May 27, 2022

Imageglee

Sports Really Satisfies

North Yarmouth Academy Panthers Spring Sports Preview

BASEBALL (co-op with Waynflete)

Coach: Paul Grazia (seventh year)

2021 record: 12-6 (Lost, 4-3, to Lisbon in Class C South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Daniel Noone (Senior), Liam Slocumb (Senior), Payton Smith (Senior), Cole Lambert (Sophomore), Connor Wolverton (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: May 2 @ Traip Academy, May 9 OLD ORCHARD BEACH, May 13 @ Sacopee Valley, May 16 TRAIP ACADEMY, May 23 @ Old Orchard Beach, May 31 SACOPEE VALLEY

Coach’s comments: “Coming off of a strong 2021 season, we are excited for the upcoming season and believe that we can continue to build, grow and compete this year. The loss of a strong senior class from last year has created a lot of opportunity for players to take on new roles and continue to develop. All of the players have been working hard and we have a lot of depth and that will help us throughout a long season. It will be exciting to continue to see how the team develops throughout the year as players take on new roles, compete and challenge themselves every day. Consistency on offense and defense will be key for us and as we look to make improve on last year’s record and make another playoff run. Our schedule is tough and all the teams our conference are competitive, but I believe that we have depth and ability to compete for playoff spot this spring.”

Advertisement

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Waynflete/North Yarmouth Academy co-op team had a terrific season a year ago, the program’s best this century. This year’s squad has some key players to replace, but look for the squad to remain in contention in Class C South.

Wolverton will be a tough matchup for the opposition. Slocumb (who hit .302 with 11 runs scored and 10 stolen bases in 2021) is a veteran leader, while Noone and Smith lead the pitching contingent. Juniors Cal Nice and Nolan Pecora and sophomore Cole Lambert will also see time on the hill. Juniors Jack Byrnes, Oliver Eames and Lincoln Smith project to play bigger roles. Sophomores Ethan Brochu, Cooper St. Hilaire and Daxton St. Hilaire and are key newcomers who will bolster the roster.

Waynflete/NYA will be tested as the season progresses, but this squad turned the corner last year and could be very much in the hunt again come June.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

Junior Jack Curtis returns in goal for NYA’s boys’ lacrosse team, which is eyeing a Class C title this spring. File photos.

Advertisement

Coach: Peter Gerrity (sixth year, 29-41 overall record)

2021 record: 9-6 (Lost, 11-4, to eventual champion Waynflete in Class C state semifinals)

Top returning players: Henry Bergeron (Senior), Elliott Oney (Senior), Chas Rohde (Senior), James Tourigny (Senior), Caleb Waterman (Senior), Jack Curtis (Junior), Jonah Donnelly (Junior), Seamus Rohde (Junior), Wyatt Thomas (Junior), Brayden Warde (Junior), Alex Wignall (Junior)

Pivotal games: April 14 WAYNFLETE, April 30 GARDINER, May 7 YORK, May 14 @ Greely, May 21 @ Oak Hill, June 1 @ Yarmouth

Coach’s comment: “We’re off to a good start. We have a lot back. It’s great to have veterans who are highly skilled at every position. A lot of the guys were frustrated with the way last year ended and they’ve worked hard. Our goal is to win Class C.”

Advertisement

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA’s title reign came to an end last June with a surprisingly decisive loss to eventual champion Waynflete in the semifinals. The Panthers have been stewing about that setback ever since and now have an opportunity to do something about it, starting Thursday, when they open the regular season against those same Flyers.

Four league all-stars return this spring for NYA. Bergeron is one of them. He uses his size and athleticism on defense to help shut down some of the best opposing scorers. He’s joined by Seamus Rohde (whom Gerrity calls “mean and fast”), sophomore Caleb King and Wignall, the longstick middie, to make life miserable for the opposition. Curtis returns in goal. He saw some time in some big games last season and will be poised for the challenge. The offense starts in the midfield, where Donnelly, Thomas and Tourigny will take faceoffs. Other midfielders to watch include Oney and Waterman (an all-star last season). Up top, look for Chas Rohde and Warde, both all-stars in 2021, to do their share of goal-scoring. Freshman Zach Leinward is a key newcomer who will also be on attack.

