Senior Michael Simonds is healthy and eager to lead Falmouth’s boys’ basketball team to the top of the Class A heap this winter. File photo

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: David Halligan (33rd year, 522-133 overall record, six state championships)

2018-19 record: 15-6 (Lost, 64-48, to eventual champion Greely in Class A South Final)

Top returning players: Michael Simonds (Senior), Nicco Pitre (Junior), Brady Coyne (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 10 GREELY, Dec. 28 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 7 YORK, Jan. 14 @ Leavitt, Jan. 16 KENNEBUNK, Feb. 4 LEAVITT

Coach’s comment: “We have a good mix of size and shooters. I like our depth this year. We have a good young group coming up. It’s a very competitive group. The seniors have played together a long time. It’s a pretty balanced region this year. It’ll come down to how hard we work.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth has been to the semifinals or better eight years running and this group appears to have what it takes to make it nine and perhaps go all the way and win the program’s first title in four seasons.

Simonds made his return from knee injury last year and was a second-team league all-star. Now 100 percent recovered, Simonds could be in a for a huge statistical campaign. He and Coyne are shooting guards, while Pitre (an SMAA All-Rookie team selection last winter) handles the point. Pitre can also hit outside shots and get to the basket with regularity. Junior Sean Dilworth and sophomore Jack Stowell will also be factors in the back-court. Seniors Brady Douglas, Josh LeFevre and Macklin Williams provide experience and dexterity, as they can play multiple positions. The size comes from senior Emmett Hamilton and new juniors Vinny Hanrahan and Ethan McKee.

After chasing Greely for three years, this could be the season that the Yachtsmen eclipse the Rangers and have enough to hold off the likes of Kennebunk, Leavitt and York as well. It won’t come easily, but Falmouth is hungry to finish the job and it wouldn’t be wise to bet against the Yachtsmen.

Junior Cameron Birks is a top returner for a Falmouth girls’ basketball team looking to be much more competitive this season. File photo.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Dawn Armandi (third year, 13-26 overall record)

2018-19 record: 2-16 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Cameron Birks (Junior), Allie Cunningham (Junior), Lauren Welch (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 10 @ Greely, Dec. 17 CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 7 @ York

Coach’s comment: “We have nine freshmen. We’re a very young program with a promising future. Allie (Cunningham) will control the floor for us and Anna (Turgeon) and Sloane (Ginevan) are really good players. We hope to go .500 and get to the Expo.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth missed the playoffs last year and after a year away from the program, Armandi returns as coach. She inherits a squad that is very raw, but one that has plenty of upside.

The Yachtsmen will rely on Cunningham to lead the way at point guard. Birks could break out as a scorer this season and Welch will also see an increased role at guard. Freshman Sloane Ginevan is poised to make an immediate impact and she’ll handle the ball as well. Sophomore Bella Joyner is another guard to watch. In the front-court, sophomores Izzy Bynion and Olivia Rogers and freshman Anna Turgeon will lead the way.

Falmouth will take some time to hit its stride, but the Yachtsmen will show steady improvement. Don’t be surprised if Falmouth is one of the biggest surprise teams by the end of the year.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Senior Owen Drummey will help pace Falmouth’s offense this season. File photo.

Coach: Deron Barton (ninth year, 112-48-4 overall record, two state championships)

2018-19 record: 4-14 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Shane Allen (Senior), Tyler Baker (Senior), Owen Drummey (Senior), Carter Hawkes (Senior), Dominic Tracy (Senior), Sam Kidder (Junior), Charlie Adams (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 11 @ St. Dom’s, Dec. 13 ST. DOM’S, Dec. 18 @ Thornton Academy, Jan. 1 @ Greely, Jan. 11 LEWISTON, Jan. 22 @ Lewiston, Jan. 30 THORNTON ACADEMY, Feb. 11 SCARBOROUGH, Feb. 18 SP/FREEPORT/WAYNFLETE

Coach’s comment: “We’re back where we’re used to being. I’ve got a whole new team this year. Four lines, two power plays. Depth is our biggest strength. We’re young, but we also have some grizzled juniors and seniors. Goalie is a big strength. Last year’s experience was important. We played a lot of one-goal games. We’re looking to make a run this season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth had a rare year away from excellence last winter, but that will prove to be an aberration and hopefully the rest of the state enjoyed its rare opportunity to beat the Yachtsmen. This time around, Falmouth has reloaded and is primed to reclaim its perch atop Class A.

