Once he returns from injury, senior Nick Galli figures to help Cheverus’ boys’ basketball team be a factor in Class AA North. File photo

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Ryan Soucie (fifth year, 35-41 overall record)

2018-19 record: 9-10 (Lost, 71-58, to Oxford Hills in Class AA North quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Nick Galli (Senior), Dylan Morrison (Junior), Nolan Sanborn (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 10 @ Scarborough, Dec. 13 @ Edward Little, Dec. 23 PORTLAND, Dec. 30 @ Portland, Jan. 2 @ Deering, Jan. 14 @ South Portland, Jan. 24 DEERING, Feb. 4 EDWARD LITTLE

Coach’s comment: “I like this group a lot. We’re young and we’re learning. The guys are very coachable. They work hard. Some guys have an opportunity to step up this year. There are bound to be some growing pains. We hope to steal some games until Nick (Galli) gets back (from injury), then make a run.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is starting behind the eight ball this winter, as not only has the program been hard-hit by graduation, but Galli, a first-team Class AA North all-star last year after averaging 14.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and was in line for a big season, begins the year on the bench, sidelined with a broken foot until sometime next month. The Stags will have to rely on several untested players in his stead to lead the way.

Morrison and Sanborn made the Class AA North All-Rookie team in 2018-19. They’ll be the veterans this winter, as Sanborn (2.6 assists per game a year ago) will play point guard and Morrison will be a shooting guard. Sophomore Seth Huntington, a transfer from Scarborough, will step in and figure into the scoring mix, as will senior captain Luke Knowles and junior Evangelo Kapothanasis. In the front-court, senior Macklin Kelly and sophomore Bryant Nsengiyumva, a transfer from Thornton Academy, will lead the way.

Cheverus, with all the new faces in new places, will have its hands full getting up to speed against the many talented teams on its schedule, but this is a squad that could be very dangerous once Galli returns and it gains confidence. Don’t be surprised if by mid-February, the Stags are formidable on offense and defense and become the team that no one hopes to face in the crucible of the playoffs.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Senior Lauren Jordan will play a pivotal role for Cheverus’ girls’ basketball team this winter as the Stags chase the top teams in Class AA North. File photo

Coach: Billy Goodman (first year)

2018-19 record: 5-14 (Lost, 50-38, to Bangor in Class AA North quarterfinals)

Top returning player: Lauren Jordan (Senior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 10 SCARBOROUGH, Dec. 17 OXFORD HILLS, Dec. 23 PORTLAND, Dec. 30 @ Portland, Jan. 2 @ Deering, Jan. 14 SOUTH PORTLAND, Jan. 17 @ Oxford Hills, Jan. 24 DEERING

Coach’s comment: “We’re competing. We’ve built on what we did all summer. I’m really excited about our depth. The strength of our team is going to be our bench. I can play a lot of girls. There will be a lot of exciting games this year. I think we’ll be in the second tier. Our goal is to get a home playoff game.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus welcomes its fourth coach in as many seasons and this one figures to stick around for a long time. Goodman, who is best known for leading McAuley to three straight Class A championships between 2012-14 and producing a 56-game win streak along the way, spent last year as an assistant with Deering’s surprising regional finalist and is happy to be back in a head coach position. He inherits a squad that could shoot up the standings and steal some headlines in the weeks to come.

Jordan, who averaged 11.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.2 steals, was a second-team all-star in 2018-19 and will anchor this year’s squad. Jordan can play guard or forward and will score her share of points. Junior forward Jillian Lizotte, sophomore point guard Julia Kratzer and sophomore guard Lillie Singleton (who made the Class AA North All-Rookie team a year ago) will play bigger roles this season. Senior Emily Huntington, junior Ella Davie (who made the All-Rookie team last winter) and sophomore Hayley Jordan provide depth in the backcourt. Senior Alex Hammond, junior Madison Storey, who transferred from Class A champion Greely, junior Mia Kratzer and sophomore Emily Bontatibus are forwards to watch.

