2012-04-10 / Sports

Coaching changes key Wolverines

Wiscasset HS spring sports preview
BY GEORGE ALMASI & BOB CONN Times Record Staff


WISCASSET HIGH SCHOOL girls tennis coach Sue Shorey works with freshman Hannah Wellborn during a practice. Shorey returned to coaching this year after retiring in 2010. 
BOB CONN / THE TIMES RECORD WISCASSET HIGH SCHOOL girls tennis coach Sue Shorey works with freshman Hannah Wellborn during a practice. Shorey returned to coaching this year after retiring in 2010. BOB CONN / THE TIMES RECORD WISCASSET — One is a longtime coach who took a year off, and the other relocated all the way from California to Maine to take over a struggling program.

Sue Shorey and Claire Daniels are definitely on opposite plains when it comes to coaching experience, with Shorey, after a 37-year teaching career at Wiscasset High School, returning to lead the Wolverines’ girls tennis team, while Daniels takes over for Al Gray to run the Wiscasset softball team.

Both face a difficult task, with the softball team finishing 3-13 last season and the girls tennis team going 0-12.

Girls tennis

“I retired (in 2010) and thought it would be nice to make a clean break, and I took the year off, but last year’s coach (Chris Taylor) decided to not come back and I didn’t want (senior and No. 1 singles player) Abby Foster to have three coaches during her fouryear career here,” said Shorey of why she returned to coaching this year. “I told Abby I wouldn’t have come back if it wasn’t for her, so her being here made a big difference. The other kids really didn’t know me, but she was able to tell them how I coached.”

“It is really nice because I have enjoyed her coaching,” said Foster. “She has helped me to get my skills to where they are today. She always knows exactly what to say and knows what you’re doing wrong.”

Shorey has worked hard with her young team in improving their skills, with many first-timers starting from scratch.

“We have worked on all the basics, basically going through everything, and now I am seeing them starting to put it all together, something that is tough in just three weeks,” said Shorey. “I’m just trying to get them the skills to start to enjoy the game and understand it. It’s more than just hitting the ball over the net. There is a strategy involved.”

As for Foster and returning senior Emma Corwin (No. 2 singles), Shorey expects them to continue to grow as tennis players.

“For Abby and Emma, it’s different. It’s a team sport, but it is individual as well, and Abby and Emma are our top two senior singles players and they expect to do well,” said Shorey, whose Wolverines open at Mt. Abram on April 20. “ Truly, I missed being around the kids, and tennis is such a great sport. My hope is we can have fun and grow as the year goes on.”

Shorey has no juniors, with sophomores Alexa Burns ( doubles) and Sarah Hanley ( No. 3 singles), and freshmen newcomers Maeve Carlson, Miranda McIntire, Julia West, Hannah Wellborn and Hanna Foye competing for varsity playing time.

“We want to get some wins this year,” said Foster. “Hopefully, I’ll win some more matches than I won last year. Last year I was a junior, playing the top singles spot after the seniors had left, so this year I hope it will be more equal.”

Softball

At first glance, onlookers might think Daniels, who is from San Diego, is one of the Wiscasset softball players. But, once she begins teaching a sport she has played since the age of four, there is no doubt she has a plan in place for the Wolverines.

“I am teaching new techniques and trying to fix old styles while bringing newer and easier ways to play,” said the new coach, who works as a fulltime nanny in Brunswick before heading to Wiscasset to coach her new team. “This team had a lot of unnecessary habits, so we are working on that. But, I have seen some good players out here and I think we can be competitive.

“I want them to understand the game better and not just swing for the fence. We are bringing in upper-level plays, good high school plays, and not just throwing the ball around the field willy-nilly.”

As far as coming to the East Coast after spending her entire life in California, Daniels says her reason for coming to Maine were because of her parents, who relocated recently to the Pine Tree state.

“They moved here and I wanted to be closer to them, so heading to Maine was something I decided to do,” said Daniels, who answered an ad in the hopes of becoming a varsity softball coach. “I saw in the paper that Boothbay and Wiscasset was hiring and I went for it. I was fortunate to get the job here.”

Seniors Carolyn Footer (third base) and Sydney Morin (pitcher) return to the fold, along with juniors Rebecca Moody ( outfield), Megan Corson (infield/pitcher) and Heidi Pinkham (IF/P). Returning sophomores are Bri Goud (catcher) and Hannah Campbell (C/3B).