Drummey and Kidder were all-stars a year ago and are top returners, as well as captains. Kidder will be a stalwart in goal, while Drummey is a top scoring threat. Drummey has plenty of help in putting the puck in the net, as Adams and Baker also return and sophomores Xavier Grenier, Sean MacDonald and Rory Skillin-Lanou and freshmen Sam Belliveau, Tanner Cole, Mitchell Ham, Aaron Higgins and Zach Mitton arrive to give Falmouth incredible depth. Defensively, Allen, Hawkes and Tracy are top returners. They’re bolstered by senior Thomas Downey and freshman Camden Charron.

It all adds up to a squad ready to do battle with the best teams in the state. Look for Falmouth to improve dramatically in terms of wins and losses and to make a deep playoff run. One year after falling short of the postseason altogether, the Yachtsmen might just wind up the state’s best team.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Rob Carrier (11th year, 127-63-9 overall record)

2018-19 record: 12-6-2 (Lost, 5-2, to Scarborough in South Region semifinals)

Top returning players: Hannah Dubinsky (Senior), Grace Fallon (Senior), Jojo Kaserman (Senior), Izzy Roy (Senior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 9 @ Portland/Deering, Dec. 11 @ St. Dom’s, Dec. 18 CAPE/SP/WAYNFLETE, Dec. 28 ST. DOM’S, Jan. 1 @ Greely, Jan. 8 SCARBOROUGH, Jan. 11 LEWISTON, Jan. 14 CHEVERUS, Jan. 22 @ Lewiston, Jan. 29 GREELY

Coach’s comment: “We’ve had a lot of turnover at key positions and a tougher schedule than last year. I think we have enough to make the playoffs, but it will be a long uphill climb for us. We have solid goaltending and good defense, but we need to string together some scoring. I think we can piece together enough offense to win some games and make the playoffs again. We’ll see what happens after that.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth had a strong season a year ago, then graduated Kayla Sarazin, a Becky Schaffer Award finalist, along with all-conference players Reade Carmichael and Eliza Chace. The Yachtsmen have come back to the pack a bit so far this winter, as evidenced by opening losses to Edward Little (3-1), Scarborough (4-0) and Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/SP (7-0). The wins will come, however, and by season’s end, Falmouth should be in contention again.

This year’s offense features Roy and sophomore Kate Kinley. Fallon and Kaserman anchor the defense in front of Dubinsky in goal.

While the Yachtsmen lack the star power and firepower of recent editions, overlook them at your own risk. This will be a dangerous team to face as the season progresses.

INDOOR TRACK

Coach: Jorma Kurry (21st year, six state championships)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) 4th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 15th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Josh Bradford (Senior), Adrian Friedman (Senior), Ben Potter (Senior), Michael Smoluk (Senior), Ben Greene (Junior), Faran Igani (Junior), Connor Quiet (Junior),Will Addison (Sophomore), Logan Ross (Sophomore)

(Girls) Maddie Marks (Senior), Abbie Ryer (Senior), Shannon Dye (Junior), Avi Fishman (Junior), Maria Neuhauser (Junior), Maggie O’Brien (Junior), Summer Staples (Junior)

Coach’s comment “The boys return some star power with Josh Bradford, Ben Greene, Ben Potter and Adrian Friedman. If we can improve at the next tier, we will be competitive throughout the championship season. The girls are a small team with some strong competitors. Adding Karley Piers is a big help to the distance team. The sprints group will be deep, but needs people to emerge as front-runners. It’s a positive team with a strong work ethic that will improve as the season goes on.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth will boast plenty of firepower this winter and will be competitive in the SMAA and at the state level.

The boys return three of last year’s state meet scorers. As usual, the Yachtsmen will be strong in the distance events behind Greene (third in the mile a year ago) and Potter (fifth in the two-mile). Igani, Ross and Smoluk and freshman Miles Woodbury will also be heard from. Top threats to score in the sprints include Addison, Friedman, Quiet and freshmen Ben Pausman and Mason Quiet. On the field side of things, Bradford was runner-up in the shot-put last winter and looks to move up to the top spot. Friedman is a top jumper. Juniors Luka DePatsy and Thomas Pender provide depth in those events.

On the girls’ side, Marks and Ryer are experienced in the sprints and hurdles. Fishman, Neuhauser, O’Brien and junior Izzy Dyer will also contend in the sprints.Staples returns in the distance events and is joined by cross country standout Karley Piers, a junior. In the field events, look for Dye to compete in the shot put and O’Brien to be in the mix in the jumps.

