Friday, January 26, 2024

Champion quarter horse rider proud of achievements

By Matt Pascarella

Windham Christian Academy sixth grader Elsa Pearson is a very active athlete and she’s been riding horses since before she can remember. On Jan. 13 at the Silver Heels Riding Club Show Series in New Hampshire, Pearson received several awards to celebrate the total points she earned for a series of six quarter horse shows that she competed in during 2023.

Windham sixth grader Elsa  Pearson takes a
moment with her quarter horse Sugar in
New Hampshire in 2023.
Besides riding, Pearson plays soccer and basketball and regularly volunteers at the food pantry in Casco. She cares for her quarter horse, Sugar, 365 days a year, often in subzero temperatures.

“I have been riding since before I was born,” said Pearson. “I’ve never known a day without a horse to care for; I love them, it’s a part of me. The horses and the lifestyle make me want to do this for the rest of my life. I plan to go to college to be an equine veterinarian.”

Of the top 10 riders in the Silver Heels Riding Club, Pearson was ranked first this year – which included adults and professionals of all levels. She showed in at least 16 classes at each show in three different rings, all in different divisions including pattern and obstacle classes and many different styles of riding. She earned a total of 721 points for the season; the highest number of points for the 2023 season.

Dedication and hard work manifests in many aspects of Elsa Pearson’s life, especially outside the ring. She has maintained the highest academic honors since First Grade and plays the trumpet in the school band.

Pearson says that she is very proud of her achievements and her family who helped her get here. She set a goal last year and did all she needed to get there but said that she could not have done it without her horse, Sugar.

Her mother, Meghan Pearson, began riding at the age of 9 and helps Elsa train Sugar. When Meghan Pearson was pregnant with Elsa, she was riding. Now, along with being responsible for the horse’s daily care and vetting, Elsa rides five days a week.

“Before she could even sit on her own, she was in the barn in a stroller or being held in the saddle,” said Meghan Pearson. “Sugar is a very high level and technical horse, a horse that needs clear, calm, and fair leadership. She has been shown all over the country and knows her job. She is a very serious-type horse, but she and Elsa have a strong and steadfast bond. I cannot wait to see what they do.”

Family friend and fellow rider Tammy Marchand is the Silver Heels Riding Club president where Elsa Pearson shows Sugar. Marchand began taking riding lessons 12 years ago and that’s where she first met Meghan Pearson. They rode at the same barn and on occasion rode at the same time. As a family oriented club, educating youth by example is a major component to their mission.

In 2019, Marchand became a part of Elsa Pearson’s show family and cheering team. They both competed together in their respective divisions.

“I had the pleasure of watching Elsa at each of our five shows this year. She is one determined and ambitious young lady,” said Marchand. “During the season I have witnessed the growth in Elsa’s riding and horsemanship. Among other things, showing has taught Elsa sportsmanship. Elsa could always be found on the sideline watching and cheering on the other riders. She learned how to manage her time in between classes and being ready for her next class. She learned humility when things didn’t go as planned. All these experiences helped her gain so much confidence in herself and her riding. She learned that hard work, dedication, and perseverance do pay off. Elsa is an amazing young lady with an amazing family and support system. Watching her grow into the horsewoman she is today has been a great privilege.”

Meghan Pearson said she is most proud of her daughter’s moral compass and character. Elsa Pearson works very hard in school, on the court or field, as well as in the ring, and is a wonderfully kind, helpful, loving, and supportive person. There aren’t many kids that show the grit she does to make her dreams come true and she considers herself incredibly lucky to be her mom.

Elsa Pearson rides with precision and finesse of a much more seasoned rider and said that she is always open to learning and is looking forward to turning it up a gear as she and Sugar set their sights on the New York Reining Horse Circuits for 2024.

“I like getting to know my horse better each day,” said Elsa Pearson. “I like completing challenges with them, things I never could do without them. A horse needs to be happy and healthy to be able to compete. You have to put in a lot of time practicing. I try to set goals each year that are reasonable. I am grateful to be able to compete and be successful.” <

Windham varsity girls’ basketball starts strong, but falls to Oxford Hills

By Matt Pascarella

Coming off an away win against Edward Little the night before, Windham took the court at home on Saturday, Jan. 20 against Oxford Hills where Windham started strong, but lost some of their strength and were quickly overtaken by the Vikings. The game was a real back and forth early on, until Oxford Hills pulled away in the second half and got a 41-23 win.

