RYAN BAKER, Junior-Soccer

  • WMC Class C/D all-star, first-team

  • Team MVP

  • Captain

Baker played an integral role for a Panthers squad which remained competitive despite challenging circumstances this fall.

Baker is a throwback three-sport athlete, focusing on soccer in the fall, hockey in the winter and lacrosse, which he calls his favorite, in the spring. Baker, who lives in Brunswick, came to NYA in the eighth grade. He joined the soccer team and showed promise as a freshman and as a sophomore, Baker continued to make his presence felt, but it was this fall that he took the next step and became an all-star.

Baker, a striker, scored a team-high eight goals and added six assists this season, helping the Panthers hold their own against a very difficult schedule and remain in playoff contention until the final day. Highlights included scoring the winning goal in a season-opening victory over Sacopee Valley, a goal in a tie versus Wells, the tying and winning goal in an overtime win over St. Dom’s and a goal and an assist in a season-ending victory over St. Dom’s.

“We could have made a deep playoff run, but it just didn’t go our way,” Baker said. I love the team aspect of soccer. It’s great conditioning for other sports. I have a drive for winning. There’s just something about the feeling of winning.”

Baker also plays in NYA’s Steel Drum Band. He hopes to eventually play hockey or lacrosse in college.

Don’t bet against him. Ryan Baker, North Yarmouth Academy’s Fall Male Athlete of the Year, has demonstrated he’s willing to do whatever it takes to succeed on and off the pitch.

Coach Martyn Keen’s comment: “Ryan was a leader on and off the field and he also went that extra yard to ensure he fulfilled his role. He was usually the first to show up and the last to leave. He played through pain and discomfort and he never let his own head down nor did he allow the younger players to become discouraged by disappointing results. He was a huge positive influence on the team and the coaching staff from day one of preseason. He would push himself to be the first on the conditioning runs, achieve more reps on the strength exercises and get the most touches on the ball in the footwork drills. He was a vocal leader and the voice of encouragement for the younger players and he set the bar for them all to follow.”

Prior winners:

2016 Jeremy Thelven (soccer)

2015 Thomas Pitts (soccer)

2014 D.J. Nicholas (soccer)

2013 Jackson Cohan-Smith (soccer)

2012 Matt Malcom (cross country)

2011 Cam Regan (cross country)

2010 Cam Regan (cross country)

2009 Tim Millett (golf)

2008 Henry Sterling (soccer)

2007 Taylor Gorman (soccer)

2006 James Sterling (golf)

2005 Sean Lynch (soccer)

2004 Nathaniel Bishop (soccer)

2003 Luke Welch (soccer)

2002 Sam Crocker (cross Country)

2001 Colin Minte (soccer)


JORDAN ACKERMAN, Senior-Volleyball

  • Class C All-State

  • WMC all-star, second-team

  • Coach’s Award winner

  • Athletic Council Award winner

  • Captain

Ackerman played a critical role in NYA’s ascendance and capped her high school career by stuffing the stat sheet and leading the Panthers back to the playoffs.

Ackerman, who lives in Standish and came to NYA for the fifth grade, took up volleyball as a freshman and took to it immediately.

“I liked volleyball right away,” Ackerman said. “I caught on pretty quickly and the seniors helped me. I love the team aspect and I really love hitting. I’m pretty competitive. I like to win and to get better.”

Ackerman, an outside hitter, swung on to the varsity team as a freshman and helped NYA improve from three wins her first year to eight as a sophomore and to a program-best 12 as a junior.

This fall, the Panthers made the playoffs for the third year in a row, as Ackerman led the Panthers in hitting, kills and receiving. She was also second in aces, ball handling and digs. Ackerman finished second in Class C and third in the state with 86 aces, converted 85 percent of her serves, was second in Class C with 128 kills and sixth in Class C with 160 digs. NYA got to the Class C quarterfinals, but lost to Narraguagus.

“I liked being in the captain’s role and helping out the younger girls after being in that position when I was a freshman,” Ackerman said.

Ackerman also plays center on the girls’ hockey team and pitches in the spring on the softball team. She wants to play volleyball in college and plans to study graphic design.

Jordan Ackerman, NYA’s Fall Female Athlete of the Year, will long be remembered for her role in helping the Panthers become a top contender, doing a little of everything on the court along the way.

Coach Nora Krainis’ comment: “Since her sophomore year, Jordan has led the varsity team in multiple statistical categories. She has an incredible work ethic and leads by example in skills, dedication, positivity, attitude and coachability. She remains consistent, level-headed and encouraging when the competition is intense and is a loyal friend to her teammates. Jordan has been invaluable to the team. Her work ethic and consistency over the past four years and her leadership over the past two, have brought her to this place.”

Prior winners:

2016 Savannah Shaw (field hockey)

2015 Linnea Hull (field hockey)

2014 Elizabeth Coughlin (field hockey)

2013 Kayla Rose (field hockey)

2012 Jen Brown (field hockey)

2011 Katherine Millett (field hockey)

2010 Katherine Millett (field hockey)

2009 Courtney Dumont (soccer)

2008 Nicole Fuller (field hockey)

2007 Allie Tocci (field hockey)

2006 Alex Mack (soccer)

2005 Zoe Filliter (cross country)

2004 Elizabeth Werley-Prieto (field hockey)

2003 Abby Hamilton (field hockey)

2002 Rachael Blanchard (cross country)

2001 Kelsey Wilcox (soccer)

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