Fryeburg Academy spring sports previews

TRACK AND FIELD

Head Coach: Kevin McDonald (distance)

Assistant Coaches: Jim Cummings for the throws; Eva Johnson for sprints and jumps.

The Roster: 42 kids on the roster. The Raiders are very young, “which is fantastic,” Coach McDonald said. Only four seniors. Distance looks very strong on both the boys’ and girls’ side. Alfie Walker, Osage Crie, Tony Santarelli and Jayden Ming are leading the way on the boys’ side. Jules Stanton, Allenceiah Waiters, Maddy Choice and Kirsten Wentworth are all working very hard on the girls’ side.

The throwers are led by Casey Kneissler, with Kyleigh Rose, Sharlah-Mae Day and Kate Flynn showing great promise.

The sprinter/jumpers are looking strong with Gwen Boros, Olivia Krug, Livia DeVries, Jessica Jensen, Jenn L’Hommedieu and Abby Novia.

The boys are led by Max Kummer and Isaiah Lenotte. Both are showing promise and are working very hard in this cold early season.

Jessica Frum is showing huge promise in the race walk. Jess reached the podium last year at States and looks to move up the ladder in this very difficult event.

Keys to season: To be successful, the athletes will have to buy into the program. “We have a great coaching staff but if the athletes do not buy in it all goes for not. Avoid the injury bug and maintaining a positive attitude will go a long way in the success of this team,” Coach McDonald said.

What do you like about this team: “What I like is this is a positive group. Do we have issues, yes, can we work them out, yes. Attitude is huge and it can make all the difference in practice. The core group of this team is awesome and for that I am thankful,” Coach McDonald said. “We will work as hard if not harder as any team. Where we end up, we shall see. The Raiders will be prepared to achieve their goals and do their best.”

Season opener: Thursday, April 19, noon at Thornton Academy.

Home opener: Friday, May 4, 3:30 p.m. with Traip Academy, Wells and St. Dom’s Academy.

BIG SWING by junior Brayden Bartlett. (Photo by Julian Zhu/FA)

BASEBALL

Head Coach: Chris Kroski, third year

Assistant Coach: Stew Frost

JV Team: Alex Jacobs and David Jones

Top returning players: Senior Scott Parker, outfield; juniors Tucker Buzzell, outfield and Brayden Bartlett, pitcher; sophomores Cullen Pietrantonio, shortstop, Dawson Jones, second base, Ayden DeSantis, utility/pitcher and Calvin Southwick, outfield.

Top newcomers: Senior Josh Xander (transfer to district), catcher; senior Matt Fuller (returns after missing a year with a knee injury); junior Oscar Saunders (returns after a year off), outfield; and freshman Bryce Micklon, infielder.

On the Roster: Senior Bayden Roy, sophomore Josh Mattei and junior Nate Knapp returns after missing a year to surgery.

Team strengths: Athleticism, middle infield returns, and speed in the outfield.

Question marks: Hoping the pitching will continue to grow; and filling positions based off each individual’s strengths as they fit into the team dynamics.

What will it take to be successful this season: Selfishness as there is a lot of athleticism, but those that are hitting will get in the lineup which could mean players moving around; pitching will have to have keep opponents off balance; good weather for pitching rotation to be established.

What do you like best about this group: Go all out at every practice, they compete hard; core group for whom baseball is their favorite sport; and the commit to the game year-round.

Home opener: The Raiders host Lincoln Academy on Friday, April 20 at 1 p.m.

SOFTBALL

Head Coach: Fred Apt

Assistant Coach: Chris Dutton

JV Coach: Jenn Pelkie

Top returning players: Junior Tina LeBlanc, shortstop, WMC All-Conference selection; sophomore Kaylee Emery, first base; senior Chloe Coen, outfield; and sophomore Paige O’Connell, third base.

Top newcomers: Freshmen Emilia DeScantis, pitcher; Morgan Fusco, catcher.

Team strengths: A desire to improve on a daily basis.

Question mark: “Getting this team to believe in themselves and in each other is the key,” Coach Apt said. “How quick we can grow as a team is the big question mark.”

What do you like about this team: “I love the fact that this group wants to learn and they have great work ethic, so far,” Coach Apt said.