Windham senior Mallory Muse takes a shot from just outside 
the three-point line against Oxford Hills at Windham High
School on Saturday, Jan. 20.
Windham began the game with a three-pointer from sophomore Marley Jarvais. They rebounded well and held onto the lead in the first quarter.

Oxford Hills snagged several turnovers and closed the gap. The game was tied at 10. Windham hustled hard after the ball. It remained close for much of the first half.

“When we were communicating ... working together and slowing things down that really helped us,” said Windham senior Mallory Muse. We were all kind of tired and ... they’re a really good team but I do think when we see them again, we’ll do better. Having more time to prepare [would have turned this game around] and put our heads more into the game. When we came out in the third quarter it wasn’t our best performance, we were rushing a little bit.”

Oxford Hills pulled ahead. Windham defense kept them from advancing too much. At the half, Oxford Hills led, 20-13.

“It was a battle because we played a game yesterday,” said Windham junior Stella Jarvais. “We got back late and had a lot of mental mistakes with passing and being sure of what we were doing, being organized and that didn’t help. When we were organized and communicated, we had a lot of good looks at the basket. When we shot, we had a lot of good rebounds, when we just slow down we tend to do better. We weren’t at our best, but if we communicated and slowed things down, we would have been able to keep that lead and if we made adjustments earlier [on Oxford Hills] we would have been closer into this game than we were.”

In the second half, Windham shots weren’t falling as much, and Oxford Hills held onto the lead. Windham had good defense, but it wasn’t enough to flip the score. Windham sophomore Brianna Duarte hit a three-pointer. Windham worked to get closer to Oxford Hills’ lead.

“As a team I think we need to improve on communicating and keeping our heads up,” said Duarte. “When we make a mental mistake, it’s very hard to get back into the game and fix what we need to do. Nearing the end, I think our heads dropped a little bit because we saw that they kept scoring and we kept giving up rebounds ...and the ball. We tried staying into it, but it was very hard.

We could have made adjustments to our defense where we stopped them a little bit more because they weren’t hitting their shots in the first half.”

Windham moved the ball well in the fourth quarter, but Oxford Hills had a significant lead. Windham kept fighting. Windham sophomore Kendra Eubanks got a layup in the final seconds to close the gap a tiny bit more.

We had a good start,” said Windham varsity girls’ basketball coach Brody Artes. “We came out and had some energy in the first quarter. We defended well, rebounded well, and scored some baskets early. We got tired quick as a result of playing back-to-back for sure and Oxford Hills has a good player that took over the game midway through that second quarter. I was happy with [Windham’s] effort early on; I know the kids are tired – we just got to keep working hard to get better every day. We got to handle pressure a little bit better ... we threw the ball away quite a bit and had a lot of turnovers, we got to to value the ball a little bit more and take care of it a little bit more and it’ll put us in much better spots.” <

Friday, January 19, 2024

Wolfpack wrestling team earns back-to-back wins in meets against Deering and Scarborough

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham/Gray New-Gloucester/Westbrook varsity Wolfpack wrestling team showed they are gearing up and ready as they head toward the postseason during meets against Deering and Scarborough/Gorham on Wednesday, Jan. 10 at Deering in Portland. The Wolfpack ousted both teams with big wins, beating Deering 70-12, and Scarborough/Gorham 72-12.

Wolfpack wrestler Christian Harvey of Windham works to
flip his opponent to his back on Wednesday, Jan. 10 with
Scarborough/Gorham at Deering High School in Portland.
“I thought overall the team wrestled great,” said Wolfpack coach John Nicholas. “Everyone seemed to come together today and wrestled hard; they were really cheering each other on. They really pulled together and looked tough ... we’ll use this as a springboard headed into the playoffs. I thought a lot of the pinning combinations they’ve been working on in practice they put to work. We got a lot of pins, we scored a lot of team points with those, so it was good to see what we’ve been working on in practice they’re using out there on the mat. We really got to ramp up the conditioning in practice and I think if they do that with the technique they’ve been using, we’ll be pretty strong come regionals.”


In the 157-weight class, Westbrook senior Tyler Worcester won and Windham junior CK Kennedy won his match when he pinned his opponent in the first round.

Westbrook senior Gavin Tanner kept his opponent held to the mat in the 175-weight class and worked to flip him to his back. Tanner did not give up and won his match 12-0.

