Coach Blood has taught us with past stuff we’ve learned [went well]. Everyone has been pushing each other and being great teammates; we just need to [keep] getting better.”

In the boys 400-dash sophomore Connor Witham finished second with a time of 1:01.92. He also finished fourth in the 200 with a 26.21 time.

“The meet was a huge success,” said Windham indoor track boys’ coach Paula Pock. “Almost all of our athletes beat their initial goals for the meet and the win certainly boosted their confidence. Overall, the team worked really hard to get ready for this meet. Athletes stepped up to try new events to make sure we had almost all the events covered and that was what helped us to start the season off with a win.” <

WHS swimmers make great strides against Cape Elizabeth

By Matt Pascarella

Windham High School’s swim team put forth a great effort against the defending state champions Cape Elizabeth during an early season meet at Saint Joseph’s College on Wednesday, Dec. 13. Windham girls lost 104-42 and Windham boys lost 106-18.

Windham senior Grace Theriault keeps pace and form during
a prep swim meet at Saint Joseph's College against Cape
Elizabeth on Wednesday, Dec.13.

“I think we all did really good, we all definitely tried our best,” said Windham senior Grace Theriault. “We’ve been working on starts and turns this week and it really showed today – everyone’s starts and turns have been really good. What went well was that everyone pushed themselves and I pushed myself too. A lot of people got really good times and Cape definitely helped push us to go really fast and it showed.”

Windham’s team of sophomore Martina Jefferson, senior Riley Small and juniors Sarah Inman and Diletta Galloni finished third in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2:32.42 minutes.

Windham junior Morgan Farley finished third in the 200 freestyle event in a time of 2:21.11. Theriault was right behind her with a 2:22.41 time.

Theriault finished third in the 100 breaststroke in a 1:26.09 time.

In the 50 freestyle Small finished fourth with a 34.70 second time. Galloni was fifth with a time of 37.87.

Farley finished third in the 100 butterfly in a time of 1:17.27.

Small finished second in the 500 freestyle with a 7:25.76 time.

Inman finished first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:13.73 and second in the 200-individual medley with a 2:34.72 time.


Junior Tanner Stresky finished third in the 200 freestyle with a time of 3:33.08.

“I think we did great, we set our goals before the meet, and we conquered them,” said senior Landon Buzulchuck. “We came in with the amount of confidence we had and did what we did. We ... didn’t focus on how good they were, we focused on what we could do as a team. As a whole team we need to work on getting our flip turns more constant, doing it every time and not every other time.”

Buzulchuck said flip turns cheering and confidence all went well. Competing against one of the top teams in the state shows them the competition they have in Maine; going against a top team early in the season can help out because they know who they’re going up against.

In the 50 freestyle event, Hammond finished fourth with a 26.90 time. Washburn was not far behind with a 30.64 time.

Senior Lukas Hammond also finished fourth in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:06.90.

Senior Joey Somma finished fourth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:38.51.

In the 400 relay, the team of Buzulchuck, freshman Mason Butterfield, freshman Sawyer Stone and sophomore Caden Valle came in second with a 5:39.30 time.

“In swimming, you can’t play defense against your opponent,” said Windham swim coach Peter Small. “All you can do is focus on what you do, so we try to instill that mindset. Across the board I’m hard pressed to think of somebody who didn’t achieve what we had hoped to achieve today for improvement and that’s all we can ask for. Some of the kids who don’t have as much experience we were looking for technique; body position – unbelievable. “It exceeded what I thought they’d be able to do while racing by keeping body position. We’ve come so far, and I couldn’t be more pleased with where we are.”

Small said technique needs work; everything from starts and turns to small twitches they’ve got to make in their arm positioning.

“Anytime that you elevate to the competition ... that drive and ability to compete is going to bring it out in you,” said Coach Small. <

Wolfpack wrestling squad earns double tournament wins

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Westbrook/Gray New-Gloucester Wolfpack wrestling team traveled to its first preseason meet at Morse High School in Bath in the Westlake Tournament against schools from all over the state on Saturday, Dec. 2 and it was a great trip.

Coaches congratulate Windham High junior
Ayden Cofone for winning his 100th prep
wrestling match. SUBMITTED PHOYO   
Windham/Westbrook/Gray-New Gloucester won with a score of 143. They are champions at the Westlake Tournament for the second year in a row.