Cheverus is in a region with defending champion Oxford Hills and very talented Portland, but by the end of the year, don’t be surprised if the Stags are capable of giving everyone fits. There will be some speed bumps along the way, but Goodman will mold a squad that battles tenaciously for 32 minutes and plays smothering defense. If Cheverus can generate enough offense, it will be capable of a deep playoff run.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Senior Jack Chaput will help pace the offense of the Cheverus boys’ hockey team. File photo

Coach: Marco Giancotti (first year)

2018-19 record: 8-11 (Lost, 4-2, to SP/Waynflete/Freeport in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Jack Chaput (Senior), Colin Doherty (Senior), Jacob Sargent (Senior), Jackson Wilson (Senior), Kevin Connolly (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Jan. 2 CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 4 PORTLAND/DEERING, Jan. 11 YARMOUTH, Jan. 25 @ Greely,

Coach’s comment: “We want to be a tough competitor every time we hit the ice.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After a rough offseason which saw the program’s future hanging in the balance, Cheverus finds itself in Class B South this year and once again, the amount of talent on the roster suggests the Stags, who welcome a new coach this winter, will be a force to be reckoned with throughout.

This year’s offense will be paced by Chaput and Wilson. Junior Brady Cormier joins the team and will help the offense. Defensively, Cheverus is in good hands with Connolly, Doherty and Sargent. Junior Bryson Pomerleau will be the last line of defense in goal.

The Stags play a different schedule this season and you can bet that defending champion Greely and traditional Class B South contenders like Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth aren’t thrilled to see Cheverus joining their region. This program is alive and well and that will be on display in the weeks to come.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Junior Lucia Pompeo will be a force to be reckoned with for Cheverus’ defending state champion girls’ hockey team. File photo

Coach: Scott Rousseau (fourth year, 46-14-1 overall record, one state championship)

2018-19 record: 18-2-1 (Beat Lewiston, 2-1, to win state championship)

Top returning players: Hannah Woodford (Senior), Trinity Atwater (Junior), Lucia Pompeo (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 18 @ Portland/Deering. Jan. 4 PORTLAND/DEERING, Jan. 20 CAPE ELIZABETH/SP/WAYNFLETE

Coach’s comment: “Considering that at the end of September, we didn’t even have a team, one could argue we’ve already exceeded expectations. We literally went through the halls of Cheverus to identify any skating/hockey experience or younger athletes willing to learn and have patched together a functional team, though one with no depth. (Trinity) Atwater gives us a fighting chance each night with our three defenders holding it together on the blue line. We’ll have difficulty creating offense, but on any given night, (Bella) Cloutier and (Lucia) Pompeo give us just enough to have a chance in a year that aside from the big four (Lewiston, Scarborough, St Dom’s, Cape), everyone will have trouble generating offense. We have a chance to have a positive season and be a playoff contender.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Cheverus/Old Orchard Beach co-op team enjoyed a magical campaign a year ago, capped by an upset win over Lewiston, in Lewiston, in the state final. After an offseason of uncertainty, the Stags are back and while repeating might be a tall order, they’ll be very competitive again (as evidenced by season-opening victories over York, Gorham, Mt. Ararat and Biddeford).

Atwater (12-2-1 with a 1.08 goals-against-average a season ago) made the all-conference team last year and is superb in big spots. She’ll keep Cheverus in games even against the most prolific offenses. Defensively, the Stags boast Woodford (an all-conference team selection last year), junior Emily Factor, a transfer from Brunswick, and sophomore Clare MacDonald. The offense will be paced by Pompeo, who missed most of last season, but returned to score the winning goal in overtime to beat Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland in the semifinals. Pompeo has seven goals to date with freshman sensation Bella Cloutier producing as well. Woodford, who had nine goals and eight assists last season, can’t be overlooked as an offensive-minded defender.

While Cheverus appears to be chasing Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland and Portland/Deering this season, no one will enjoy going up against the Stags. On a given night, they can give anyone fits and one certainty is that this squad will never be dull to watch.