“We’ve wrestled Deering before, and we’ve beat them before, so I’d say we were expecting to win for sure,” said Tanner. “We hadn’t faced Scarborough/Gorham yet, but we were expecting to do the same thing, just come in and wrestle how we wrestle. I wrestled good on top, kept them down pretty good, got them to move back a couple times so that went well for me. [As a team,] we were all cheering each other on really well, fighting off our backs and working really hard to win every single match. We have a lot of young people on the team, and I think we have a lot of maturing to do and I think we ... can all get better. Today went really well, we were wrestling some teams that weren’t as good as us, it shows us where we can improve and [what] we can work on.”

Senior and Windham wrestler Griffin Moreau worked to flip his opponent in the 285-weight class and pinned him in two rounds.

In the 123-weight class Westbrook sophomore Ben Corriveau kept his opponent to the mat and pinned him.

Coach Nicholas said Corriveau’s wrestling looked good.

Windham junior Ayden Cofone quickly drove his opponent to the mat and got the pin in the 126-weight class.

In the 132-weight class, Westbrook senior Owen Pilsbury stayed with his opponent, held them to the mat and won his match.


Worcester won in the 157-weight class against Scarborough/Gorham, as did Kennedy in the 165-weight class and Tanner in the 170- weight class.

Moreau pressured his opponent, held him to the mat and pinned him for the win in the 285-weight class. According to Coach Nicholas, Moreau has been looking strong all season.

In the 113-weight class, Windham junior Addison Leger won, and Windham freshman Amelia Brickel won in the 120-weight class.

Corriveau worked to flip his opponent. His opponent stood up but was taken right back to the mat. Corriveau pulled his opponent’s arms from the mat and pinned him.

“I’ve been not feeling so good with my elbow,” said Corriveau. “I was looking to keep it chill, and not overdo myself. I got two pins and two more wins to go toward my 100 wins. I got two good cradles in on my opponents. [opponents put leg up and able to wrap my arms around their leg and their head and tip them onto their back]. The team is good at rooting each other on and keeping each other positive. We’re a really strong team and family. We need to work as a whole team instead of ... individually.”

Pilsbury pinned his opponent.

In the 144-weight class, Windham senior Christian Harvey has been looking solid all season. He brought his opponent to the mat, held him there; he made it very hard for him to get up. Harvey got the win. <

Windham progresses nicely in early season ski meet

By Matt Pascarella

In their first giant slalom (GS) meet of the season and their second meet altogether, Windham High School’s alpine ski team hit the slopes on Monday, Jan. 15 at Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton against Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth, York, Traip, Edward Little and Westbrook. Windham girls finished in fourth place with a score of 79. The boys also finished fourth with a score of 88.

Windham sophomore Tucker Roy digs the edges of his skis
into the snow during his first race of the giant slalom course 
at Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton in a meet against
several schools from Southern Maine on Monday, Jan. 15.
“The racers wholeheartedly supported each other on the course,” said Windham High School’s alpine ski coach Christine Fredette. “There is a lot of camaraderie on the team and even though they compete individually, they know that their team is 100 percent behind them. We are building our fundamentals, many of the racers need help learning how to care for their race equipment and need to build their skills base to be more successful on the course. We will work on the fundamentals for the rest of the season. We are already seeing improvement, and hope that the team's skills base continues to improve.”


Senior Lilly McLean finished 12th overall and first for Windham with a combined two-run time of 1:14.44 minutes.

Right behind her was freshman Maya Dries who finished 13th overall and second for Windham with a combined time of 1:15.55.

“I think the conditions were really good, especially in the first run,” said Dries. “The course was set pretty nicely and coming up the headwall was good conditions. The course wasn’t breaking away too much considering it’s all been man-made snow. I thought I did pretty good; I’m a freshman and I was a little bit scared because the courses are much longer than they have been in years past. I was definitely nervous but happy about ... the race.”

Dries thought team encouragement went well but thinks the more the team gets out on the snow, the better they’ll do as the season progresses. Also getting lower and using their downhill edge a lot more needs some practice.

Junior Kolet Chudy finished third for Windham and 27th overall with a combined time of 1:23.93.

Sophomore Maddy Cook finished fourth for Windham with a combined time of 1:27.28 and 28th overall.

Junior Katelyn Cotter finished fifth for Windham with a combined time of 1:31.68.

Sophomore Ella Washburn finished sixth for Windham with a combined time of 1:33.55.

