(Ed. Note: This story will appear in our July 12 northern print edition)

Male Athlete of the Year:

JAKE BURNS, Junior—Track


* WMC All-Conference, second-team, 300 hurdles

Burns was one of the feel-good stories in the sport this spring, far exceeding expectations while turning heads at the conference, state and even regional level. He kept getting better and was very impressive at the end of the season, helping the Panthers to yet another high state meet finish.

Burns is from Falmouth. He came to NYA in the sixth grade and started indoor track as a freshman (leaving basketball), outdoor track as a sophomore (saying goodbye to lacrosse) and cross country as a junior (switching from soccer).

Last spring, Burns was 11th in the state in the 300 hurdles. Indoors this winter, he finished 10th at the Class B state meet in the 400, but everything came together this season.

Burns attributed coach Chris Mazzurco’s suggestion that he run the 400 indoors for his 300 hurdles success this outdoor season. Burns also took part in the 110 hurdles and both the 400 and 1,600 relays. In the conference season opener, Burns won the 300 hurdles and was second in the 110 hurdles.

By the big end-of-season meets, Burns was ready to shine. At the Western Maine Conference championships, he was runner-up in Division II in the 300 hurdles and after coming in fifth in the preliminaries, moved up to third in the finals of the 110 hurdles.

At states, where NYA fell 2.5 points shy of a team title, Burns had a similar performance, moving up from seventh in the 110 prelims to fifth in the finals and placing third in the 300 hurdles. He also ran the opening leg for the 400 relay champions and was part of a runner-up 1,600 relay squad.

Burns capped the year by coming in 11th in the 300 hurdles at New Englands.

“I like the track culture and team experience,” said Burns. “I’m intense on the track. I apply that in practice and in meets.”

Burns is also part of the NYA Kiva Club and started an Upper School Rock Band, in which he plays guitars and provides vocals. Looking ahead, Burns hopes to get his 300 hurdles time under 40 seconds and make a run at the conference record. He’s looking at Division III schools and wants to compete in track in college.

If he continues his upward trajectory, the sky will be the limit. Burns penned quite a tale this spring.

Coach Chris Mazzurco’s comment: “Jake had a phenomenal season on the track. As a hurdler, his focus in practice and drive to improve yielded results that surprised all of us all the way up to and through the New England championships. He constantly improved his times to become one of the best hurdlers in the state. Even more impressive was his ability to perform well in four events every single meet. Jake is a team-first runner whose pride in his performance is measured first and foremost by how many points he earns for the team and then measured against his personal time goals. In the end, his time in the 300 hurdles at New Englands was leaps and bounds faster than his time from the state meet, which in turn was leaps and bounds faster than his career best going into states, both of which smashed the previous school record and set the bar high for an exciting season for Jake next year.”

2011 winner: Ryan Salerno (Baseball)

2010 winner: Henry Sterling (Track)

2009 winner: Sam Fear (Track)

2008 winner: Henry Gleason (Lacrosse)

2007 winner: Than Wellin (Lacrosse)

2006 winner: Michael Moody (Track)

2005 winner: Peter Gerrity (Lacrosse)

2004 winner: Brian Chin (Track)

2003 winner: Matt Curran (Baseball)

2002 winner: Matt Fortin (Track)

Female Athlete of the Year:

SARAH JORDAN, Senior—Tennis


* WMC All-Conference, first-team, singles

* Team’s MVP

* Spring Athletic Council Award winner

* Captain

Jordan capped a triumphant high school career with a very competitive season against some of the finest players in the state.

Jordan is from Bath. She started playing tennis at the age of eight and played four years on the varsity team at NYA, helping the Panthers to Class C state championships her freshman and sophomore seasons at the No. 3 singles position. She moved up to second singles as a junior and this spring, took over the top spot.

Jordan had the daunting task of going up against the best players in the Western Maine Conference, indeed some of the finest anywhere in Maine. Jordan, who plays year-round at Maine Pines, more than held her own, posting a record of 5-6. Highlights included a win over Emily White of eventual Class C champion Waynflete and winning four games against Falmouth standout Annie Criscione. Jordan also made it to the Round of 32 in the state singles tournament before losing to eventual champion, Maisie Silverman of Brunswick.

Over her four-years as a Panther, Jordan boasted a record of 52-17. She never missed a countable match, regular or postseason.

Jordan not only made the all-conference first-team, but also was named her team’s MVP and won the Spring Athletic Council Award.

Jordan also ran cross country in the fall and sprinted indoors in the winter. She was a member of NYA’s Steel Drum Band and the Math team. Jordan will attend Carleton College in Minnesota next year.

NYA’s girls’ tennis program has a rich tradition with no shortage of special players. Jordan belongs among that group as her four-year effort was something to behold.

Coach Lorena Coffin’s comment: “Sarah has been a wonderful asset to the girls’ tennis team for the past four years and will be greatly missed next year. She is a quiet, dependable leader with lots of determination, tennis skill, and incredible footwork and endurance while always displaying the utmost top sportsmanship.”

2011 winner: Katie Cawley (Lacrosse)

2010 winner: Courtney Dumont (Lacrosse)

2009 winner: Thu-Trang Ho (Tennis)

2008 winner; Kayte Demont (Track)

2007 winner: Erin Lachance (Lacrosse)

2006 winner: Meghan Meintel (Lacrosse)

2005 winner: Molly Moss (Lacrosse)

2004 winner: Kristen Lothes (Tennis)

2003 winner: Jenny Kendall (Tennis)

2002 winner: Emma Harper (Track)

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

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