Windham junior Ayden Cofone (120 weight class), Westbrook senior Gavin Tanner (175 weight class), and Windham senior Griffin Moreau (285 weight class) all won their weight classes.

Westbrook sophomore Ben Corriveau, Windham senior Chris Harvey, Windham junior CK Kennedy, Windham sophomore Junius Pope and Westbrook freshman Cole Tanner all placed.

On Saturday, Dec. 16 the Wolfpack traveled to Gardiner High School for the Tiger Invitational.

Not only did the Wolfpack win the tournament with a score of 177, but Windham’s Cofone earned his 100th career win.

“One hundred wins shows his dedication to the sport and his desire to show up each and every day ready to compete at a high level,” said Wolfpack coach John Nicholas. “This team title shows that the team is working hard every day and buying into our team first philosophy. We have been filling all the weights and we talk often about how doing that will lead to great things.”

Cofone (126 weight class), Harvey (150) and Tanner (175), all won their weight classes in the championship round.

In the consolation round, Windham junior Addison Leger, Westbrook senior Owen Pilsbury (132), Westbrook freshmen Sajjad Jumaah, Cole Tanner, Moreau and Pope all placed. <

Friday, December 15, 2023

Windham sinks Scarborough in boys’ varsity basketball

By Matt Pascarella

In just their second game of the season, the Windham High varsity boys’ basketball team held off Scarborough and secured a 49-41 win at home on Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Windham junior Creighty Dickson drives for a basket early
during a boys' varsity basketball game against Scarborough
on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at home.
“Scarborough is one of the top teams in the south,” said Windham varsity boys’ basketball coach Chad Pulkkinen. “They have really good size ... we knew it was going to be tough, we just had to continue to play our way and wear them down with our defense. I thought [Windham] guys stuck together pretty well; the first half was tight, the second half was even tighter. Our guys prevailed at the end by sticking together, doing things we do every day. Hats off to our team, but that’s a really good team that we beat, and they’re going to have a good year.”

Pulkkinen said Windham did a good job of being patient and waiting for great shots. The team tries to win as a unit. Windham wanted to use their quickness, skill, and decision-making to combat Scarborough’s size. Defense intensity was outstanding as was rebounding. As a team, he said Windham players care for and all play for each other.

It's early in the season but Pulkkinen and the team are working to close the gap on the things that need improvement while continuing to stick together is the biggest thing and in this game the effort was there.

Windham barely wasted seconds when they scored almost immediately into the first quarter. Intensity was high and Windham went after rebounds that added more points to the scoreboard. Windham sophomore AJ Moody hit a three-pointer, his first of three he connected on during the game.

Defense held Scarborough down early as Windham junior Creighty Dickson had a stellar block. Scarborough was unable to score more than seven points in the first quarter.

“We all brought the energy and got good possessions,” said Dickson. “We pushed the pace, we set the tone at the end, and we controlled the game. We got on the glass really well on the offensive side, our movement of the ball was really good, and we finished well. It’s a good win – we got good possessions at the end; we slowed them down and made [Scarborough] shoot tough shots.”

Dickson said finishing around the rim, transition defense and boxing out still need improvement though.

Early in the second quarter the game was tied at 10. This was a fast-paced, close game and midway through, Scarborough led, 23-22.

Early in the second half, Windham senior Quinton Lindsay sunk a three-pointer. The lead continued to go back and forth. Moody then sunk his second three-pointer and Windham led by four points after the third quarter. Windham’s defense held Scarborough to only seven points in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Windham broke open a tight game. Windham sophomore Tyrie James hit two three-pointers, and Moody hit his final three pointer as the Eagles pulled away from Scarborough and made it impossible for them to recover.

“We started off a little flat in the first ... half,” said James. “I feel like at halftime we turned it around; especially in the end the energy we had, with shots going in I think led to the win. We were making extra passes. They were a great shooting team, but I feel like we held them [score-wise] to under what they usually have, we did good rebounding, too.” <

WMS girls’ basketball teams showcase defense against Lewiston

By Matt Pascarella

Windham Middle School’s seventh and eighth grade girls’ basketball teams played several strong games against Lewiston on Thursday, Dec. 7 at home. Windham eighth graders staged a comeback by halftime to take the lead. Unfortunately, Lewiston edged ahead in the second half to win, 45-33. Windham seventh graders came out aggressive and never let up and defeated Lewiston, 49-29.