While Thursday’s contest will be important for bragging rights, what happens in June is what matters most and NYA is bound and determined to be at its best when the postseason rolls around. This squad is primed to return to the pinnacle and it wouldn’t be wise to bet against the Panthers.

GIRLS’ LACROSSE

Senior Maggie Holt will give the opposition fits this season. 

Advertisement

Coach: Molly Moss-Stokes (first year)

2021 record: 7-6 (Lost, 11-10, to Lake Region in Class C state quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Maggie Holt (Senior), Lila Jackson (Senior), Emma Sharp (Senior), Alev Yilmaz (Senior), Vy Tran (Junior),

Pivotal games: April 14 WAYNFLETE, April 21 FREEPORT, April 27 @ Greely, May 4 YORK, May 11 @ Lake Region, May 19 CAPE ELIZABETH, May 21 @ Freeport

Coach’s comment: “We have a huge team this year. A lot of raw, athletic talent from other sports. We’re trying to establish a new team culture of competitiveness and winning. I’m excited for the season.”

Advertisement

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA goes back to the future this spring, as Moss-Stokes takes over her alma matter. When she was Molly Moss, Class of 2005, she was one of the state’s top players and she went on to play at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. After serving as Julia Sterling’s assistant last season, Moss-Stokes takes over a squad which could make a run at the top spot in Class C before all is said and done.

The Panthers return Holt, who was a first-team all-star last season. She’ll score a lot of goals up top. Holt is joined at attack by Sharp and Yilmaz. Tran will take draws and will anchor the midfield, along with Jackson. NYA is very young on defense, but has some terrific athletes with familiar names to turn to. Senior Jazzy Huntsman and juniors Charlotte Harper-Cunningham, Josie Harper-Cunningham and Angel Huntsman (who has already been named the school’s Fall and Winter Athlete of the Year this school year) will look to protect the goal in front of either senior Sage Moulton or junior Jess Merrill.

NYA will be chasing last year’s state finalists, Waynflete and Freeport, teams the Panthers just happen to open with. NYA will have some growing pains along the way, but this squad should be very good by the time the playoffs arrive. Don’t be surprised if the Panthers put it all together and make it to the final game of the season.

OUTDOOR TRACK

No information provided

Advertisement

BOYS’ TENNIS

Coach: Charlie Hudson (43rd year, two state championships)

2021 record: 6-7 (Lost, 5-0, to eventual state champion Waynflete in Class C South semifinals)

Top returning players: Bryce Poulin (Senior), Noah Silander (Senior), Finlay Gepfert (Sophomore), Nate Oney (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We return the entire team, except one doubles player. As always, Waynflete is the team to beat in Class C. We also look to have competitive matches with Freeport and Greely. We lost close 3-2 matches to them last year.”

Advertisement

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA is coming off its best season since 2014 and the Panthers feature a lot of returning talent this spring, suggesting they’ll be the squad best equipped to perhaps derail Waynflete’s quest for a 14th consecutive Class C crown.

Poulin (a first-team league all-star in 2021) and Silander (second-team WMC) return at singles. They’ve been in those roles since their freshman season. Gepfert played third singles a year ago and also returns. Oney (who made the WMC doubles all-star team last spring) could be in contention for that spot as well. Some combination of senior Aidan Lacombe, juniors Aidan Farion, Colin Roderick and Ethan Schutz and freshman Jack Hebert will make up the doubles teams.

NYA is primed to do big things in the weeks to come.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

Coach: Lorena Coffin (12th year, five state championship)

Advertisement

2021 record: 0-11 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Emma Rothrock (Senior), Maddy Prokopius (Sophomore), Sasha Schutz (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “Our goal is to have a competitive, cohesive team with players who enjoy the sport of tennis, meet their personal goals and remain healthy throughout the season. We’re still working on challenge matches to determine the tennis ladder, but with lots of new, strong athletes and returning players who have worked on their games over the winter, the team should have a competitive lineup.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: NYA is looking to return to contention this spring and there are promising signs.

Prokopius and co-captains Rothrock and Schutz are experienced veterans. Sophomores Lauryn Casey, Haley Hegarty and Charlotte McLatchy, along with freshmen Anna Elizarkov, Athena Gee and Emily Robbins, add depth and promise for the future.

Advertisement

These Panthers will show steady improvement in the weeks to come, will win some matches and restore the program as a contender.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.