Junior Nate Mullen and his Cape Elizabeth boys’ basketball teammates are back to chase the state title they narrowly missed out on a year ago. File photo.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Jim Ray (26th year, 342-172 overall record, one state championship)

2018-19 record: 14-8 (Lost, 49-47, in double-overtime to Caribou in Class B state final)

Top returning players: Jack Bassett (Senior), Liam Concannon (Senior), Nolan Smith (Senior), Nate Mullen (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 6 @ Yarmouth, Dec. 10 @ Waynflete, Dec. 14 FREEPORT, Dec. 20 @ Greely, Dec. 28 FALMOUTH, Jan. 2 @ York, Jan. 7 WAYNFLETE, Jan. 11 YORK, Jan. 14 WELLS, Jan. 20 GREELY, Jan. 28 YARMOUTH, Jan. 30 @ Wells

Coach’s comment: “I love our guys. They have a lot to learn, but they’re learning and they’re willing to learn. From a coach’s perspective, you can’t ask for much more than that. We’re very unselfish and we have a lot of tough guys. Everyone is working to earn minutes and provide depth. I believe a team can overachieve and this team will have to overachieve. You have to have the right chemistry. It’s about being the best team, not the team with the most talent.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: A year ago, in an unforgettable game against Caribou in a dramatic setting, Cape Elizabeth came as close as you come to winning a championship without bringing home the hardware. The Capers then graduated big man extraordinaire Andrew Hartel and several other top players and while it might take some time to round back into title contention, the pieces are place for another memorable campaign.

The Capers will rely on their heart and defense in the early going this season. Bassett and Smith are captains and will be top guards, along with Concannon. Mullen will play point guard. Senior Justin Strout and freshman Evan Reeves bring size to the equation. Sophomore Will Bowe (perhaps you’re familiar with the surname?) could step in and make his mark as a player who can make a difference as a guard or forward.

Class B South doesn’t have a heavy favorite this winter, which means Cape Elizabeth has an opportunity to steadily improve, then be primed to make a run in the tournament. It’s a time-tested principle that could result in a happier ending than a year ago.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Senior Isabel Berman will be a top contributor for Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ basketball team this season. File photo.

Coach: Chris Casterella (13th year, 85-142 overall record)

2018-19 record: 9-11 (Lost, 49-42, in overtime, to Freeport in Class B South semifinals)

Top returning players: Isabel Berman (Senior), Karli Chapin (Senior), Alison Gerety (Junior), Emily Goulding (Junior), Emily Supple (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 6 YARMOUTH, Dec. 12 @ Freeport, Jan. 14 @ Wells, Jan. 17 GRAY-NG, Jan. 20 @ Greely, Jan. 28 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 31 WELLS

Coach’s comment: “We’re competing. We return five varsity players who had all summer together. We have athleticism and kids who work hard, but not a lot of size. Our strength is scoring balance and defense. We’ll get better every day. We’re in the mix. Our goal is to get in the tournament and if we do, history says that’s we play our best.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth nearly made an improbable run to the regional final a year ago, but dropped an overtime heartbreaker to Freeport. Regardless, last season was yet another feather in Casterella’s coaching cap, as she got the very most out of an unheralded group. Look for the Capers to hang around and make life difficult for the favorites again this season.

While all-star Brooke Harvey and other graduated seniors will be missed, this year’s group has a solid core. Berman averaged 8.2 points per game in 2018-19 and is a top returner at guard. She’s joined by Chapin, who is a big game performer without peer (just ask Cape Elizabeth’s soccer and lacrosse opponents). Supple will handle the ball at point guard. In the front-court, Gerety and Goulding have experience. Freshman Megan Connolly is primed to step in and make an impact.

Cape Elizabeth will have to work hard for everything it accomplishes, but the Capers are no strangers to doing that. While Freeport, Wells and Yarmouth are viewed as the favorites in Class B South, none of those squads will want to see Cape Elizabeth with the season on the line. The Capers are once again capable of doing special and surprising things.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Senior Matt Laughlin is a top returner for Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ hockey team. File photo.

Coach: Jake Rutt (second year)

2018-19 record: 15-6 (Lost, 9-4, to Greely in Class B South Final)

Top returning players: Andrew Carroll (Senior), Matt Laughlin (Senior), Gavin Simopoulos (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 19 GREELY, Jan. 2 @ Cheverus, Jan. 4 @ York, Jan. 9 @ South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport, Jan. 16 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 20 @ Yarmouth, Jan. 23 @ Portland/Deering, Feb. 6 YARMOUTH, Feb. 8 @ Biddeford, Feb. 17 @ Greely

Coach’s comment: “We have 13 freshman and we expect more than a half dozen to contribute to a successful season at the varsity level. We have a very young team, but we have a lot of potential. We will be a very gritty, hard-working team that will have more depth as the season progresses.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth has been regional runners-up two years running and the Capers, despite having to blend in an infusion of younger players, will remain a top contender in Class B South this winter.