INDOOR TRACK

Junior Victoria Bossong has already etched her name in the record books. She and her Cheverus girls’ indoor track teammates are gearing up for a run at a third straight Class A championship this winter. File photo

Coach: John Wilkinson (second year, one state championship)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) 5th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) Class A co-champions

Top returners:

(Boys) Joseph Baur (Senior), Matt Sarapas (Senior), Giovanni Fornaro (Junior), Jakub Jastrzebski (Junior), Andrew Griffiths (Sophomore), Frank Morang (Sophomore)

(Girls) Emma Gallant (Senior), Victoria Bossong (Junior), Margaret Earley (Junior), Norah Slattery (Sophomore), Sophia Voulgari (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “With the return of arguably the most talented duo in the state of Emma Gallant and Victoria Bossong, the girls’ have a lot of hope. We added four dual winter sport athletes who are very talented. The newcomers will be needed to shore up team depth. If we can stay healthy and injury-free, a top state finish is a strong possibility. The boys’ goal this season is to reach individual goals that the coaching staff will set for each athlete. A low turnout makes individual improvement the focus. The bright side is with just two seniors, the team sets up well for the future. We do have one of the most talented athletes in the state in Frank Morang. He will have the potential to set league junior division records in the jumps, sprints and possibly hurdles.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus is loaded with athletes this winter and big things are in store.

The girls’ team repeated as Class A champions a year ago and are loaded for bear in a quest for a third consecutive crown. Leading the way again will be Bossong, who won state titles and set new records in the 55, 200 and 400 a year ago. Gallant, was second to Bossong in both the 200 and 400 and will score her share of points as well. Slattery and Voulgari also have experience in the sprints and freshman Taylor Tory could be heard from as well. Earley will compete in the hurdles. In the distance events, look for juniors Helena Bolduc and Jordina Coleman, sophomore Sam Heinzman and freshmen Madeline Fowler and Clara Taylor to do big things. The Stags will miss graduated jumper Emma White, but points are there to be had in the field events. Seniors Lauren Jordan (who is also a standout girls’ basketball player) and Lily Smith will throw the shot put, as will Tory and freshman Ming Ge Daley. Jumpers to watch include Taylor and senior Alex Hammond. Cheverus will be pushed by the likes of Gorham and Thornton Academy in the league and others at the state level, but if this squad stays healthy and motivated, the sky is limit. More records will fall and another piece of hardware will be the end result.

On the boys’ side, top sprinter Sean Tompkins isn’t running track this winter, which will hurt the Stags’ quest to improve on last year’s showing, but there are some athletes to watch. Morang was third in the long jump last winter and could move up. Griffiths, Jastrzebski and freshman Calvin Cutler also compete in the jumps. Fornaro and Sarapas are threats to score in the shot put. Baur and Morang lead the sprinting contingent. Freshman James Baur looks to make an impact as well. Morang will also compete in the hurdles, along with Griffiths and Jastrzebski. There are some holes to fill and questions to answer and while Cheverus won’t be at the level of powerhouses Scarborough and Thornton Academy, it will be competitive throughout and should make some noise at states.

SWIMMING

Junior Brim Peabody is one of the state’s premier distance swimmers. He and his Cheverus boys’ teammates are hoping to win another title this year. File photo

Coach: Kevin Haley (22nd year w/boys’ team; 19th year w/girls’ team, eight state championships)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions (seventh in a row)

(Girls) 8th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Quinton Hastings (Senior), Jack Martin (Senior), Owen Gallo-Wagoner (Junior), Brim Peabody (Junior)

(Girls) Haley Caron (Senior), Grace Shimansky (Senior), Claire Hanley (Junior), Miryam Keller (Junior), Maggie Poulin (Junior), Alyvia Earle (Sophomore), Delilah Hastings (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The boys have a strong team. We’re weak in numbers, but we have class act athletes. We hope to finish in the top three at Southwesterns and top five at states. The girls’ team is solid. Grace is a top three diver in Class A. We hope to finish in the top five at Southwesterns and states.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus has been a model of dominance in the pool and the Stags, while not a large team this winter, will remain formidable.

The boys are seeking a remarkable eighth consecutive state championship and while they might come back to the pack a bit this winter, there’s still enough front-line talent on the roster to do big things. Peabody was the Class A runner-up a year ago in both the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. One of the state’s premier distance swimmers and winner of the Peaks to Portland race this summer, Peabody is looking for first place finishes in those same events this season. Hastings also had a pair of second-place finishes last year, in the 50 free and 100 free and he’ll be a top sprinter. Martin (second last year in the individual medley and fourth in the 100 backstroke) will produce points, as will Gallo-Wagoner (fourth in the 500 free, seventh in the IM last winter). Senior Chase Cameron (sprint freestyle) and sophomore Wyatt England (sprint freestyle and breaststroke) add depth. The Stags will make a spirited run at more hardware. Overlook them at your peril.

