Preview: Fryeburg Academy winter sports

Senior Mackenzie Buzzell will be a key performer for the Raider girls' basketball team.

Senior Mackenzie Buzzell will be a key performer for the Raider girls' basketball team.

INDOOR TRACK

Head Coach: Kevin McDonald

Assistant Coaches: Bobby Collins and Jim Cummings

Key returnees: Lexi Charles, senior, sprints; Skye Collins, senior, sprints; Caroline Condon, junior, and Grace Condon, sophomore, hurdles and distance; Jeremiah Schrader, senior, 400/200 relays; Evan Wadsworth and Spencer Thomas, seniors, sprints and relays.

Top newcomers: Christian Bedell, senior, distance; Jared Chisari, junior, sprints/ relays; Gage Fowler, senior, throws/800; Caleb Eklund, junior, sprints/throws; Nabeel Ghadfa, senior, sprints/relays; Gwen Boros, freshman, sprints/relays; Breanna Burnell, junior, throws; Casey Kneissler, sophomore, throws; Bridget Tweedie, senior, sprints, hurdles and relays; and Alanceiah Waiters, middle distance.

Biggest challenge your squad is facing? Avoid injury and illness.

Team’s top strengths: Relays, sprints, throws. “We may find some middle-distance/distance strength, but it’s still early,” Coach McDonald said.

Based on preseason work, what have you seen that you really like? “I am impressed with Gwen Boros and Alanceiah Waiters. Both are working very hard and will experience success because of it,” Coach McDonald said. “The relays will be strong and Christian Bedell should thrive at middle distance. The throwers will do very well as they are working hard as a group, led by Coach Cummings.”

What will the team need to do to be successful? Coach McDonald feels the Raiders needs to “come together, work together and support each other and the rest will take care of itself.” He added, “We are very pleased with how things are going and look forward to a great season.”

Meet dates: Indoor meets are held at the University of Southern Maine, Gorham field house.

12/16, 6:30, Wells, LR, Poland, Traip, NYA, Cape Elizabeth

1/6, 6:30, Falmouth, Traip, York, Freeport, Cape, Greely, St. Dom’s

1/13, 3:30, Cape, Greely, Freeport, St. Dom’s, LR, NYA, Wells

1/20, 3:30, Wells, Poland. Traip, Falmouth, NYA, Sacopee, Lisbon

1/27, 6:30, Yarmouth, Wells, NYA, Greely, Poland, Sacopee, St. Dom’s

2/10, 4:00, Conference finals

2/18, 12:00, Bates College, State Meet

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Head Coach: Sean Watson, fifth year

Assistant Coach: Chris Dutton

Assistant Coach & JV Coach: Coreen Eccleston

Key returning players: Mackenzie Buzzell, senior, guard; Ali Fraize, senior, guard; Kaylin Delaney, senior, guard; Makayla Cooper, senior, forward; Nicole Bennett, senior, forward.

Promising newcomers and rest of roster: Kaylee Emery, freshman, forward; Tina Leblanc, sophomore, forward; Kaylie Eastman, junior, forward; Zoe Bodwell, junior, guard; Alyssa Allen, senior, forward.

Biggest challenges your squad is facing? “Our communication has to get better. We are too quiet right now,” Coach Watson said. “Also, half of our team is new to varsity basketball. Those players will have to make the adjustment quickly. We have also dealt with a lot of sickness and injury in the preseason. We need to get healthy.”

Team’s top strengths? The Raiders have a starting five that all have regular season and playoff experience. “We need all of these players to be leaders for us,” the coach said.

Based on preseason work, what have you seen that you really like? “I like the work ethic and the camaraderie thus far,” Coach Watson added. “We still have a long way to go, but I like our kids.”

What will the team need to do to be successful? To be successful, the Raiders will need to be a great defensive team, the coach said. “Being good enough on defense will not be good enough. We need to understand the big picture of our defense and do the individual and team things the proper way. We are not at that point. We need to get there sooner rather than later,” Coach Watson said. “We are going to have to find a way to do that as individuals and as a team.”

Opening night: The Raider girls open this Friday night, Dec. 9 against York at 6:30 p.m.

Upcoming games: Tuesday, 12/13, at Poland, 6:30 p.m.; Thursday, 12/15, home vs Leavitt, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, 12/17, at Cape Elizabeth, 7 p.m.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Head Coach: Sedge Saunders, 19th year

Assistant Coach: Charlie Tryder

JV Coach: Ryan Wallace

First Team Coach: Chris Gaskin

Key returning players: Isaac Wakefield is a 6-foot senior center, who is FA’s most physical player and can be counted on for tough rebounds and points in the paint.

Joe Lebrun is a 6-foot-1 junior forward, who had a great summer and is ready to be more of a contributor on the boards and offensively for the Raiders this year.