In her first alpine ski race ever, junior Nichole Allegra finished seventh for Windham with a combined time of 2:02.14.

“The second time the trail was icy,” said Allegra. “I was nervous in the beginning, but during the second race it was better. The first run was good; the support of the team [went well]. I would like to go faster [in future races].”


Sophomore Tucker Roy finished first for the team and 14th overall with a combined time of 1:10.38.

“For our first giant slalom race we haven’t had any practice,” said Roy. “Our team really went out – we’ve been working with chemistry together ... everyone did really well. The course felt really good, it was really firm, so everyone was able to get a good edge and helped ... both our runs. I think everyone had really good outside ski pressure, rolling their ankles, really driving toward the gates – getting wide. I think if we practice some more on the courses ... we could really get stronger and work better toward our next race.”

Junior Preston Stretch was second for Windham and 20th overall with a combined time of 1:15.90.

Sophomore Finn Jorgensen was third for Windham and 25th overall with a combined time of 1:25.10.

Fourth for Windham was sophomore Nick Davenport with a combined time of 1:32.56.

Not far behind Davenport, was freshman Bryce Jarvais who finished fifth for Windham with a combined time of 1:37.02.

“As a team, we performed really well together,” said Stretch. “The course was nice and easy, and it was a good start to the season. It was really good snow, really firm snow, easy to ski on, easy to carve. I thought it was great. I think we need to work on our different skiing disciplines and our different styles of skiing and ... ski more to improve. It was a success because it was our first GS race, we all had great improvement, and we all got a feel for the snow; got a feel for what we’re doing this season, and we know how to progress now.” <

Sebago Trout Unlimited: Champions of Watershed Conservation and Coldwater Fisheries

By Lou Zambello
Special to The Windham Eagle

In the tranquil corners of Southwest Maine, a dedicated group of individuals is making a difference in the world of conservation and angling. The Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited, a non-profit organization with a passion for preserving coldwater fisheries and promoting sustainable angling practices, is making an impact in the region.

Sebago Trout Unlimited is sponsoring an
ice fishing demonstration on Chaffin Pond at
Donnabeth Lipmann Park in Windham on
Feb. 3. Anyone interested in learning about
ice fishing can stop by and try their luck.
Founded on the principles of conservation, education, and community engagement, the Sebago Chapter has been instrumental in the protection and restoration of local watersheds, particularly those crucial for the survival of native trout populations. With over 500 members, this dynamic organization has become a hub for anglers and nature enthusiasts alike, working tirelessly to ensure the preservation of aquatic ecosystems for future generations.

One of the hallmark initiatives of the Sebago Chapter is its commitment to habitat restoration. Through strategic partnerships with environmental agencies and local authorities, the organization actively engages in projects to improve and rehabilitate critical habitats for trout and other native fish species. This includes pond rehabilitation, streambank stabilization, fish population studies, and removing barriers that impede fish migration.

One of the current projects includes removing the remnants of Edes Falls Dam to improve the passage of the Crooked River’s native landlocked salmon. Another is advocating for the protection of a wild brook trout population in Red Brook in South Portland.

Education plays a pivotal role in the Sebago Chapter's mission. The organization regularly conducts workshops, seminars, and outreach programs to raise awareness about the importance of coldwater fisheries and the delicate balance required to maintain healthy ecosystems. From fly-fishing clinics for beginners to in-depth discussions on watershed management, the Sebago Chapter ensures that its members and the local community are well-informed stewards of the environment.

Last fall, this organization organized a river clean up of the Mousam River in Kennebunk and offered educational presentations about the river. On Feb. 3, they are sponsoring an ice-fishing demonstration on Chaffin Pond at Lipmann Park in Windham. Anyone interested in learning about ice-fishing can stop by and try their luck. See communication links below.

The chapter also places a strong emphasis on engaging youth in conservation efforts. Through collaborations with local schools and youth organizations, they provide educational programs that inspire the next generation of environmental advocates. From streamside field trips to hands-on activities that highlight the interconnectedness of ecosystems, the Sebago Chapter is nurturing a sense of responsibility and appreciation for nature among young minds. Contact Sebago TU if you would like them to connect with your organization.

Angling excellence is another cornerstone of the Sebago Chapter's activities. Recognizing that responsible angling is key to preserving fisheries, the organization hosts regular fishing outings that promote ethical angling practices. They encourage catch-and-release techniques, advocate for proper fish handling, and emphasize the importance of respecting fishing regulations to maintain healthy fish populations.