Simopoulos was a second-team league all-star a year ago after scoring 20 goals and adding 21 assists. He’ll anchor the offense this season along with Laughlin (14 goals, 18 assists) and Carroll (12 goals, six assists). Freshmen Connor Goss and Nick Laughlin will also be heard from. Carroll is a top defender. He’s joined by freshman Phil Coupe and Nick Laughlin will see time back there as well. Sophomore Otto Cook-Sharp and freshmen Will Depke and Charlie Garvin were vying for the goalie position at press time.

Class B South boasts a lot of good teams and Cape Elizabeth will be tested night-in, night-out, but the talent is there for the Capers to hang tough. If the younger players develop as hoped, Cape Elizabeth will once again be the team best equipped to knock off Greely in the playoffs.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Junior Koto Yamada is a top scorer for the highly-touted Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland girls’ hockey team. File photo.

Coach: Bob Mills (eighth year, 59-73-5 overall record)

2018-19 record: 10-10 (Lost, 1-0, in overtime, to eventual champion Cheverus in South Region semifinals)

Top returning players: Abbey Agrodnia (Junior), Nicoletta Coupe (Junior), Annie Guimond (Junior), Koto Yomada (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 30 @ Scarborough, Jan. 4 @ Lewiston, Jan. 16 LEWISTON, Jan. 18 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 20 @ Cheverus, Jan. 25 SCARBOROUGH

Coach’s comment: “With some incoming new players joining an experienced core group of returning skaters, we look to be competitive in every game this season. Our goal is to make a deep playoff run in February.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op team nearly upset the apple cart a year ago, taking eventual champion Cheverus to overtime in the semifinals before bowing out. This year’s squad might just take the next step. The Capers are off to a great start, downing Greely (8-1), York (6-3), Gorham (9-1) and Falmouth (7-0).

Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP returns a pair of talented forwards, Coupe (six goals, three assists to date) and Yamada (five goals and four assists). A pair of freshmen Bella Schifano (five goals, six assists in early action) and Delaney Whitten (three goals) are promising newcomers. On defense, Agrodnia (two goals, five assists) and Guimond (one goal, two assists) lead the way in front of freshman goalie Abby Steinhagen. Sophomore Katharine Blackburn should see some time in goal (or at forward) as well after returning from injury.

Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP has as good a shot as anyone in the South Region. This could be the best season in program history before all is said and done.

INDOOR TRACK

Darcy Cochran is a premier runner, hurdler and jumper for Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ indoor track team. File photo

Coach: Doug Worthley (24th year)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) tie-20th @ Class B state meet

(Girls) tie-4th @ Class B state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Hajan Carr (Senior), Joe Clancy (Senior), Jack Fibich (Senior), Macgregor Francis (Junior), Keegan O’Grady (Junior), Ricky Perruzzi (Junior), Tyler Rodenberger (Junior), Carter Abrahamsen (Sophomore), Oscar Gustafson (Sophomore), Vaughn Lindenau (Sophomore), Carter Merriam (Sophomore)

(Girls) Darcy Cochran (Senior), Jaya McClure (Senior), Zoe Preble (Senior), Vivian Sullivan (Senior), Isabelle O’Grady (Junior), Sami Olsen (Junior), Cammie Wood (Junior), Marcella Hesser (Sophomore), Camden Woods (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “With 80 percent of the boys’ team is freshmen or sophomores, but we’ll look to do well at the WMC meet. We hope to have six to nine state qualifiers and place in the top 10 in the state. We look strong in the sprints and jumps. We’re excited to see a strong distance team compete. We should be looking at top six in the state.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Both Cape Elizabeth teams figure to be very competitive in the league and should post high finishes at the state meet this winter.

The girls return Cochran, who was a point scoring machine a year ago, winning the Class B title in the 55 hurdles and placing second in both the 55 and triple jump. She’ll excel in the sprints, hurdles and jumps again. Cochran is joined in the sprints and jumps by Olsen (sixth in the 200 last winter), McClure, O’Grady, Preble, Sullivan and Wood. Freshman Charlotte DeGeorge is the top distance threat. She’s joined by juniors Isabel Lane and Johanna Powers and sophomore Virginia Weiss.

