Fryeburg Academy winter sports previews

Cody Gullikson

Cody Gullikson

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Head Coach: Sedge Saunders, 18th year

JV Coach: Ryan Wallace, third year

Freshmen Coach: Chris Gaskin, first year

Volunteer Assistant: Charlie Tryder

Last year: Lost in the Class B prelim. This year, Maine basketball has expanded to five classes, adding “AA.” The Raiders, based on school enrollment, has moved from Class B to Class A.

Top returning players: Seniors Ben Darling and Nicholis L’Heureux-Carland. Ben, a 6-foot guard, provided some clutch shooting last year and will be counted on to carry more of the load offensively this year. Nick is a 6-foot-3 forward, who is a four-year varsity player and his experience and size are vital for the Raiders, especially with such a young and guard-oriented team.

Sophomore Cody Gullikson, who played valuable minutes last year and played tough defense. He has the ability to go hard to the rim. “He had a great football season and we expect that tenacity to carry over to basketball season,” Coach Saunders said.

Joe Lebrun is a returning swing player who has improved his shooting range as he transitions from post to perimeter. “We like the match-up problems he can create with his inside/out capabilities,” Coach Saunders said.

Isaac Wakefield is another swing player last year who is hard-nosed football player who will give FA the needed muscle inside to compete in Class A. “Isaac is fearless and has become a competitive pick and roll player for us,” the coach said.

On the roster: The Raiders will have 10 new players to the roster, which Coach Saunders is “excited about the potential” this group has. They include:

Roy Elol is a senior new to the program from Israel/Serbia and has a deep passion for the game. Roy is a 5-foot-10 guard who brings a solid work ethic.

Will Davis is a 5-foot-8 junior who moved up from the JV team and has the tools to be a good point guard down the road. “Will plays great on the ball defense and is very unselfish. As his ball skills improve he will be battling for minutes at the point guard position,” Coach Saunders said.

Oscar Herras is a new member of the team courtesy of Spain. Oscar is a 5-foot-10 guard, who brings a variety of skills to the hardwood and will be asked to do a lot for the Raiders as he adjusts to the learning curve of basketball here in Maine.

Jahmi Seely Brown is a 5-foot-10 sophomore who was at Biddeford High School last year. Jahmi is a good open court player who is learning the nuances of playing the point in a program that demands a lot from its floor general.

Scott Parker is a 5-foot-9 guard who moves up from the JV team. “Scott is a kid who has a great motor and is very coachable. He has improved significantly and will continue to do so because of his strong work ethic,” Coach Saunders said.

Tucker Buzzell is a 5-foot-10 freshman, who defensively, is ready to play at the varsity level. His offensive game gets better every day and because of his high athletic IQ he is able to compete at the varsity level even though he is only a freshman, Coach Saunders said.

Oscar Saunders is a 5-foot-9 freshman, who also has a good basketball IQ and has a decent array of offensive skill. Once his defense intensity becomes more consistent, he will also be able to compete at the Class A level.

Team strengths: “We have good team quickness, a better than average basketball IQ, and have some guys who can really shoot the ball when they get going,” — Coach Saunders.

Areas needing improvement: The Raiders lack experience at the varsity level and rebounding could be an issue at times.

Three keys to a successful season: “This team will be successful because they play together, they get along on and off the court, and the love to compete. Many played on the football team and they bring a winning attitude to the basketball court. We have a lot of two and three-sport athletes, which helps us be a more competitive team,” Coach Saunders said.

What do you like about this group: Coach Saunders — “I like this group because they are very coachable and they have a good foundation of skills and are able to grasp offensive and defensive concepts quite rapidly. We are young, but should improve significantly as the season progresses.”

What story line will you be most interested in watching develop? “It’s a brave new world for us with all the new players and playing in Class A (we play Biddeford, Westbrook, Marshwood and Leavitt twice) with some new opponents. These kids won’t be phased a bit by all of this. They seem to like to compete no matter who they play or whatever the circumstances,” Coach Saunders said.