Windham seventh grader Carly Franzoni easily maneuvers
around her Lewiston opponent during a girls' basketball
game at home on Thursday, Dec. 7.
Eighth Grade

“Our shots weren’t falling,” said Windham eighth grade girls’ basketball coach Katie Franzoni. “We had some really, really good looks and [shots] just weren’t going down for us, unfortunately. I credit the girls for not giving up. It just wasn’t our night. Our team defense was something we’ve really been focusing on and getting on help side and not just focusing on our own player has been huge for us and trying to rebound a little bit better. We need to focus and make those easy ... shots that were there. We need to be in more pressure situations to make those shots.”

Lewiston took an early lead, but shots weren’t falling early for either team, and by the end of the first quarter, neither team had scored 10 points. Lewiston had several turnovers which added to their lead, but Windham fought hard.

Windham rebounded and slowly began to climb up the scoreboard. They hustled and were soon not far behind the Blue Devils. Windham had strong defense and pressured more. Shortly before the end of the first half, the game was tied at 16. A moment before the buzzer went off, Windham pulled ahead 17-16.

The game was tied at 19 early in the second half and remained close. Windham’s efforts were there. They fought hard for the ball, but Lewiston had a big lead as the game progressed. With time running out, the deficit was too much for Windham to make up.

“They were a really good team,” said Eliana Kostopoulos. “Our shots weren’t falling, and everyone was getting frustrated. We had good looks ... we had a couple good ... passes and everyone was working well on offense. They had a solid team; they knew what they were doing.”

Both Kostopoulos and teammate Jennifer Schwarz agreed that getting down on themselves may have contributed to the loss.

“We were doing good on communication,” said Schwarz. “Be sure to keep our heads high as a way to improve.

Seventh grade

The lead was Windham’s early on. They grabbed rebounds and kept the baskets coming. They moved the ball well, had nice defense and teamwork. Their offense could not be stopped.

“We talked and did really well on passing,” said Carly Franzoni. “We did a good job ... shooting and we hustled, and we are really close as a team, and that really helped with our defense.

Windham was hungry for the win and would not be stopped. They were quick to grab second chance opportunities.

Lewiston struggled with Windham defense. At the half the Lady Eagles led 31-16.

In the second half, Lewiston was slowly catching up, but Eagle offense remained strong. Windham’s Madisen Vallerie and Franzoni both hit three-pointers.

“Team communication and our mental game [need improvement],” said Peyton McLean.

By the end of the fourth quarter, Windham was way out in front and would not be caught.

“Big thing I say with basketball is defense wins games,” said Windham seventh grade girls’ basketball coach Darcey Gardiner. “I love how well we pass the ball offensively; I think we share really well. My point guards are able to see the floor, which really helps out. Boxing out [needs improvement]; we ... forget put your body on someone first then go get the ball.

While Gardiner is impressed with Windham’s help side defense, she thinks it will definitely be better when January rolls around. <

Friday, December 8, 2023

WHS competes in girls’ varsity basketball Sebago Lake Showdown Tournament

By Matt Pascarella

Before the start of the regular season on Friday, Dec. 8 when Windham will travel to face Lewiston, the WHS varsity girls’ basketball team played their first preseason game at home in the Sebago Lake Showdown Tournament against South Portland on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

Windham sophomore Marley Jarvais attempts a layup during
a preseason girls' basketball game against South Portland
as part of the Sebago Lake Showdown Tournament on
The games were the same number of minutes, just played in two 16-minute halves instead of four quarters. Windham worked hard right up until the final buzzer but fell to South Portland, 39-23.

“Three of our starting varsity players are out; I think we need the extra games as much as we can,” said Windham sophomore Marley Jarvais. “I think having three varsity players out, all of us being more supportive of each other is just going to help us way more as the season goes on especially in our game against Lewiston coming up. Our shooting 100 percent outside went well; we did a lot better in the second half with our passing and not trying to rush things as much. We’ve worked on zone ... I think we did a really good job, but it might need a little improvement with covering the middle. We did pretty good for [the team] being mostly non-varsity starters and no upper classmen.”