SWIMMING

Lily Smith is the defending Class A diving state champion and will be a big part of Falmouth’s success this year. File photo

Coach: Betsy Perron (third year)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) 17th @ Class A state meet

(Girls) 3rd @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Cole Arrants (Junior), Trevor Neff (Junior), Tommy Davis (Sophomore), Patrick Gill (Sophomore), Kevin Lu (Sophomore)

(Girls) Oceane Bowden (Senior), Mae Causey (Senior), Lilly Smith (Senior), Sophie Harrington (Junior), Adeline Ziobro (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “We graduated a large senior class, but we have lots of depth in the freshman class for both teams. We certainly have some standout freshmen and some upperclassmen who are poised for breakout performances, but I will let them speak for themselves in the pool. As far as goals, we are setting no limits, focusing on daily process goals versus end of season outcome goals. During the dual meet season, we will focus on process goals, with the intention of demonstrating steady improvement week to week and work on having each of our athletes push the boundaries of their comfort zones by trying new events. During the championship season, we are hoping to build on last year’s performance at states and Southwesterns.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth has a nice blend of experience and youth and should be competitive all season.

The girls’ team is coming off another strong season and returns Smith (the defending Class A diving state champion), Causey (who was fourth in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 butterfly last season) and Ziobro (10th in the 100 backstroke and 11th in the 100 individual medley a year ago). Bowden and Harrington also have experience.

On the boys’ side, Davis is the top returner (he placed sixth in the backstroke and 11th in the 100 free last season). Gill (12th in the backstroke), Arrants, Lu and Neff are also back.

ALPINE SKIING

Coach: Tip Kimball (17th year)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions

(Girls) 4th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Nicky Shapiro (Senior), Ben Adey (Junior), Ben Keller (Junior), A.J. Noyes (Junior), Abe Thayer (Junior), Andrew Christie (Sophomore), Caleb Labbe (Sophomore)

(Girls) Alexa Dargie (Senior), Lucy Holland (Senior), Alex Dowling (Junior), Ella Holland (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “The boys’ team is looking as strong as ever this year. I would expect they have a solid shot at defending their state title. We have also added several experienced girls this year, creating our largest team since I’ve been coaching. Both teams are working hard in their preseason dry land training and are looking forward to another successful season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth is once again loaded for a dominant season on the slopes.

The boys return Noyes, who was second in Class A in the giant slalom a year ago. Adey (sixth in the GS and ninth in slalom last winter), Christie (ninth in the GS and 11th in the slalom) and Labbe (17th in the slalom) are also back looking for more. Keller, Shapiro and Thayer add experience and depth. Newcomers to watch include senior Giorgio Caricchio, sophomore Max Long and freshmen Ryan Merz and Justin Mayo.

On the girls’ side, Dowling (13th in the slalom and 15th in the GS last season) is the top returner. Dargie, Ella Holland and Lucy Holland are seasoned veterans. They’re bolstered by the arrival of junior Emma Wagner, sophomore Sophie Dillon and freshmen Calia Browne, Celia Gecci, Emily Girard, Audrey Holland and Patty Riley.

NORDIC SKIING

Coach: Kaitlyn Bernard (fifth year)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) Class A state champions

(Girls) 5th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Joe Dye (Senior), Ben Rooks (Senior), Vance Boyd (Junior), Charlie Geci (Junior), Marcus Goodbody (Junior)

(Girls) Kaitlyn Dowling (Senior), Eva Clement (Junior), Brenna Ramsdell (Junior), Katie Bruce (Sophomore), Ava Dries (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “I’m really looking forward to another great year of Nordic racing. We have a really solid group of boys who have been working hard all summer and I’m eager to see how they perform on snow. We will also finally have a full girls team, as we have 13 girls on our roster who will be led by some really experienced racers. We’re hoping to defend our boys’ Class A title and are looking forward to a state meet with all three classes competing at the same venue this year

The Forecaster’s forecast: Falmouth has a very strong Nordic program as well and plenty of success awaits on the trails.

The boys’ squad returns state meet scorers Boyd (12th in the classic, 15th in the freestyle last winter) and Goodbody (18th in the classic, 22nd in the freestyle). Dye, Geci and Rooks round out a solid veteran group that is hungry for more hardware.

On the girls’ side, Clement leads the way. She placed fourth in the freestyle and seventh in the classical last season and hopes for an even higher finish this winter. She’s joined by experienced skiers Bruce, Dowling, Dries and Ramsdell.

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

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