Periodically, throughout the year, the chapter invites fly-fishing experts to share their knowledge of local waters through presentations or on-river instruction.

The Sebago Chapter also actively participates in policy advocacy at the local and state levels. Through collaboration with government agencies, they work to influence policies that support sustainable fisheries management and conservation efforts. Whether addressing water quality concerns, advocating for stricter regulations on invasive species, or pushing for the protection of critical habitats, the chapter takes a proactive stance in shaping the future of fisheries in the Sebago Lake region.

In addition to their conservation and educational initiatives, the Sebago Chapter fosters a strong sense of community among its members. Regular meetings, social events, and volunteer opportunities create a supportive network of like-minded individuals who share a passion for coldwater fisheries and environmental stewardship.

Board Member Matt Streeter summarizes his long experience with the organization by saying, “Sebago TU has something for everybody throughout the year. My interest is in on-the-ground conservation projects like dam removals and fish-passage culvert replacements. But we have activities for people who love to tie flies, learn about river ecology, or just explore local fly-fishing rivers, not to mention youth programs like Maine Trout Camp.

As the Sebago Chapter of Trout Unlimited continues to grow and evolve, it welcomes new members, more attendees to our events, (membership not required) and increased donations to support our initiatives. Go to to learn more about activities, programs, how to join, and donate. Follow Sebago TU on Instagram and Facebook @sebagotu

Friday, January 12, 2024

WHS varsity boys’ basketball keep win streak alive by beating Portland

By Matt Pascarella

In a fast-paced game where the score was tight, Windham’s varsity boys’ basketball team took the lead against Portland at halftime and never let it go, winning its eighth consecutive game and remaining undefeated with a 52-47 win at home on Jan. 6.

Windham sophomore Tyrie James is well ahead of his
Portland opponents as he makes his way toward the basket
during a boys' varsity basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 6
at Windham High School.
“We had home court advantage [against Portland], said Windham sophomore AJ Moody. “We had our teammates, our family ... our coaches – probably the best coaches in the league, we have encouragement all over this team. It was intense, it was emotional, it was physical. We came out composed and that’s how we pulled it off; our offense went very well, and how we moved the ball at the end, how we connected on free throws – rebounding was a big one, boxing out.”

This was a high-pressure game from the very beginning. Windham had stellar offense and defense and took the lead early. They worked the entire game as a cohesive unit.

Portland tied the game and took the lead, despite Windham junior Creighty Dickson’s three-point buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter.

Moody hit a three-pointer, his first of four. So did Windham sophomore Tyrie James. This game was very, very close. Windham rebounded and snagged every opportunity to increase their lead.

Moody hit another three-pointer and tied the game at 24. James hit another three-pointer.

Windham led 30-26 midway through. They would not give up the lead for the remainder of the game.

“The whole team made extra passes, it’s easy to get open shots,” said James. “Our energy was good; in the fourth quarter I think we settled down and our shots were falling too – we had momentum. We kept up the intensity, played defense, hit our shots. Everything went well, it was just a good game overall – everyone contributed.”

The pressure was on in the second half. There was no lack of intensity from anyone on the team. They continued rebounding. Windham senior Erik Bowen sunk a three-pointer.

But Portland was not far from the lead.

Moody hit two more three-pointers. Windham defense held Portland back. The Eagles had a 10-point lead toward the end of the third quarter.

“They just attack every day,” said Windham boys’ varsity coach Chad Pulkkinen. “They come and work every single day, they’re coachable, they listen and they’re hungry; they’re not satisfied. We talk about it all the time – just one game at a time, one day at a time, we try to win each day. The teammates that these guys are allows us to be super connected; unselfish play and they trust one another. I’m proud of them. We know Portland is an unbelievable team ... they have so much talent on that team and the whole league is tough, so we don’t overlook anybody. I love to see [Windham’s] fight and their hunger. Our senior leadership is extremely mature and extremely experienced. They understand that we got to come in and prove ourselves in practice; they understand they got to have each other’s back on and off the court. I’m sure [Windham’s record] is nice and they celebrate it, but then we get right back to work. It’s impressive.”

Coach Pulkkinen said being patient went well. Understanding what a great shot is, understanding situations, how they defend certain people along with the basics and fundamentals of the game still need work.