On the girls’ side, Shimansky could wind up one of Class A’s top divers (she was seventh last season). Cheverus has some strong sprinters, led by Caron, Earle, Hastings and Keller. Freshman Madi Bunnell-Parker will also be heard from. Hastings also looks to score in the backstroke, while Earle swims the breaststroke and IM. Hanley will look to score in the breaststroke and butterfly. Poulin is a top distance freestyler. Bunnell-Parker also swims the breaststroke, fly and IM. Freshman Bianca Cunningham can swim all of the strokes and hopes to immediately help the cause. Look for this squad to be competitive throughout the season and be at its best in the big meets.

ALPINE SKIING

Coach: Peter Black (first year)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) 10th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 16th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Liam Allen (Junior), Julian LaMontagne (Junior)

(Girls) Julia Harnum (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “We expect Falmouth and Marshwood to have strong teams and we’ll see how we measure up as the season progresses.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus’ Alpine team features some strong athletes of both genders.

The Stags’ boys’ squad returns Allen and LaMontagne. Look for the Stags to be very competitive in the regular season and for a few skiers to turn heads at states.

The girls’ team will miss standout Annesley Black, the defending Class A champion in both the slalom and giant slalom. Harnum and junior Tellie Stamaris (who did very well as a freshman before taking last year off) are experienced and they’re joined by freshman Madeline Marcisso, who could make an immediate impact. The Stags could be very tough by the end of the year.

NORDIC SKIING (co-op with Deering and Portland)

Coach: George Aponte-Clarke (third year, one state championship)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) 3rd @ Class A state meet

(Girls) Class A state champions

Top returners:

(Boys) Michael Luna (Senior), Kurt Bower (Junior)

(Girls) Leshka Whitmarsh (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “Our crew of skiers has grown tremendously over the past few seasons. This means we have a very young team with a lot of potential for growth and development over the years ahead. Our young crew is lead by a talented group of accomplished upperclassmen who were among the state’s best skiers last season. The team is already jelling after just a few practices, showing once again how supportive this multi-school team is of one another. Strong bonds have developed over their deep love for Nordic skiing. This all bodes well for a fun and action-packed season ahead.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Cheverus has a few skiers on the Portland Nordic co-op team, which has evolved into a championship-caliber program.

The boys’ squad returns Luna and Bower, who look to score and help the cause.

On the girls’ side, Whitmarsh is the Stags’ top representative. She was 11th in the classical at the Class A state meet last season and hopes to move up.

WRESTLING

Coach: Jason Barriault (eighth year)

2018-19 results: 15th @ Class A state meet

Top returners: Keagan Rice (Senior), Sean Sullivan (Senior), Marshall Fowler (Sophomore), Sebastian Merrill (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The program has been on an upward trajectory since it was reinstated four seasons ago. The hope is to continue on this path by winning our dual meets and getting athletes on the podium at regionals and states. We have the most wrestlers with some level of experience in our lineup compared to previous seasons.We also have seven athletes on the team that are new to wrestling. They are all working very hard and catching on fast. I am excited to see their growth. Our goal is to continue to develop these athletes, stay healthy and engaged the whole season and get better every day. We have three returning state qualifiers and an alternate from last season. With the depth of our league, we are going to need to stay focused and improve if we want to get those guys to the state tournament again. We also have a few other returners that I expect to jump a level by the postseason and be in the mix this year. There is a lot of uncertainty and excitement coming into this season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: There is optimism about the program’s growth, as well as the prospects for success this winter.

Rice (152 pounds) and Sullivan (220) are seasoned veterans. Sullivan went 35-9 a year ago and won the regional crown. Fowler (145) and Merrill (195) look to move up the standings as well this season.

The Stags have enough bodies to score in most weight classes and be competitive against most foes. Don’t be surprised if February sees this squad enjoy its best state meet finish yet.

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

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