The Schedule

Tuesday, Dec. 8, at Poland, 6:30

Friday, Dec. 11, Leavitt, 6:30

Tuesday, Dec. 15, at Cape Elizabeth, 6:30

Saturday, Dec. 19, York, 2:00

Tuesday, Dec. 22, Marshwood, 6:00

Wednesday, Dec. 30, at Westbrook, 7:00

Saturday, Jan. 2, at Leavitt, 6:30

Tuesday, Jan. 5, Gray-New Gloucester, 6:30

Thursday, Jan. 7, Waynflete, 6:30

Saturday, Jan. 9, at Kennebunk, 2:00

Tuesday, Jan. 12, Greely, 6:30

Friday, Jan. 15, at Freeport, 6:30

Monday, Jan. 18, at Biddeford, 1:00

Friday, Jan. 22, Falmouth, 7:00

Tuesday, Jan. 26, Wells, 6:30

Saturday, Jan. 30, at Lake Region, 6:00

Tuesday, Feb. 2, at York, 6:30

Thursday, Feb. 4, Cape Elizabeth, 7:00

Julia Quinn

Julia Quinn

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Head Coach: Sean Watson, fourth year

Assistant Coaches: Coreen Eccelston, Chris Dutton

Last year: Lost in the Class B prelim

Top returning athletes: All 11 players return from last year. The Raiders had no seniors last year. The roster includes: juniors Makayla Cooper, Nicole Bennett, Alexandra Fraize, Kaylin Delaney and Mackenzie Buzzell; seniors Alexis L’Heureux-Carland, Katherine Parker, Sage Boivin, Julia Quinn, McKenna Gerchman and Bridget Bailey.

Top newcomers: None

Team strengths: The Raiders had most everyone committed to the summer program. Those that committed, showed athleticism, quickness, hustle and an increase in unselfish play, Coach Watson said.

Areas needing improvement: Team first play, scoring in transition, full court defense and communication.

Three keys to a successful season: Coach Watson — “We need to be tougher, faster, and smarter than we were last season. We need to be tougher, faster, and smarter than every team we play this season.”

Players to watch: “This season, it is all about the team,” Coach Watson said. “Hopefully, we can watch an unselfish team play for something greater than themselves. Hopefully, we can create some synergy and we won’t have to worry about watching for individual players.”

Lexi L'Heureux-Carland

Lexi L'Heureux-Carland

Lessons learned a year ago that will help the team this year: “I think it was pretty clear that the game can’t be played well without teamwork. Teams win and a collection of individual players do not,” the coach said. “If we are going to experience any level of success everyone has to buy in to a team first, second and third mentality.”

What do you like about this team: Coach Watson — “I like our potential, our basketball ability, our pace of play, and the stated willingness of each and every player on the roster to put the team before their individual wants.”

What story line will you be most interested in watching develop? “Every player committed to putting the team ahead of themselves. I am curious to see if that holds true during times of adversity. I know we can play as a team. We demonstrated that this summer and in the preseason. I am curious to see if we can play as a team when it really counts,” Coach Watson said.

The Schedule

Tuesday, Dec. 8, Poland, 6:30

Friday, Dec. 11, at Leavitt, 6:30

Tuesday, Dec. 15, Cape Elizabeth, 6:00

Saturday, Dec. 19, at York, 5:00

Tuesday, Dec. 22, at Marshwood, 6:00

Wednesday, Dec. 30, Westbrook, 4:00

Saturday, Jan. 2, Leavitt, 6:30

Tuesday, Jan. 5, at Gray-New Gloucester, 6:00

Thursday, Jan. 7, at Waynflete, 5:00, varsity only

Saturday, Jan. 9, Kennebunk, 6:30

Tuesday, Jan. 12, at Greely, 6:30

Friday, Jan. 15, Freeport, 6:30

Monday, Jan. 18, Biddeford, 5:00

Friday, Jan. 22, at Falmouth, 6:30

Monday, Jan. 25, at Wells, 6:30

Friday, Jan. 29, Lake Region, 6:30

Tuesday, Feb. 2, York, 6:30

Thursday, Feb. 4, at Cape Elizabeth, 6:30

Skye Collins

Skye Collins

INDOOR TRACK

Head coaches: Kevin McDonald and Bobby Collins

Program: Enters sixth year

Top returning athletes: Sprints, Skye Collins, Orie Inirio, Emily McDermith and Olivia Pelkie; Distance, Anna Lastra; Throws, Colleen Bullard.

