2011-12-07 / Sports

2011 Mt. Ararat winter sports preview

Eagles: Optimism, strong numbers
BY GEORGE ALMASI & BOB CONN Times Record Staff


MT ARARAT HIGH SCHOOL indoor track members limber up during a recent Farley Field House practice. 
BOB CONN / THE TIMES RECORD MT ARARAT HIGH SCHOOL indoor track members limber up during a recent Farley Field House practice. BOB CONN / THE TIMES RECORD TOPSHAM

The Mt. Ararat High School sports scene is a familiar one with a new coach (Mike Bishop, boys ice hockey), some improved numbers and a boat load of optimism.

Ice hockey

New coach Mike Bishop takes over for Mike Abreu after the Eagles finished 4-12-2 last year.

Mt. Ararat opens on Dec. 10 versus Westbrook 7:45 p.m. at Sidney J. Watson Arena.

“I feel that we have two solid forward lines and four good defensemen, so I am confident,” said Bishop, who boasts players from Mt. Ararat and Lisbon in the second season of the high school hockey partnership.

Junior goaltender Zach O’Connor will man the cage after the graduation of Chris McIntire and Cameron Van Vlack, the latter of whom passed away during the summer in a car accident. Also, Neal Burgess, Phil Maloney and Tyler Geyer graduated.

Returning senior forwards for the Eagles are Justin Grant (Lisbon), Josh Richards and Zach Pratt, juniors Eric Stuckey, Evan Tome and Allan Leech, along with sophomores Jeremy Williams, Jason Kenney and Zach Hamlin. Newcomers on the forward line include seniors Cole Lloyd ( transfer from Brunswick) and Connor Toothaker, junior Reid Drouin, sophomore Brett Gravel of Lisbon and freshman Ben Bishop, who is also the backup goaltender.

On the defensive end, seniors Ian Pinette, Thomas Gross and Shauna Williams, juniors Shane Cyr (Lisbon) and Logan McGwire (Lisbon), and sophomore Bru Abreu are joined by newcomers Taylor Pare (junior) and Tyler O’Connor (freshman).

The Eagles will play a Tier II schedule. Teams like Camden Hills (Dec. 14), Windham (Jan. 7), Bonny Eagle ( Feb. 11) and Lake Region (Feb. 18) replace top tier teams like Lewiston, St. Dom’s, Bangor and Biddeford on the schedule.

“I’m good with the schedule,” said coach Bishop, whose squad takes on rival Brunswick on Dec. 29 and Jan. 19. “Getting pounded by a Lewiston 11-1 doesn’t do either team any good, so I expect a majority of our games to be in the 4-2 range. We are capable of beating the teams we will play and they will be capable of beating us. Teams like Westbrook and Windham are like us.”

“The key for us will be for our forwards to live up to their potential,” added the first year coach. We’re not big, but we’re skilled, and if we can put the puck the net, our defensive and goaltending is good enough for us to have success.”

Boys basketball

Aaron Watson’s charges went 10-8 and earned the sixth seed in Eastern Maine Class A, losing to Edward Little 66-48 in quarterfinal play.

Mt. Ararat opens Dec. 9 at home against Edward Little.

This a team that hopefully will improve as time goes on as Watson welcomes nine newcomers. He has no returning juniors and sophomores.

“The preseason is going good, but we’ve only had a handful of practices,” said Watson, whose charges competed in the Greely tournament over the weekend. “We’re working on our rebounding and defensive intensity. We’re small, so if we don’t hit the boards teams are going to take advantage of us.”

Returning seniors include DJ Cole ( G), Josh Wright ( G), Brandon Johansen (G) and Brett Martin (F).

Newcomers include seniors Tyler Charron (G), Joey Van Note (G) and Ben Rogers, juniors Zach Greene, Brian Johnson, Alex LaPierre, Gabe Pelletier, Tyler Roberts and Jason Tome, and freshman Mason Griffin.

“We’re going to have to do a lot of the little things and we have kids who will do the dirty work like take charges, get on the floor for loose balls,” added Watson. “ We shoot pretty well from the arc and I want us to pick up the defensive intensity. We can go 10-deep and not see much of a drop-off, so I want to see that intensity and aggressiveness out on the floor.”

The schedule hasn’t changed much and is competitive with the likes of Oxford Hills, Brunswick and Edward Little, with Hampden and Brewer thrown in the mix.

“This conference is so even ... last year we thought there was parity, but there wasn’t,” offered Watson. “This year there is and anybody can beat anybody on any given night and it wouldn’t be a surprise.”

Girls basketball

Kelly LaFountain returns after guiding the Eagles to a 9-9 record. Mt. Ararat lost to Hampden Academy 47-27 in Eastern A quarterfinal action.

Returning seniors include Molly Estes (F) and Leah Hitchcock (F), while juniors are Chelsea Crawford (G), Micaela Mitchell (G/F), Mallory Nelson (F), Kristi Willey (G/F).

The lone returning sophomore is Caitlin LaFountain (G/F).

