Raider winter sports preview guide

SARAH WELCH of Fryeburg Academy looks to deny a Gorham player during Saturday's scrimmage at Lake Region. (Rivet Photo)

VARSITY GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Head Coach: Sean Watson, first year

Assistant Coaches: Billie L’Heureux, Steve Bush (JV)

Top returnees: Kendra Fox, senior, guard; Ellen Bacchiocchi, senior, forward; Skye Dole, junior, center; Sarah Welch, junior, forward; and Sydney Charles, junior, guard.

Top newcomers: Julia Quinn, freshman, guard; Lexi L’Heureux-Carland, freshman, forward; and McKenna Gerchman, freshman, guard.

Varsity players: Kristen Chipman, sophomore, guard; Makayla Frost, junior, guard; Karylann Walker, junior, forward; and Sage Antolin, senior, center.

Team strengths: Team attitude, physical play and competitiveness.

Question marks: Can FA sacrifice personal goals for team success? Can the Raiders limit turnovers? Can Fryeburg stay out of foul trouble?

Keys to the season: Weather the early season storm — York, Falmouth and Greely, first three games; realize that successes will depend on team effort and not individual success; and clear player to player, player to coach, and coach to player communication.

What has impressed you during the preseason? Coach Watson has been impressed with the team’s desire for success; how the upperclassmen have welcomed the underclassmen; and the physical nature of practices.

For the team to be successful, we must… We must play solid team defense; we must run our numbered fast break for easy points; and we must not commit needless fouls, Coach Watson said.

What do you like most about this year’s team? “Up to this point, our kids have really slugged it out in practice. They are not afraid to mix it up with one another. They are great girls that have been very welcoming to me. We are implementing a completely different program and style of practice and play and all of the players have been receptive,” Coach Watson said. “They all seem to get along and that can go along way in dealing with the issues that always come up during a long season. I couldn’t be happier to be working with this group of young ladies.”

Home schedule

Tuesday, Dec. 11, Falmouth, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 15, Greely, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 5, Waynflete, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 8, Freeport, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 15, Cape Elizabeth, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 17, Sacopee, 6 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 21, Lake Region, 4 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 1, Gray-NG, 6 p.m.

Away schedule

Friday, Dec. 7, York, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 19, Poland, 6 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 21, Yarmouth, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 29, Cape Elizabeth, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 3, Wells, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 11, Gray-NG, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 26, Greely, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 29, Freeport, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 4, Lake Region, 7 p.m.

VARSITY BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Head Coach: Sedge Saunders, 15th year

JV Coach: Rick White (longtime Mountain Valley coach, who will replace Billie L’Heureux, who is assisting with the girls’ varsity program)

First Year: Andrew Stacy

Top returnees: Four returning players were letter winners from a year ago, including: Bright Amoako leads the charge after a strong second half season last year. An all-conference selection last year, the 6’2” senior captain will be counted on to do a variety of things for the Raiders this season.

“Bright is one of the best rebounding guards in the conference and is great in transition,” Coach Saunders said. “He should have a big impact this year.”

Tyler Saunders is back for his senior season. He is a co-captain with Bright and was a spark plug on defense last year.

“We need the same intensity on the defensive end and we’re hoping after a very productive summer, Tyler will provide some much needed scoring from the perimeter,” Coach Saunders said.

Walker Mallory returns for his junior season and has added more weapons to his already explosive offensive repertoire.

“Walker can heat up in a hurry but he also can get to the rim more effectively this year. His defense has also improved to the point where he is a good on the ball defender,” the coach said.

Jonathan Burk is the last returning player. The 6’3” sophomore had a great freshman season and will be counted on for a more expanded role this season.

“Jonathan has a good feel for the game and a variety of low post moves. He will be even better and he continues to improve his strength and agility,” Coach Saunders said.

Top newcomers: As far as the newcomers are concerned…there are quite a few.

Alex Blake moves up to varsity from the junior varsity and “brings quite a bit to the table.”

“When you look at Alex, you think basketball player,” Coach Saunders said. The 6’2” junior is long, lanky and athletic. He also has a “feathery touch” from 15 feet and in. “As he gets stronger and gains confidence, he will be a difficult match-up,” the coach said.

Jaquan Causer is a 6’1” junior who has shown that he is a quick study in the game of basketball. “He’s the type of kid every team needs to be successful — getting the tough rebound or taking a charge,” Coach Saunders said. “So far, he’s been a great addition to our team.