Windham began the game moving the ball well and communicated on the floor. Windham sophomore Kendra Eubanks put Windham on the scoreboard with a three-pointer.

Windham grabbed rebounds early, but many shots weren’t falling. South Portland was able to maintain a small lead in the first half. Eubanks sunk another three-pointer that was nothing but net.

Windham was slowly gaining on the Red Riots. Windham sophomore Addison Caiazzo sunk a three-pointer as Windham worked to close the gap before the first buzzer.

“We have to learn to just go at our own pace instead of speeding things up or seeing what the other team is trying to make us do,” said Caiazzo. “Our shooting was pretty good; we were able to hit shots when we needed to; our passes were pretty good and we’re really good at going to the basket. Confidence needs improvement; being able to play at that next level.”

Halfway through the game, South Portland led, 19-12.

Windham’s intensity remained strong in the second half; they were not going down without a fight. The Lady Eagles were not far off the lead and Windham’s effort never dwindled. They took several shots at the basket, but not every shot fell. Windham freshman Denali Momot hit a three-pointer early in the second half.

“I found it helpful [to have this extra time to play] because we’re missing a couple of our starters, so it’s definitely getting our bench some education ... more playing time on varsity and experience,” said Eubanks. “It helps build our stamina. We need to be confident and aggressive and use the ball well. We shot very well, passed the ball very well, looked ... everywhere before we passed the ball.”

According to Eubanks rebounding and pushing the ball and being smarter with the ball could use some work.

“We did some good things as a team,” said Windham varsity girls basketball coach Brody Artes. “We don’t want to be playing our best basketball right now. We want to kind of continue to grow and progress over the course of the season. I thought our second half ball movement and offense was much, much better. A couple kids hit some shots and really started to step up and do some good things for us overall. We got to take care of the ball a little bit better and value the ball a little bit more. We had some turnovers in the first half, we’ve got to limit those ... for sure. Defensively, we have just got to get after it and continue to work hard ... we got to make sure we contest all the shots, but then rebound when there are a lot of rebounds.”

Windham will meet Gorham in a home game on Dec. 19. <

Raymond basketball teams improving with each game

By Matt Pascarella

On Dec. 1, in their second game of the season, Raymond boys’ and girls’ basketball teams had two effort-filled games against Old Orchard Beach at Jordan- Small Middle School in Raymond.

Raymond seventh grader Silvia Roma passes to a teammate
on Friday, Dec. 1 in a girls basketball game against Old
Orchard Beach at Jordan-Small Middle School in Raymond.
The Raymond boys worked hard to turn the game around but lost, 47-36. The Raymond girls had quite a nailbiter that came down to the final seconds with Raymond holding onto a small lead. When the buzzer sounded, the girls fell, 30-29.


“I was really proud of the effort,” said Raymond boys’ basketball coach Andrew Wing. “We had a really good practice yesterday and everything we worked on I think we got better at – defense, getting back in transition, not giving up as many layups. The press was much better today, cleaner defense.”

Wing said even though defense was better today, it can still improve and on offense free throws need a little work.

Old Orchard Beach jumped out to an early lead.

Raymond moved the ball and had several shots at basket. Eighth grader Sean Lebel put Raymond on the scoreboard when he had a fast break and took the ball straight to the hoop.

Old Orchard Beach grabbed several rebounds and had a 15-8 lead after one quarter. JSMS would make a strong attempt to turn the game around.

Raymond excelled on defense; and eighth grader Liam Buckley had a nice block.

Lebel had another fast break and JSMS put a bunch of points on the scoreboard. It was 23-13, Old Orchard Beach at the half.

The JSMS defense intensified and soon they were eight points away from tying the game.

“We played a lot better than last game,” said Lebel, who scored 25 points. “We still got beat in transition a little bit, but we were able to clean up a lot of things, we didn’t have as many turnovers on offense. The way we were able to get back on defense and get turnovers [went well]; not forcing turnovers for us.”

Raymond grabbed rebounds and seventh grader Cameron Lawler hit a three-pointer. A short time later, they were within four points of tying the game. Then only two points separated the teams.