Newcomers includes sophomores Sierra Gilley (G) and Brigitte Milliken (F) and freshmen Lindsey Cornelison (F), Katie Labbay (G) and Olivia Swan (G).

Willey and Nelson were top scorers, while Nelson and Estes did the bulk of the rebounding last year.

“Our preseason has gone well so far,” said LaFountan. “We had the opportunity to play two of the top teams in the West recently to see how we stack up. Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do but we are very excited about the potential this group has.

“ The coaching staff has put a great deal of emphasis on defense and rebounding at this point,” added LaFountain. “Offensively, we hope to have many weapons, making it difficult for other teams to defend us.”

The Eagles’ depth and versatility could be a big bonus down the stretch.

“Our major strength will be having several players capable of playing inside and outside on the perimeter, creating match-up problems for other teams,” said LaFountain. “We have some speed, so we will look to press and run more.

“We will need to make good decisions and keep our turnovers down especially with an up-tempo style game. Our schedule is what it is. It would have been nice to play everyone, but we still have some very tough point-worthy games which will help our quest for the playoffs.

“We are really looking forward to the start of the regular season,” offered LaFountain. “We hope to play a very exciting brand of basketball that will be fun for the players and fun to watch. It is certainly shaping up to be another interesting year in the KVAC with many upsets and surprises on the way so stay tuned.”

Wrestling

The traditional season began Dec. 3 with the Westlake Tournament in Bath and Erick Jensen again is the head coach.

Last year, Jake Oh (145) and Malcolm

Marshall (152) took home individual titles as the Eagles took fifth in Class A. Also, Sam Oh was third at 130 and Iven Leet fourth at the heavyweight division. The Eagles went 15-7 in the regular season.

Brunswick’s Jared Jensen, who wrestles with Mt. Ararat, won the 130-pound division and posted a 39-1 record.

The lone returning senior is Corey Allen (113), while the junior class has Danny Ewing (145), Felipe Gunter ( 132), Jacob Kenny ( 106), Chad Pine (220), Zach Gray (170) and Jared Jensen (152).

Returning sophomore is Levi Yeaton (132).

Newcomers include freshmen George Berry ( 106), Colin Blake (126), Nate Brewer (170), E. Connor Dailey ( 112), Adam Ewing ( 126), Emory Hudson (120), Noah Kenny (106) and Pierce Knorr (220), senior Max Mondonedo (285), junior Joey Burr ( 160) and managers Maddy Dumont and Madison Yeaton.

“It has been a very young group of kids, but working hard with a great attitude,” said Erick Jensen. “They are hungry to learn and eager to get better. Many of the younger kids will get a lot of varsity experience this year. Because of our youth it has been great having Felipe, Corey, and Jared step up and lead the team.

“We will be very competitive in tournaments. Leading newcomers, Max Mondonedo and Joey Burr will do very well. Both are very athletic and picking up things quickly. Zach Gray has shown tremendous improvement also.

“Jacob Kenny, Danny Ewing and Chad Pine all are returning starters from last year and should improve on a very good season in 2010/11. We are going to be rebuilding this year, but with nine freshman and sophomores we have a great base to build on.

“We wrestle all the best tournaments to face the toughest competition. Our goal is to see everyone we might face in the state tournament. We will take some lumps early but this team will improve and be ready by regionals and states.”

Swimming

Mike Smith (boys, 11th year) and Tracy Doviak ( girls, sixth year) headline this group which opens Dec. 9 at Camden Hills. In state meet action, the girls were seventh with Celia Ouellette taking second in the 50 free and Kristi Snipe winning the diving with 330.35 points. The boys were 15th overall.

“ We have another strong team evolving this year with several new swimmers on both our boys and girls team,” said Smith. “As a team we would like to see each and every swimmer meet their personal goals this season. It is also looking like we will have several opportunities to see many of our swimmers participate at states in both individual and relay events.

“Our team represents a wide variety of swimming abilities and as a team we continue to support and encourage each other to improve and succeed while learning a lifelong skill and having some fun in the process.

The boys have 17 swimmers with seniors Jameson Bryant, Alex Cornwall, Ben Davis, Tim Prindall, William McCorkle, Howard Lin and Zach Ormsby, and sophomore Ben Wade.

Newcomers include Ethan Foss, Alex Sharpe, Ben Volk, Josh Ferguson, Sam and Joe Ashouwak, Dylan Michaud, Caleb Grant and Ismael Thadal.

The girl have nearly 30 out, including seniors Becca Lewis, Abby Parker, Amanda Patchell, Anna Pertel, Catie Tringali, Kayla Chamberlain and Jade Green and juniors Celia Ouellette, Hannah Kincaid and Kasey Gerencer.

Newcomers are Sarah Hill, Amanda Levesque, Carrie Smith, Larissa Blair, Sara Berry, Destiny Diver, Kaelin Fischer, Fallon Fitzpatrick, Gina Graziano, Brittini Littleford, Sage Mahar, Kelly Murphy, Libby Ouellette, Kristen Sullivan, Nicole Labbay, Alicia Thurston, Abigail Austin, Morgan Chase and Skye Davis.