Alex Lazic is a 6’3” junior, another new addition who has fit in very well thus far. He has a nice post and perimeter game and while he’s used to playing on a wing he will help us more on the interior. So far he’s been more than willing to sacrifice for the good of the team, the coach said.

Milos Mitic is another 6’3” junior who made the varsity with his aggressive play and willingness to be a vocal leader on the floor even though he’s new to Fryeburg Academy. “His tough style of play is great for our team and he’s a guy who will help us probably sooner rather than later,” Coach Saunders said.

Winston Richards is a 6’2” sophomore bruiser who will also give the Raiders a physical presence that is so important to a competitive team. “He’s young, but already adjusting to our style of play and should play a big role as the season progresses,” the coach said.

Nicholis L’Heureux-Carland is a 6’2” freshman, who is a promising big man with a world of potential. “Nicholis should develop quickly and already has good hands and decent footwork around the basket. As Nicholis gets stronger and bigger he will be a key component for many years,” Coach Saunders said.

Ryan Gullikson is a 5’11” freshman, who is ahead of the curve physically and skill wise. “As Ryan learns our system and proper techniques, he will quickly evolve into one of the better youngsters in the league. He is a combo guard who has shown a crafty ability to get to the hoop and make things happen in the open court,” the coach said.

Team strengths: “We want to continue where we left off last season in terms of team play and good transition basketball. With so many new faces we are concerned about chemistry. Last year, the team gelled like no other and so far this year, we seem to have a cohesive group. It will take a while to get where we need to but over time we should be okay,” Coach Saunders said. “Last year we had great mental and physical toughness along with emotional maturity. We hope this year’s team can develop the type of toughness needed to compete in our league. We’ve got some good guys coming back and they need to help the new guys understand what it takes.”

Outlook: “We want to play at a break-neck pace and there’s a fine line between pushing the tempo and playing out of control. It will take some time to see if we can make this happen,” Coach Saunders said. “Last year, we had kids that loved to compete — game, practice or tiddlywinks, it didn’t matter. If we can get this team to learn to compete every practice and every possession, we will have a successful season.”

Home schedule

Friday, Dec. 7, York, 6:30 p.m.

Tuessday, Dec. 18, Poland, 6 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 21, Yarmouth, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 29, Cape Elizabeth, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 3, Wells, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 11, Gray-NG, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 21, Lake Region, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 26, Greely, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 29, Freeport, 6:30 p.m.

Away schedule

Tuesday, Dec. 11, Falmouth, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 15, Greely, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 5, Waynflete, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 8, Freeport, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 15, Cape Elizabeth, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 18, Sacopee, 6 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 1, Gray-NG, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 5, Lake Region, 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 8, Poland, 7 p.m.

RAIDER WRESTLING TEAM — Members of the Fryeburg Academy varsity wrestling team include: (back row, left to right) Billy Rascoe, Trevor Henschel, Angel Escalante, Hunter Day, Dylan Rugg, Mohammad Islam, Forrest Stearns and Andrew Lyman; (middle row) Matthew Boucher, Greg Harmon, Christian DeMiranda, CJ Bartlett, Patrick Moody, Aldi Dinoshi and Ian MacFawn; (front row) Assistant Coach Mike Mowry, Armel Mudasigwa, Tommy Remedis, Mike Dandaneau, Captain Jake Thurston, Conor Smith, Zachary Sheehan, Captain Connor Sheehan, Ryan Buzzell, Forrest Green, Manager Nicole Thurston and Head Coach Bryce Thurston. Missing were Willy MacFawn, Luke Spencer and Alec Perry.

VARSITY WRESTLING

Head Coach: Bryce Thurston, third year

Assistant Coach: Mike Mowry

Top returnees: Connor Sheehan, 113 lbs., senior, three-time state finalist and two-time state champ; Zach Sheehan, 126 lbs., state champ as a freshman and two Outstanding Wrestler Awards last year; Jake Thurston, 138 lbs., senior, three-time state placer and one Outstanding Wrestler Award last year; CJ Bartlett, 160 lbs., senior, state champ; Ian MacFawn, 195 lbs., senior.

Top newcomers: Mathew Boucher, 152 lbs., freshman, junior high New England Place finisher; Hunter Day, 145 lbs., freshman, junior high New England Place finalist.