In the fourth quarter, Portland caught up more. Windham was too fast and too accurate with their shooting for the Bulldogs to gain much of an advantage.

Less than eight seconds left, and Windham’s lead expanded. Senior Blake McPherson helped widen that lead. Senior Quinton Lindsay sunk a couple foul shots.

Windham gained possession and the clock ran out.

“We stayed together, kept our emotions in check,” said Bowen. "[We] used the energy of the environment to our advantage. Every day we come in and stay hungry, we don’t worry about our record, we just focus on the next game, and everybody gives their all.”

Bowen said moving the ball, rebounding, getting good shots, making [Portland] take tough shots on defense all led to success. They got to keep working to get better shots, play stronger defense, rebound the ball, and get back on offense. <

Windham High School swimmers show improvement against Scarborough

By Matt Pascarella

Halfway through the season and in the first meet of 2024, the Windham High School swim team is making steady improvement and showed it during a meet against Scarborough on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at Saint Joseph’s College. The Windham girls defeated the Red Storm, 79-72, and the Windham boys fell, 125-24.

Windham junior Morgan Farley keeps pace as she competes
against Scarborough during a swimming meet on Wednesday,
Jan. 3 at Saint Joseph's College.
“The team’s been working really hard,” said Windham swim coach Peter Small. “The technical aspects we wanted to kick in have really kicked in and a lot of that is they have been working really hard. We’re seeing acceleration under water, we’re seeing folks grabbing the water better, we’re seeing strokes that are longer, we’re seeing streamlines off the wall that are just better. All those technical things we were hoping would kick right in have kicked in for a lot of these kids. I just stood back in awe at a lot of our races today how well things are kicking in.”


In the 50-yard freestyle junior Morgan Farley finished first with a 28.26 second time. She finished second in the 500 with a 7:05.56 time.

“My expectation was to put my all into my races and do the best I can even if my times weren’t my best times,” said Farley. “Coach has taught me a lot about worrying about technique instead of my time and I think that’s really helpful. The 50 freestyle went really well, because I only took one breath which was my goal and I thought that my technique was really good; I loved my time, it was the best time that I got. We had very good team spirit – it’s really helpful in general.”

Farley said she could work on pacing in her 500 and as a team, they need to change that mindset from “I can’t” to “I can.”

In the 200 individual medley, junior Sarah Inman finished first with a 2:30.29 time. Inman finished first in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:21.62.

Senior Grace Theriault finished with a 1:05.12 time in first place in the 100 freestyle. Theriault finished second in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:21.55.

In the 200-freestyle seniors Riley Small finished fourth and Mackenzie Gaudette finished fifth. Small had a time of 2:41.45 and Gaudette had a 3:14.11 time.

Small finished third in the 100-freestyle with a 1:16.92 time.


In the 500-freestyle, freshman Mason Butterfield finished second with an 8:01.30 time. He also finished third in the 200 with a time of 2:49.50.

In the 100, senior Landon Buzulchuck finished fourth with a 1:09.68 time. Behind him was sophomore Wyatt Washburn in fifth place with a 1:11.89 time and senior Joey Somma with a time of 1:17.21 in sixth place.

Washburn finished third in the 50 with a 29.10 time. Buzulchuck was fourth with a time of 29.61 and Somma finished fifth with a 29.80 time.

“Coming in we were not worrying about the other team,” said Washburn. “We’d just do the best that we could and focus on ourselves and give it all that we got. We really improved from last meet. Positivity [went well]; flip turns [need work].”

In the 100 backstroke freshman Sawyer Stone finished third with a 1:47.34 time. Sophomore Caden Valle came in fifth with a time of 1:51.06. Junior David Daignault finished with a 1:58.55 time in sixth place.

In the 400 relay, Windham came in third with a time of 5:13.58.

“Our kids raced,” said Coach Small. “Each week we talk about what specifically we want to do and for us today it was this idea of acceleration under water. Kids responded really well. It was fun to see.”

Small said he thinks they need to swim downhill more and while the acceleration was better, there’s still room to improve. They still need to see that thrust at the tail end of each one of their strokes. <

Friday, January 5, 2024

Trail Blazers varsity hockey forces overtime, defeats Gorham

By Matt Pascarella

After a scoreless first period against Gorham at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham on Saturday, Dec. 30, the Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle Trail Blazers hockey team came back from a 2-0 deficit to end the second period with a 3-3 tie game.