Season opener: Friday, April 20, 1 p.m. against Lincoln Academy.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Head Coach: Dick Valliere

As the Fryeburg Boys Tennis team works its way through pre-season, the Raiders have been fortunate to get indoor time at Cranmore Fitness. Fryeburg Academy has four new courts this year, which will benefit both boys and girls as soon as the snow leaves.

The Roster: Harry Yan is playing Number 1 and has for the past three years; he is the most experienced athlete on the team. He is co-captain and has won the Most Valuable Player Award for the last two years.

The top newcomers are Number 2, Henry Wang and Thaddeus Thorn and Edwin Young battling for the third spot. Edwin Young is co-captain, as well. Although inexperienced, through hard work these guys should learn to compete at a high level.

Other varsity players that will certainly contribute in doubles are Gary Gao, Charlie Chen, Tommy Yan, York Jiang, William Lu, Phinneus Lucy, Silas Peirce, Jaden Fieman and Sam Boorstin.

“Many of these new players are pretty much equal with skills and athletic ability. The hope is that competing with each other in practice will push them in preparing for the upcoming season,” Coach Valliere said. “Some of these doubles players could also challenge up to get a shot at playing singles. Challenge matches are always positive to bring out the best in team development.”

Team strengths: The team’s strengths will be based on hard work, the ability to focus, and learning how to compete at a high level. If the team can get on the same page with improving with every match while supporting each other, a successful season should be achievable.

“I am optimistic about this team for several reasons. They have the ability to work hard, listen to instruction and focus on trying to hit the right shot. Although there are many other parts of the game that need to be understood, it will all come together in a progressive manner,” Coach Valliere said. “We are excited to get the season started and look forward to winning tennis.”

Home opener: Wednesday, April 25, 4 p.m., Gould Academy.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Head Coach: Chris Chaffee, 10th season

The Roster: The Raiders are led by senior and captain Emily Grzyb. Emily is coming off a winning record season last year and a semi-final finish. She is returning and defending the number 1 singles position. “Emily keeps improving every year. She has a lot of grit and determination to win. When she sinks her teeth into a match she is tough to beat. One of her biggest weapons is her fitness and her heart,” Coach Chaffee said.

Kate Jin, who is also a senior, is returning from last year, where she played doubles. This year, Kate is as now number 2, but Coach Chaffee feels her and the number 3 singles position will probably go back and forth because they are so close. “Kate is very consistent and rarely beats herself. She has worked a lot on her game in off season,” Coach Chaffee said.

The number 3 singles player is Amelia Rowland. Amelia has played doubles in the past also, so singles is a new and great opportunity for her. “I feel naturally she is a singles player, just because she is athletic. Amelia's tactic is to get the ball over the net more than her opponent, and that should fair her well in some of her matches. I feel having this experience at playing singles will improve her ability as a tennis player,” the coach said.

Fryeburg’s #1 doubles team consists of Kirby Waterman and Kayla Koo, who were #2 doubles last year. Kirby and Kayla are always progressing everyday into striving to become better tennis players. They are learning the aspects of doubles and Coach Chaffee feels the more they play together, the more they will work together as a team.

“Just from last year, I have seen their eagerness to develop. They have a great mindset,” he said.

The #2 doubles team this year are two new players, sophomore Sonia Leone and senior Sophia Duane Leavitt. The great thing about these two players is they started pretty much as beginners, and have elevated their game in just a few weeks.

“It has been a pleasure to see. They have special chemistry together, and great attitudes. You can see in their eyes they really want to be out there and play tennis for their school and for themselves. They soak in a ton of information to enhance and refine their skills,” Coach Chaffee said. “I know by the end of the year they will be playing some sound doubles.”

Rounding off the team we have Juniors Joyce Wang and Celine Lu. They are both players that have an inner desire to obtain their goals. “As the extras on the team, they are exactly what every coach wants to see in a player. They come to practice every day, work hard, and give 100%,” Coach Chaffee said. “They both have an energy about them that shows their persistent spirit. Ambitious and drive to get the most out of themselves.”