Unfortunately, Old Orchard Beach pulled away. Nine points separated the team. Raymond fought until the very end.

“We definitely scored more points than last game said Lawler. “We need to work on defense; we’ve been passing better and putting the ball up more.”


Raymond took the court aggressively. They communicated and although Old Orchard Beach snagged several turnovers and jumped to an early lead. Raymond wasn’t about to let that stand.

Eighth grader Brooklyn Roy put Raymond on the scoreboard. Raymond seventh grader Silvia Roma had a fast break and Raymond led by two after one quarter.

Raymond continued to get rebounds and the game was close. Raymond pulled ahead. They kept Old Orchard Beach virtually scoreless in the second quarter. It was 17-11, Raymond midway through.

The Raymond team wasted no time and scored early in the second half. The game got much closer and only two points separated the teams. Roma had back-to-back baskets as Raymond held onto the lead.

“We worked well as a team,” said Roma, who scored 12 points. “We really pulled together and worked hard and ... we did get a little tired towards the end and some of us were not hustling as much and not calling out who we had, so I think we could work on that.”

Roma was proud of how the team played.

With 33 seconds left one point separated the teams. Raymond worked hard to stay ahead, but Old Orchard Beach was able to edge ahead in the end.

“When we are up, it’s ok to recognize to slow things down, when we’re down then we got to go,” said Raymond girls’ basketball coach Deb Lebel. “They played great defense today, so much better than a week ago, they are improving in their help defense. They are really young, and the more practice they get, the better off we’ll be.” <

Friday, December 1, 2023

Trail Blazers ice hockey off to great start in preseason

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle’s Trail Blazers ice hockey team started the preseason off with a couple of strong games at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham on Friday, Nov. 24, facing Scarborough and Gorham.

Trail Blazers junior Phillip Trainor of Windham keeps his
eyes on the puck during a game against Gorham at the
University of Southern Maine on Friday, Nov. 24.
The Trail Blazers rallied from behind and got within one goal of tying the game with Scarborough but eventually fell, 5-4. The squad then overwhelmed Gorham, 6-3, after a barrage of goals in the third period made it impossible for the Rams to get ahead.

“They hustled, showed grit, and they played well,” said Trail Blazers coach Bobby Fothergill. “There was plenty of puck moving and they had a shooter’s mentality. You shoot more pucks; you score more goals, and the proof is in the pudding. We are really deep. We have really good talented forwards and we got guys who can shoot the puck. I thought their overall game was really good ... I thought the power plays were unbelievable, and we haven’t even practiced it; that needs to be a weapon for us. Every power play we had, we scored on, except one. Shoot the puck more, pucks go in.

Fothergill told the team to go out there, relax, have fun, and make plays – scoring goals is fun and they did it.


The Trail Blazers moved the puck as well as fought for it in the first period. They had several shots at goal. With six minutes left in the period, Bonny Eagle Trail Blazers senior Lucas Laforest scored. After one period, Scarborough led, 3-1.

In the second period Trail Blazers were quick to the puck, continued shots on goal and fought hard to turn this game around. The Trail Blazers’ offense was tough, but so was Scarborough defense. After two periods, Scarborough remained on top, 5-2.

Laforest scored early in the third period. Windham Trail Blazers junior Ben Shaw fired from close range and the Trail Blazers were one goal away from a tie game. Trail Blazers defense kept Scarborough scoreless in the third period but couldn’t get ahead.

“I think we had a rough start,” said Trail Blazers Bonny Eagle sophomore Mason Caron. “We had some good plays and that third period we came out buzzing. We came out quick, moving our feet and passing the puck, we just couldn’t get enough scoring chances, but we played hard all the way to the end. We moved the puck well, got a lot of shots on net, had good “D” zone. [If we] played the body a little bit more and not let Scarborough skate it in all the way, we may have been able to reverse the score.”


The Trail Blazers passed well and tied the game 1-1 after Trail Blazers Bonny Eagle freshman Colby Bailey scored. The Trail Blazers had several shots at goal and never let up. Gorham led 2-1 after one period.

Both teams prevented their opponent from scoring in the second period.