The boys’ squad features sprinters/jumpers Abrahamsen, Carr, Fibich, Francis, Gustafson, Merriam, O’Grady and Rodenberger. Lindenau and Perruzzi are experienced distance runners. They’re joined by sophomores Drew Butzel, Hunter Cintron and Owen Patry. Clancy is a top thrower.

SWIMMING

Senior Caroline Mahoney is dominant in the freestyle and backstroke for Cape Elizabeth’s defending Class B champion girls’ swim team. File photo

Coach: Ben Raymond (14th year, six state championships)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) 3rd @ Class B state meet

(Girls) Class B state champions

Top returners:

(Boys) Caden Gilbert (Junior), Charlie Whitney (Junior), Rishi Yadav (Junior), Bodhi Beber (Sophomore), Brendan Connelly (Sophomore), Keegan McKenney (Sophomor), Ethan Smith (Sophomor), Ben Steinberg (Sophomore)

(Girls) Bella Eremita (Senior), Caroline Mahoney (Senior), Christiana Pinette (Senior), Zoe Evans (Junior), Emma Frothingham (Junior), Hannah Leiss (Junior), Ali Bragg (Sophomore), Maddie Mahoney (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The girls hope to continue to build on the success we have had over the past four years. We graduated a ton of talent last year and our seniors have big roles to fill this season both as swimmers and leaders on the team. We expect to compete for another Southwestern championship. as well as another state championship. We feel like we have the talent to be among the best in the state, but we will need some of our seasonal swimmers to step up and score points in our big meets. The boys have high hopes, as we return some very talented swimmers who should all score very high at our championship meets. We should have strong relays as well. We have a huge group of boys, but many are still mastering the strokes and still have a little ways to go. With hard work and focus on the finer points of swimming, we should be able to qualify a few and develop our newer swimmers so that they can help score points in big meets.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth has been dominant in the pool for a long time and that will continue this winter.

The girls’ squad has captured the past three Class B titles and despite being hard-hit by graduation, the Capers have a great chance to make it four. Caroline Mahoney is the reigning state champion in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke and will lead the charge this season. Bragg was runner-up in the 500 free and the 100 breaststroke last winter and looks to move up a spot this time around. Frothingham (fourth in the 200 individual medley, fifth in the 100 butterfly) and Emerita (sixth in the 500 free) are other seasoned veterans. Pinette will be a top diver. Evans competes in all strokes. Leiss will be heard from in the backstroke and freestyle and Maddie Mahoney will look to score in the breaststroke and freestyle. Newcomers to watch include sophomore Julia Olsen (freestyle and backstroke) and freshmen Sally Bakke (backstroke, freestyle), Mimi Esch (fly, freestyle), Dara Smith (freestyle) and Grace Taylor (all strokes). It all adds up to another potential champion, although Greely won’t make things easy.

The boys’ squad returns state champions Smith (fly, as well as a fourth-place finish in the 50 free) and McKenney (500 free, as well as a third-place showing in the IM). They’ll pace this year’s squad. Beber (breaststroke), Connelly (breaststroke, backstroke, freestyle), Gilbert (backstroke and freestyle), Steinberg (freestyle and backstroke), Whitney (freestyle) and Yadav (freestyle) are other veterans. Several newcomers will help the cause. That group includes junior Finn McQueeney (freestyle) and freshmen Ian Plourde (fly, freestyle, IM and backstroke) and Rohan Yadav (IM, backstroke and freestyle).

ALPINE SKIING

Senior Killian Lathrop is the reigning state champion in the slalom. He and his teammates are chasing more hardware this winter. File photo

Coach: Jennifer Lakari (first year)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) Class B state champions

(Girls) 9th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Killian Lathrop (Senior), Tiernan Lathrop (Sophomore), Eoin Murphy (Sophomore)

(Girls) Allie Lynch (Senior), Piper Strunk (Senior), Dana Schwartz (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The boys lost seven seniors from last season’s state champion squad, as well as several others who did not return this year. The Lathrop brothers will lead team and we hope to defend their state championship. With strong leadership mixed with younger talent, the girls should improve on last year’s finish at the state meet.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cape Elizabeth is back to make another run at the top spot in Class B this winter.

The boys are hoping to repeat as state champs and will be tough behind Killian Lathrop, who won the slalom title and was second in the giant slalom a year ago, and Tiernan Lathrop, who placed fifth in both races last season. Murphy also has experience. The Capers don’t have the depth they’ve enjoyed in recent years, but they’ll be there at the end.

On the girls’ side, Schwartz (fifth in the slalom and seventh in the GS last season) is the top returner. She’s joined by Lynch and Strunk and newcomers Ainsley Fremont and Anya Monson have the ability to step right in and make an impact.

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

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