Team strengths: Sense of commitment, attitudes and intercity. “These three things make us effective. We participate every practice with a vision and a mindset to go out there and try our best, then no matter what the outcome, we will win. Winning and losing are to things that are defined so bleakly. You can still win even if you lose, but you will never know unless you try,” Coach Chaffee said. “We are all about profess this year. If by the end of the season the team and every individual player sets a realistic goal for themselves and gets there then I think that is a successful season and that is our plan. Our experience will be a question mark, but I think the kids will be inspired everyday knowing that they one day reach their full potential if they just keep working at it.”

Home opener: Friday, April 27 against Hebron at 4;30 p.m.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Head Coach: Matthew Haley, 2nd year

Assistant Coach: Tom Vestal

Top returning players: The Raiders were fortunate to have only graduated three seniors last year, meaning FA has 17 returning players. Of those, FA has seven returning seniors, who make up the heart of the team. Midfielder Caleb Eklund lead the team in points last year with 42 goals and 33 assists. Evan Caracciolo played a big role on attack with 24 goals and 19 assists. Jared Chisari really embraced his role on the team last season with 9 goals and 6 assists. Gavin LaChance, Cole LeBlond, Ben Fraize and Liam Harriman all return giving FA a great group of seasoned veterans on defense.

Top newcomers : The Raiders have a couple of freshmen joining the team this year along with a handful of players who are new to the game altogether. Freshmen Will Galligan and Arlo Stevenson will be working to earn their spots in the rotation. Seniors Cody Gullikson and Jared Marshall, juniors Trí Nguyen and Kempton Maillett and sophomore Ross Bass are new to the sport and making a lot of progress.

Other varsity/swing players: FA has a large group of returning juniors. Gunnar Gurnis is joined by Ethan Burk on attack. “We’re expecting big things from midfielders Caleb Bowles, Josh Frye and Liam Chisari, as well as sophomores Caden Daigle and Mason Harriman,” Coach Haley said.

Juniors Jaden Dennery, Brevin Mutrie and Marc Iannuzzi are all looking very strong on defense as well. Last but not least is Yukon King, who is looking solid in goal so far this season.

Team strengths: “We are a very well-rounded team. Most of these guys have been playing together since elementary school so they all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Coach Haley reported

Question marks: FA faces a couple of teams that they haven’t played before so the Raiders won’t really be sure what to expect with them. “Other than that, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect throughout the season,” the coach said.

What will it take to be successful this season: Stay healthy. The Raiders don’t have a lot of experienced depth so any injury can and will make a big difference as far as the team dynamic goes.

“We need to play clean and stay out of the penalty box. We did a great job of this last year and I’m hoping we can continue to do so this year,” the coach added. “Lastly, we need to communicate on the field. Our play quality of play diminishes drastically when we don’t talk to each other on the field.”

What do you like best about this group: The teamwork and camaraderie these guys show toward each other is really something Coach Haley admires. “They put their differences aside for the betterment of the team and give it their all to be the best team they can be,” the coach said.

Home opener: Saturday, May 5 against Oak Hill at 4 p.m.

Season opener: Thursday, April 12 at Freeport, 6 p.m.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Head Coach: Julia Taylor, third year

Assistant Coach: Dede Frost, first year coaching lacrosse but about 24 years coaching field hockey and softball.

Top returning players: Starting center Bridget O’Neil, sophomore, one of two rookies of the year last year and currently FA’s all-around best player as far as stick skills, ground balls and scoring goals; starting defender Faye Taylor, senior, great all-around athlete and looking to get more action in the midfield this year.

Top newcomer: Freshman Maggie Powers in the goal.

Other varsity/swing players: Senior captains Bridget Fahey (defense) and Kalie Eastman (midfield); sophomore captain Abigail Hewes (midfield).

Team strengths: Not one big ego or selfish player on the team.

Question marks: Very young with not a lot of experience at the varsity level.

What will it take to be successful this season: Getting the younger girls (eight freshmen and seven sophomores) up to speed on stick skills and strategy; primary team goal is to give 100% every minute of every game; and continuing to improve ball handling skills and finding the back of the net!

What do you like best about this group: Supportive, fun team spirit among the girls.

Home opener: Saturday, April 28 against Oxford Hills at 10 a.m.

Season opener: Thursday, April 12 at Freeport at 4:15 p.m.

 

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