Scott Parker is a 5-foot-11 junior forward, who had a great football season and is ready to roll that over into a productive hoop season. “He’s a very good athlete,” Coach Saunders said.

Ryan Hewes is a 5-foot-9 junior guard, who was hurt most of last year but had a good summer and a good football season. He has a great touch from the perimeter.

Cody Gullikson is a 6-foot junior forward, who had an amazing football season and will bring that toughness to the basketball program.

Cobey Johnson is a 6-foot-1 junior forward, who was another key component of the football squad and will bring that competitive zeal to the basketball program.

Oscar Saunders is a 5-foot-10 sophomore guard, who was part of that really good football team and will be asked to run the team from the point position.

Tucker Buzzell is a 6-foot sophomore guard, who was another key player for the football team and will give the Raiders great tenacity on defense and versatility on offense.

Some new faces are:

Damian Eldridge is a 6-foot-2 senior, who has moved up from the JV team. He has good length and a soft touch around the hoop.

Brendan Staton is a 5-foot-9 senior point guard, who also has moved up from JV. “Brendan has good quickness and can create opportunities for his teammates,” Coach Saunders said.

T.C. McLaurin is a 6-foot junior guard/forward, who has improved a lot and made the jump from JV to varsity. “We are counting on him to knock down some shots,” the coach said.

Francesco Gianfelice is a 6-foot-3 forward from Italy, who is quickly learning the terminology and style of play at Fryeburg.

Adam Canfield is a 6-foot-2 junior forward, who has moved up from the JV team. “Adam is a heady ball player who is sound fundamentally,” Coach Saunders said.

Justin Daniels is a 5-foot-10 junior guard/forward from New York, who is recovering from a football injury but has an infectious positive attitude and is the consummate team player.

Caleb Bowels is a 5-foot-10 sophomore guard, who has moved up from the JV team and was instrumental in helping the football team to the playoffs. Caleb is a crafty guard who seems to get better every day, his coach reported.

Nate Knapp is a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard, who was headed for a good football season until he was injured in first game. Nate is quick and has also developed a nice touch. He is still recovering from his injury.

Biggest challenges your squad is facing? “The biggest challenge for us is our schedule. It’s no mystery our league is the toughest. We played two AA schools in the preseason and handled one of them and lost in the last minute to the other one. Looks to me that South A is the best in the state. But these kids are up to the challenge. They just love to compete and as you can see, with 16 guys on the roster, they will be competing for playing time every day,” Coach Saunders said. “It should be the perfect situation to get us ready for one of the toughest schedules in the state. I’d like to think we will be more than battle tested come tourney time.”

Team’s top strengths? The Raiders are a young team but have some experience. “I think that is a good combination so long as we gel as a unit and stick together through thick and thin. We are going to have to persevere to remain competitive in our league,” Coach Saunders said.

What will the team need to do to be successful? “We have guys who know how to play and we have guys who like to share the ball. We also have depth so long as we stay healthy and we strive to get better each and every day,” Coach Saunders said. “Right now some of the guys are trying too hard…that’s their competitive nature coming through. When we all settle down and let the game flow naturally, we are going to be a very good team.”

Opening night: The Raiders travel to York this Friday for a 6:30 p.m. game.

Upcoming games: Home Tuesday, 12/13 against Poland at 6:30; at Leavitt Thursday, 12/15 at 6:30; home Saturday, 12/17 against Cape Elizabeth at 5:30.

NORDIC SKIING

Head Coach: John Weston, 19th year

Assistant Coach: Chris Darling, fifth year

Key returning skiers: Ben Caffrey, junior; Alfie Walker, sophomore; Seth Johnston, junior; Emily Carty, junior; Irina Norkin, junior; Faye Taylor, junior; Elise Richardson, junior; Zoe Maguire, sophomore.

Promising newcomers: Isaiah Voter, junior; Ethan Reinbach, freshman; Elijah Howe, freshman; Emily Grzyb, junior.

Other roster members: Sam Paulding, sophomore; Reed Wales, senior; Antonin Santarelli, sophomore; Erin Richardson, sophomore; Thrishala Manandhar, senior.

Biggest challenges your squad is facing? Snow. After last year, everyone is really wishing for a normal winter, Coach Weston said.

Team’s top strengths? Experience. Most of the team are juniors with two solid years racing behind them. After great results at the end of last year, Coach Weston expects them to carry that forward this season.

Based on preseason work, what have you seen that you really like? “The leadership that comes with a veteran group,” the coach said.

What will the team need to do to be successful? “Again, I go back to snow and consistency in our ability train and race,” Coach Weston said. “Though we have a more experienced group this year, they still need time on snow.”

Opening day: Weather permitting, the first race is Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 3:30 p.m. at Starks against Gray-NG, Portland, Falmouth and Greely.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Alpine ski information was not available at press time.

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