“As the number of swimmers on our team increases, our enthusiasm continues to grow,” added Smith.

“ For the boys, the senior class continues to be the staple. Increased numbers in the underclassmen, allows us to look forward to having this depth for the next couple years. Boys team should be able to hold its own and the large size will help us in many meets. Anchored by the seniors, we are looking to improve as the season comes along, culminating in a really nice finish in the KVAC and numerous placings at States. It will be a fun and enjoyable season watching these athletes grow.

“ The girls increased numbers from the last couple years. Team will be anchored by Celia Ouellette, Hannah Kincaid, Catie Tringali and Abby Parker, as the coaches look to their leadership to grow this young team. A nice group of sophomore/ freshman swimmers coming up to meld with the veterans should bring some interesting relay combinations as we build on last year’s state accomplishments.

“Girls team should show improvement with the large underclassmen participation. Looking forward to some nice podium placings in individual and relay events.”

“ The KVAC meets are always must-sees,” continued Smith. “It is the final meet of the season for 80 percent of the athletes in the league. The effort the athletes put out at those meets are phenomenal. Morse continues to be the powerhouse while Messalonskee, Brunswick, and Lewiston are always strong with many athletes. The enthusiasm at the KVAC Championship is something our athletes and coaches look forward to. Watching your athletes grow throughout the year, finally culminating with a personal best is gratifying as a coach.”

Indoor track

Longtime coach Diane Fournier returns. The girls were fourth in State Class A meet and boys second.

McKenzie Gary was a triple winner: long jump (22-01.25), 55-meter dash ( 6.62) and 200 ( 22.33), while Andy Reifman-Packett was second in the mile ( 4: 31.83) and Joey Fournier second in the pole vault (12-0). For the girls, Randi London won the shot put (38-0) and Colby Gail was second in the high jump (5- 06).

The Eagles open at the Bowdoin Relays on Dec. 17.

Boys include seniors Andy Reifman Packett (distance, relays), Nick Oram ( middle distance, relays), McKenzie Gary ( sprints, jumps, relays), Robert Cornelison (shots, sprints), Nathan Jackson (sprints, relays), Nathan Bryant (distance, relays), Tim Brown (pole vault, hurdles), Seth Bryant (distance, relays), Greg Kristzman ( PV, hurdles, relays), Jonathan Brown (hurdles, sprints, relays); juniors Steve Fisher (shot, sprints), Colton Byrne (hurdles, sprints, relays), Nate Berger (sprints, relays), Danny Catlin (distance, relays), Zach Brownlee (sprints, relays), Will Hirnak (distance, relays), Kevin Nolan (sprints, relays), Ryan Smith ( middle distance, relays); sophomores Caleb Hall (shot, sprints), Sam Hamilton ( sprints, relays), Ellison Etnier ( sprints, relays), Dominic Burch (shot put, sprints), Riley Kons (shot, sprints), Ty Veno ( sprints), Alex Laurelez (sprints, jumps, relays), Matt Laurelez ( sprints, jumps, relays), Justin Pierce (HJ, relays), Jake Papa (distance, relays), Charlie Lavan (shot, sprints), Nick Rancourt ( sprints, relays), Nick Rogers (sprints, relays), Deshaun Ulrickson, ( shot, sprints, relays); freshmen Staycen Lamarre (sprints, relays, jumps), Chris Giroux ( sprits, relays), Mike Molelo ( hurdles, sprints), Andrew McCracken (PV, sprints, relays), Charlie Crosby ( jumps, sprints, relays), Michael Tran (shot, relays).

Girls include seniors Rowley Jones (sprints, relays), Darine Gnidhour ( sprints, middle distances) Jenny Fogg (distance, relays), Alicia Eggleston ( sprints, distances); juniors Sydni Clark (hurdles, jumps, relays), Hannah Moutal (sprints, relays), Lauren McNett (distance, relays), Kara O’Neal (sprints, jumps, relays), Lizzie O’Neal ( hurdles, sprints, relays), Amy Segars (sprints, middle distance), Maddison Prescott (sprints, jumps, relays), Lizzie Swanholm (distance, relays), Tracey Tran ( hurdles, sprints, relays); sophomores Kim Leslie (sprints, relays), Kelly Lynch (distance, relays), Katie Frizzle (shot, sprints), Emma Chase ( sprints, relays), Kathleen Bodmer (sprints, hurdles, HJ), Caterine Johnson (hurdles, sprints, relays), Liz Kneebone ( hurdles, distance, relays), Danielle Krause (distance, shot), Nicole Ross (sprints, jumps, relays), Kim Richards ( sprints, jumps, relays), Bailey Sullivan (sprints, relays); freshmen Lauren Grant (sprints, relays), Alison Nolan (distance, relays), Alyssa Scannevin (sprints, jumps, relays) and Devon Drew (hurdles, sprints).

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