Other varsity squad members: Luke Spencer, 106 lbs., sophomore; Conor Smith, 120 lbs., sophomore; Ryan Buzzell, 132 lbs., junior; Forrest Stearns, 170 lbs., junior; Trevor Henschel, 182 lbs., sophomore; Anjel Escalante, 220 lbs., junior; and Andrew Lyman, 285 lbs., junior.

Team strengths: “I think we are working well to be offensive in the neutral position and getting out on bottom,” Coach Thurston said.

Question marks: Getting out of bad positions, scrambling and pinning.

Keys to the season: Trying to stay healthy, getting into top condition come February, and getting everyone in their most advantageous weight class.

What has impressed you during the preseason? “Our two freshmen are showing signs of good flow on the mat. And, our returning state place finishers are looking like they may get there again,” Coach Thurston reported.

For the team to be successful, we must… Be able to keep wrestling the full six minutes, keep pressuring our opponents by trying to out wrestle and out condition them, the coach said.

What do you like most about this year’s team? “Real pleased with how many came out this year. The ones that came out are aggressive and willing to learn,” Coach Thurston said. “If we do have an injury in the middle to upper weights, we have men ready to step in and help the team. There will be some good wrestle-offs.”

Home schedule

Saturday, Dec. 8, FA Invitational, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 9, Dirigo, Monmouth, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 12, Massabesic, 10 a.m.

Monday, Jan. 21, Gardiner, Morse, LA, 9 a.m.

Away schedule

Wednesday, Dec. 12, Dirigo, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 15, Mountain Valley, 9 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 19, Lisbon, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 22, Wells, 9 a.m.

Saturday, Dec. 29, Noble, TBA

Wednesday, Jan. 2, Madison, 6 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 4, Spartan Tourney, TBA

Saturday, Jan. 5, Spartan Tourney, TBA

Wednesday, Jan. 16, Westbrook, 5 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 18, Essex Tourney, TBA

Saturday, Jan. 19, Essex Tourney, TBA

Saturday, Jan. 26, Mid-States, Mtn. Valley, 9 a.m.

Saturday, Feb. 2, Regionals, Wells, 9 a.m.

Saturday, Feb. 9, States, Augusta

NORDIC SKIING

Head Coach: John Weston, 15th year

Assistant Coach: Chris Darling, first year

Girls’ Team: This year’s Raider group is loaded with seniors, but newcomers as well. The additional numbers are welcome, but leave uncertainty. Only three girls — Hannah Plowden, Emily Powers and Amber Dindorf — have more than two year’s experience on the team so developing the newcomers will be key. There are many new skimeisters to join last year’s Class A skimeister runner-up, Kelsey Liljedahl, a senior.

Senior Hannah Plowden will look to lead the team along with junior Amber Dindorf. “Coming off strong seasons last year, their experience and leadership will set the tone for the others,” Coach John Weston said.

Senior Emily Powers has been dealing with a lingering medical issue that will hopefully improve.

Others on the roster include: senior Michelle Boucher; senior skimeister Christina DiPietro; senior Catherine Gillette; senior Kiley Jolicoeur; junior Bekah Dostie; junior Juliet Fink; sophomore skimeisters Elle Burbank and Kristen Dostie; sophomore Daniele DeLucco; and freshmen Ali Down and Nikki Down.

Boys’ Team: The boys will be anchored by the best high school Nordic skier in Maine last year, senior Silas Eastman. Silas looks to at least equal his accomplishments from last year, which included both the skate and classic state championships. Backing Silas will be fellow senior Logan Gerchman, who in his third year on team looks to have a breakout season. The boys lost several key skiers to graduation so filling those gaps will be juniors Dacota Griffin, Liam LeConey, Sullivan Briggs and Austin Gerchman.

Other roster members include: senior Kyle Barboza; junior skimeister Jesse Liljedahl; and freshmen Patrick Carty, Harry Leavitt (skimeister) and Reed Wales.

Outlook: “As is always the case with the Nordic teams, snowfall will ultimately dictate the tone for the season. With a largely inexperienced group, getting an early snow will be important,” Coach Weston said.

Home schedule

Monday, Jan. 21, Starks Hill, 10:30 a.m.

Saturday, Feb. 9, WMC Classic, Starks, 10 a.m.

Away schedule

Wednesday, Jan. 2, Pineland, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 9, Libby Hill, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 16, Pineland, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 30, Pineland, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 6, WMC Skate, Libby Hill, 2 p.m.

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