Trail Blazers junior Shaun Traina of Windham retains the
puck as he skates around Gorham defenders during an
ice hockey game on Saturday, Dec. 30 at the University
of Southern Maine in Gorham.
The Trail Blazers forced overtime after they ended the third period with a 5-5 tie. Less than two minutes into overtime Windham junior Shaun Traina found the back of the net and gave the Trail Blazers a well-earned 6-5 victory.

“No one gave up on the ice tonight,” said Traina. “Everyone did their job ... we’re looking to improve our record; I feel like we got off to a slow start. We never gave up and kept pushing. We outshot them; we got pucks to the net. I think defensively we could have done a better job stopping Gorham – there’s no reason they should be getting five goals.”

Although the first period was scoreless, the Trail Blazers took shot after shot on Gorham’s goal and at the end of the period had matched the Rams shot-for-shot on goal.

Gorham jumped to a 2-0 lead within the first five minutes of the second period.

This only made the Trail Blazers fight harder. Windham junior Ben Shaw scored, assisted by Windham junior Philip Traina. Then Philip Traina scored, assisted by Bonny Eagle senior Aiden Toy and Shaun Traina.

“After they scored that first [goal] ... I don’t think anyone was happy,” said Shaw. “I was told to go out there and make something happen; it wasn’t a nice goal, but a goal is a goal. I think we were mad [after Gorham jumped to a 2-0 lead], it was fuel for us and helped get us going and put some in the net.”

Gorham scored on a penalty shot.

With less than five minutes in the second period, Shaun Traina scored, assisted by Philip Traina and Windham junior Sam Foley. The game was tied 3-3 after two periods.

The Trail Blazers were going for the win when they took the ice in the third period. Gorham was up by one goal. With 2:38 left in the period, Windham junior Cole Heanssler scored, assisted by Bonny Eagle sophomore Colby Haskell. The game was tied 4-4. One minute was left in play. Gorham scored with 40 seconds left. Then, with 22 seconds remaining Philip Traina fired the puck between the posts, assisted by Foley and Toy and the teams were headed into overtime.

“I was feeling it in warmups,” said Philip Traina. “I was willing stuff to happen, and they started going in. There were 30 seconds left in the game and I felt like we needed ... this win and went out there and made it happen. We started a little slower than we were expecting, and this win is huge. I think we were forechecking more. Not all our lines were going today; there’s a lot more to our team. This [game] shouldn’t have gone into overtime.”

Overtime had barely begun when Shaun Traina scored to end the game.

“We didn’t play our best game, but they found a way to win it,” said Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle Trail Blazers coach Bobby Fothergill. “Our powerplay was really good; we only had one and we capitalized on it. The effort was there – the execution a little sloppy, but we’ll clean that up. The passes – not finding the open guy quick enough and taking too much time to shoot the puck. I’m proud of their effort and their will to win this game, that was a big win for us.” <

Windham girls’ JV basketball holds off Thornton Academy

By Matt Pascarella

Once Windham’s junior varsity girls’ basketball team regained the lead during their home game with Thornton Academy on Thursday, Dec. 28, they never let go of it. Windham had the lead at the end of the first half and when they took the court in the second half, they made it nearly impossible for Thornton Academy to pull out in front. At the final buzzer, Windham earned a 41-25 win.

Windham sophomore Viktoria Richardson takes a shot from
the three-point line during a girls' JV basketball game
at home against Thornton Academy on Dec. 28.
“I think just digging down on defense led to the win,” said Windham JV girls’ basketball coach Gretchen Anderson. “Running our offense, seeing openings and gaps and offensive rebounds were big for us as well as getting our true JV and our swing players kind of meshing together, that’s always a tough thing ... the girls are doing a really good job; they are such an unselfish team they ... always make the extra pass – it’s really fun to coach.”

Anderson said running their offense has been great. Windham has been really cutting hard to the hoop and foul shots have improved.

Windham moved the ball well the entire game. They had a small but early lead over Thornton Academy.

Windham grabbed turnovers and rebounds which led to more opportunities to score.

Thornton Academy soon took the lead; then Windham regained it, then the game was tied.

Windham JV freshman Kiley Card had a buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Windham’s momentum helped them pull away. They were quick to be first to the ball. Shot after shot helped the Lady Eagles maintain their 20-11 lead at the half.