In the third period, the Trail Blazers kicked it up several notches when Bonny Eagle Trail Blazers senior Aiden Toy scored in the first 15 seconds. A very, very short time later Toy scored again, and Trail Blazers had the lead. Windham Trail Blazers senior Tobias Perkins scored.

Windham Trail Blazers junior Phillip Trainor added to their lead when he shot the puck in after it slipped through the goalie’s legs. Windham Trail Blazers freshman Trevor Baillargeon capped off the game when he scored.

“The motivation with being held off the board [contributed to the win],” said Trainor. It was a sluggish first two periods and we got our legs in the third. We started firing and pucks went in the net. We felt like we couldn’t score on them, and we started shooting and pucks went in. We moved the puck pretty well and played physical.” <

Windham grad Beem hopes hard work helps her overcome injuries

By Matt Pascarella

Windham’s Riley Beem is currently a junior playing for the lacrosse team at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire majoring in health science. She plans to apply to the school’s doctorate physical therapy program.

Franklin Pierce University junior and Windham High
School graduate Riley Beem moves around a
defender during a collegiate lacrosse game at
Southern New Hampshire University in 2022.
Beem wants to become a physical therapist and is very interested in working in orthopedics or alongside athletes to help them through injury rehabilitation. When she attended Windham High School, Beem, WHS Class of 2020, was a four-sport star athlete and as a high school sophomore, she competed in the U.S. Lacrosse Women’s National Tournament in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Lacrosse was such a positive experience for me at a young age because I didn’t feel as much pressure to go out on the field and perform to a certain level expected by coaches,” said Beem. “It was a learning experience for everyone involved. The more I was involved in lacrosse, the more the sport grew and evolved, which made me love the sport even more.”

She was fortunate to start on a full team of seniors at Franklin Pierce University. Unfortunately, three games into her freshman year, she dislocated her elbow, which took her out for the entire season. Beem had to learn to adapt and fulfill a role on a team despite not being able to play.

Returning for her sophomore year, she was excited to get back on the lacrosse field. In October 2022, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a fall ball tournament. She was unable to play for her entire sophomore season and needed knee surgery and nine months of intense rehabilitation.

“Riley is a huge asset to our team,” said Sammi Gallant, her teammate and a Franklin Pierce University graduate student. “Her skills are high level, and it is shown in how she competes on the field. Even with her not being able to play the last two years, she has become a leader in this program. Everyone looks up to her and respects everything she has to say. She is always ... available for advice when anyone needs it. Riley is the epitome of a great teammate, and I am so excited to be on the field with her this year.”

Beem said she’s learned in her recovery process for her ACL that you have to take things one day at a time and celebrate the small victories; whether it was a few more degrees bending her knee or learning to run again. It was necessary to celebrate the small accomplishments because recovery takes longer than you want it to.

“Although being injured is something I would never wish on anyone, it taught me so much about myself as a person and a player,” said Beem. “I had to adapt and find ways to make valuable contributions to my team from the sideline.”

It was very important to her to still be able to contribute and have a positive impact on her team. Beem learned that being on the sideline helped to improve her game awareness and IQ. She provided her perspective to her team on what she saw from the sideline, giving advice and feedback about what could be fixed or improved on.

“I fortunately have been able to watch Riley play since her freshman year on campus,” said Franklin Pierce University interim head women’s lacrosse coach Caroline Lounsbury. “Her work ethic and competitiveness are both something that shows consistently every day she is on the field, and that energy is contagious to her teammates. Even while going through the recovery process for both injuries each year, she selflessly has shown up for her teammates from the sideline. She has been able to see the game from a different perspective ... this has tremendously helped not only her game, but her teammates as well.”

For Beem, being part of athletics at Windham taught her that nothing is handed to you. A strong work ethic and coachability allowed her to succeed on the field and in the classroom. She said something she learned from playing on different Windham teams was if you want something you’re going to have to work for it; that might mean putting in more outside time and energy than others.

Her advice to high school athletes who want to play collegiately is to believe in yourself and your capabilities. Start looking at schools and reaching out to coaches early because it’s better to have more options.

When not on the field, Beem’s spare time goes toward homework as her grades are very important to her. She also likes to relax with her friends, run, play basketball or pickleball. She also attends a lot of Franklin Pierce University sporting events. <