The newcomers are juniors Annalisa Haase (3B/shortstop), Mckenzie Chancellor (first base); sophomore Abby Dunn (P/ IF); and freshmen Charlene Reed (OF), Courtney Curtis (OF), Kayla Gordon (SS), Tylan Onorato (second base) and Hannah Malloy (C/OF).

So far, Daniels has seen improvement from her squad, with the season opener slated for April 20 at Hall-Dale.

“These girls have already improved so much. The pitchers are throwing four pitches instead of just two, they are fielding the ball better and hitting the ball. I am surprised about that, but pleased to see it,” said Daniels. “I’m hoping the girls get off to a good start so mentally they are in a good place. For me, I just want to build them up.”

Baseball

Last season, the Wolverines ran off 13 wins, but fell in the Western Maine Class quarterfinals to Waynflete, 5-1.

Coach Todd Souza lost just three players, but each played key roles on the squad.

“Mason Brewer ate up a lot of innings on the mound and was our catcher, and Ryan Segovia and Ashton Benn were solid during their careers, so replacing them is a big job,” said Souza, who returns a solid core of seniors. “We have seven kids who can pitch, but with just 13 players on the roster, a key will be to stay healthy.”

Senior captains Jason Weatherbee (P/3B) and Devin Grover (P/C) are expected to lead, along with classmates Cory Hodgdon (C/2B), James Andretta (CF) and Brandon Bailey (3B). Juniors Eddie Stewart (SS), Zach Ellison (UT) and sophomore Chandler Longfellow (P/2B/OF) also return.

Senior newcomers are James Grover (OF), Jacob Cavaso (LF), Caleb Bryant (UT), and Alex Cromwell (UT), with freshman Dylan McMahon (1B/P) expected to see playing time.

“We’ll be solid, with great team chemistry, but it all comes down to how well we play on defense,” said Souza. “You have to make the plays and not give teams more than three outs to have success.”

Souza, whose squad opens at Hall- Dale on April 20, feels teams that were young last year will contend.

“I expect young teams from Monmouth and Lisbon to be good, but the league is definitely well-balanced. Just about anyone can win on a given day,” said Souza.

Boys tennis

When Chris Hammond looked at the sign-ups coming into the season, he was at first concerned, with only two players returning to a squad that finished winless in 12 matches last year.

However, once stepping onto the court, he quickly felt refreshed.

“I am reenergized because we have some good, young talent, and each of them are willing to learn,” said Hammond. “Right now, the entire lineup is up in the air. In fact, match to match, things could and probably will change. I feel this team will get better as they learn, and I’m excited for the future.

Returning sophomores Andrew Walton and Matt Johnson are the “veterans” on the team, with six newcomers battling for starting spots.

Senior John West, sophomores Nate Panarese and Logan Grover, and freshmen Camden Reise, Andrew Corson and Mason Whitaker appear to be even as the opening match at home against Mt. Abram (April 20) nears.

“I have no expectations. We are just trying to have fun and be realistic,” said Hammond. “Last year, we finished with just five players, so we don’t have a lot of experience. I do expect teams like Monmouth and Dirigo to be strong again, with us just trying to improve match to match.”

Track

The Wolverines and coach Warren Cossette have no grand plans of being able to win the Mountain Valley Conference championship or state title this year. That’s something reserved for big teams from Spruce Mountain and Lisbon, according to the coach.

But, Cossette, whose tracksters open with a home meet against Lisbon, Winthrop and St. Dom’s on Thursday, expects his athletes to dot the podium as the season concludes.

“With our low numbers due to school enrollment, we look to compete at the individual levels,” said Cossette. “ Last year, due to the strong positive leadership from the seniors, we achieved at a high level. We have great kids and hope to continue working hard and improving.

“I expect this team to work very hard to accomplish their individual and team goals. We are very lucky to have the positive attitude that these young people bring to the program.”

Returning to the fold are seniors Ricky Cost (javelin) and Michaela Thibeault ( hurdles, 100, 200), and juniors Joe Chapman (long jump, 4 x 100 relay, 100, 4 x 400 relay), Kyle Shute (1,600, 3,200), Cormac Walsh (discus, javelin, shot put), Jon Rines (discus, javelin, shot put) and Alyssa Urquhart (1,600, 3,200).

Sophomore Ali Lambert (running events), and freshmen Dale Peaslee (various events) and Alecia Faulkingham (running) are the newcomers.

sports@timesrecord.com

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