Sprints: Jake Maidment, Spencer Thomas, Evan Wadsworth and Victor Yang; Distance, Cole LeBlond; Throws, Baha Demir; Jumps Victor Yang.

“We have 32 athletes with an almost even split. A lot of new faces and tons of potential,” Coach McDonald said.

Team strengths: On the girls’ side — Sprints, Relays and Distance; on the boys’ side — Jumps, Sprints Relays and Throws.

Keys to success: Avoid injury, believe in each other and accept the challenge to be their BEST.

Athletes to watch: Brian Ward/Sims, Osage Crie, Kyleigh Rose, Lexi Charles, Grace Condon, Jessica Jensen and Taylor Kruger.

“We are a young, talented group. Will everyone buy into the program? Those that do will see improvement and success,” Coach McDonald said. “We are small in numbers, but should compete for the podium in several events. It is our hope to continue our tradition of sending several athletes to the State Meet and advancing as many of that group to New Englands.”

Outlook: “If the younger athletes gain an understanding of Track & Field and improve throughout the year, our program will be a success,” Coach McDonald said.

The Schedule

Friday, Dec. 18, Falmouth, Traip, York, Freeport, Cape Eliabeth, Greely, St. Dom’s, 3:30

Friday, Jan. 8, Cape, Greely, Freeport, Lake Region, North Yarmouth Academy, Wells, St. Dom’s, 6:30

Friday, Jan. 15, Wells, Poland, Traip, Falmouth, NYA, Sacopee Valley, St. Dom’s, 6:30

Friday, Jan. 22, Yarmouth, Wells, NYA, Greely, Poland, Sacopee, St. Dom’s, 4:30

Friday, Jan. 29, Wells, Lake Region, Poland, Traip, NYA, Cape, St. Dom’s, 4:30

Friday, Feb. 5, WMC Championships, 4:00

Saturday, Feb. 13, State Meet, Bates College, 12:00

  • All meets, except the State Meet, will be held at the University of Southern Maine field house in Gorham.

ALPINE SKIING

Head coach: Sam Dyer

The Roster: Senior Harry Leavitt and sophomore Joe Bisulca. “I hope to see Top 10 finishes from Harry this year at Conferences and States, and top 25s from Joe,” Coach Dyer said.

On the girls’ side, junior Laura Friedman, junior Hannah Frye, sophomore Sophie Duane-Leavitt and sophomore Morgan Seebeck.

Top newcomers: Boys’ squad unclear at press time. For the FA girls, junior Kiyanna Monydet, junior Joelle Buzzell, junior Chloe Downs, junior Mia Lorenzen and freshman Brooke Juneau.

Team strengths: Boys — both athletes are good skiers. Girls — Coach Dyer is expecting great performances from both Sophie and Brooke this year.

Areas needing improvement: More depth.

What I like about this group: “They’re exceptionally positive personalities and personal enjoyment of not just racing but skiing in general,” the coach said.

The Schedule

Monday, Jan. 4, GS vs Greely, Gray-NG, Freeport, 4:45

Monday, Jan. 11 S vs Cape, Freeport, Yarmouth, 4:45

Monday, Jan. 18, GS vs Freeport, Yarmouth, Cape, 2:00

Thursday, Jan. 28, GS vs. Kennebunk, Scarborough, Greely, Yarmouth, 5:00

Monday, Feb. 1, S vs Lake Region, Cape, Greely, 4:45

Thursday, Feb. 4 WMC Championships, 10:00

Monday, Feb. 8, GS vs Lake Region, Gray-NG, Cape, Marshwood, Kennebunk, 5:00

Tuesday, Feb. 16, States, Mt. Abram

Wednesday, Feb. 17, States, Mt. Abram

  • All races held at Shawnee Peak, other than State Meet

Editor’s note: Due to numbers, Fryeburg Academy does not have a wrestling team or cheering squad this winter. A report on the FA Nordic ski team was unavailable at press time.

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