“At first we weren’t playing the best defense,” said Windham JV freshman Isabella Vassoler. “I think as we went along, we were really prepared for that and were being more aggressive to create more offensive plays so we could have more chances at scoring. Defense [went well]. By the end of it we were running low pretty well and forwards out which was great because that’s been a struggle. We came together more and communicated, that made it a lot easier to play. Shooting [needs improvement] but that will go on as we progress.”

In the second half, Thornton Academy made a push to switch the score, but Windham made it very hard for them to do so.

“Out-of-bounds plays still need improvement,” said Anderson. “Knowing that I’m in one position, but also transition defense, making sure we’re matched up with the correct person and we’re not allowing them to get to the hoop.”

Windham JV sophomore Kendra Eubanks sunk a three-pointer.

Windham JV sophomore Chloe Delewski had a couple nice layups to help Windham stay ahead.

Card sank a three-pointer.

By the final buzzer Windham’s lead was too massive to overcome.

“Offensively, we were being really smart,” said Windham JV sophomore Viktoria Richardson, who sank a three-pointer in the second quarter. “When we first started, we were running forwards out and it was working really well, and we were just being smart. We were making smart plays and it transitioned from being good on defense and getting fast breaks. We’ve been working on passing and our offense in general. We need to work on our out-of-bounds plays ... and shooting.” <

Tales from the Outdoors: Opening Day to Closing of the Season

By Bob Chapin

As I sat there up in my tree stand waiting for the sun to come up and the 2023 Deer season to open, I considered myself blessed to be able to do this.

I am on a friend’s land, in a free country, where private citizens can legally hunt the wild animals that inhabit this land. I think sometimes we take for granted the privileges as Americans we have that are protected by other citizens who willingly place their lives on the line to protect those privileges.

As a 30-year retired veteran of the Air Force, I know some of the sacrifices they are making because I have made them myself at times. The family gatherings missed, the wedding of my sister, the passing of my father and mother, the births of my nieces and nephews, and the special occasions you would rather have spent with your friends have all been missed to serve this great nation. While I regret those losses, I was always proud to be serving the nation and doing my part to protect it.

As we are reminded every Veterans’ Day, I would ask you to take a moment to thank a vet for their sacrifices so that you can enjoy the life you lead. These are troubling times for our nation and a moment of thankful civility toward another would be appreciated.

The light gradually brightens, and the forest dwellers are slowly waking up and starting their daily routines. First you hear the owls, then the crows, then a flock of geese wings overhead and the small creatures such as mice, chipmunks, possums, and skunks start to move about. I am always amazed at how much noise they can make as they scurry from one burrow to another.

Perhaps it is because I am in pursuit of deer that they all sound like deer and must be investigated less a real deer manage to sneak by me. I am hoping to avoid a repeat of last year when a big doe had managed to get too close to me before I discovered her presence. She was about 10 feet from the base of my stand before I realized she was there – a feat I would have thought impossible given the cornflake-like leaves we had in the woods a year ago. With this year’s rain I will have to be extra vigilant not to have a similar experience.

This year I followed, well almost followed, my own advice and got out to scout a number of locations. I had three ground blinds and two tree stands from which to choose depending upon weather, wind, and time of day.

Despite some out-of-state travel, I managed to get out at least a half dozen times but only saw deer on one outing. It was about 8:15 a.m. and I had been in the stand since dawn, getting a little stiff in the joints but still alert. I heard them long before I saw them. As I teeter toward my 80s, I am not too ashamed to admit that I use a headset to augment my hearing in the woods.

There were four of them coming fast through the woods and they were too far away from me with too many trees between us to get a good look, let alone a shot, but I could see they were does, and a yearling. They were being pushed hard by a couple of larger deer that I was sure were bucks as the rut was on.

Two deer followed the exact path that the first four had and they were running flat out too. I thought about simulating a doe or fawn call to stop them, but they had real does in sight and probably had their scent and they were not slowing down. I watched them filter through the trees and disappear with the proverbial flag tails waving.

Those were the only deer I saw while afield this year. I even got out once during the muzzleloader season but did not see another deer.

I had some family travel to Wyoming that took me away from Maine until the season ended so I racked up yet another deer-less season. Checking with several buddies who hunt, the deer sightings and harvesting appear to have fallen off this year in the wildlife management areas I hunt.

With the season over, I can only hope to claim an unwanted vehicle-killed deer if I want any venison this year. It will take some time for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to officially tabulate the results of this year’s deer season, but I suspect it will reflect a good year. Next year I will try to be a better hunter! <