Senior Diraige Dahia is one of several key returners for a Waynflete boys’ basketball team that should go deep in the Class C South tournament again this winter. File photo.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Coach: Rich Henry (16th year, 195-91 overall record)

2018-19 record: 15-3 (Lost, 65-58, to Hall-Dale in Class C South semifinals)

Top returning players: Oliver Burdick (Senior), Diraige Dahia (Senior), Solomon Levy (Senior), Joey Ansel-Mullen (Junior), Dominick Campbell (Junior), Jared Johnson (Junior), Chris Saade (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 10 CAPE ELIZABETH, Dec. 17 TRAIP, Dec. 20 @ Yarmouth, Dec. 23 FREEPORT, Jan. 2 WELLS, Jan. 7 @ Cape Elizabeth, Jan. 9 @ NYA, Feb. 4 @ Traip

Coach’s comment: “We’ve got a strong nucleus of returnees who played significant minutes last year. We’ll need to have players step up into new roles and we’ll be a bit more of an inside-out team offensively than in the past couple of seasons. Two weeks into practice and we’re seeing great chemistry and camaraderie. Kids are working hard to make each other better and it’s a real pleasure to be around this team.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete is coming off another stellar season, but it ended sooner than the Flyers would have liked. Graduation took some key contributors and Askar Houssein has transferred to Deering, but this year’s squad, featuring multiple players who just won another soccer state title, is hungry to go all the way and the pieces are in place for a special campaign.

Waynflete returns two first-team all-conference players, Campbell and Levy. Campbell, a post standout who averaged 10.1 rebounds per game last winter, is receiving a lot of interest from colleges, and will make life miserable for the opposition in the paint. Levy, a forward, can get the job done down or low or from outside. Saade is another promising player in the front-court. Dahia, a guard, can handle the ball and shoot it and he could be in for a huge season. Burdick and Johnson will also handle the ball. Ansel-Mullen can do a little of everything. His energy is contagious, regardless of the sport. Junior forward Aidan Kieffer, junior guard Nahum Yehdego and sophomore guard Henry Hart will play key roles as well.

Waynflete can get the job done inside and out on offense and will be formidable on defense as well. The Flyers face a very challenging schedule, but they’ll embrace it and it will help them get ready for the tournament, which ultimately is where this squad will be judged. Getting to Augusta hasn’t been a problem. This group is hopeful of winning multiple postseason games. The program’s first Gold Ball has proved elusive, but this squad might just be the one to finish the job.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Senior Sophi Aronson will look to lead Waynflete’s girls’ basketball team to the playoffs this season. File photo.

Coach: Andrew Leach (first year)

2018-19 record: 1-16 (no postseason)

Top returning players: Sophi Aronson (Senior), Anna Wildes (Senior), Kilee Sherry (Junior), Margaret Ojut (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Dec. 10 @ Cape Elizabeth, Dec. 17 TRAIP, Dec. 20 YARMOUTH, Jan. 2 @ Wells, Jan. 7 CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 9 @ NYA, Jan. 11 @ Lake Region, Feb. 4 @ Traip

Coach’s comment: “It’ll be a challenge, but the kids are soaking it up. We have a lot of potential. We’ve put last year behind us. Our goal is to get to the playoffs. If we can win some games and get Heal Points, we’ll have a shot.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete is coming off a challenging season which saw it miss the playoffs for the first time in nearly two decades. The Flyers welcome their third coach in as many years in Leach, who previously coached at Gould Academy, Islesboro and as an assistant at Waynflete (he’s also the boys’ lacrosse coach at Cheverus). Leach inherits a squad with some promise. One which could surprise in the weeks to come.

The Flyers will be strong on the glass, as Aronson averaged 7.2 rebounds per game and Ojut collected 6.4 last season. If they can finish some of those missed shots, Waynflete will be in a lot of contests. Wildes is the captain and will play both guard and forward. Sherry is another guard to watch. Sophomores Jesse Connors and Cece Marhsall look to step into bigger roles this winter. Sophomore Devan Sherry begins the season injured, but should contribute before all is said and done.

This group will be a work in progress, but there’s reason to believe that the Flyers will find a way to compete as the season moves along. A playoff berth would be a great first step in the program’s rebirth and that’s a realistic goal for this squad.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Coach: Joe Robinson (13th year, 107-115-9 overall record)

2018-19 record: 11-8-1 (Lost, 3-1, to Biddeford in Class A South semifinals)

Top returning players: Austin Gross (Senior), Deven Hannan (Senior), Gus Lappin (Senior), Liam McGibbon (Senior), Eric Walker (Senior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 7 ST. DOM’S, Dec. 12 @ Portland/Deering, Dec. 21 BIDDEFORD, Dec. 30 @ Scarborough, Jan. 9 CAPE ELIZABETH, Jan. 15 @ St. Dom’s, Jan. 18 LEWISTON, Jan. 23 @ Biddeford, Feb. 15 PORTLAND/DEERING, Feb. 18 @ Falmouth

Coach’s comment: “With North and South A combined now, it will be super-competitive with no clear-cut team at the top. All of the teams have a legitimate chance, so we’ll have to be consistent and come ready to play every single night. Hopefully we achieve this and in the end find ourselves in a position to compete for a state championship.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete co-op team is coming off a special campaign, one of its best ever and with a lot of talent back, the squad is poised to be one of the top contenders in Class A yet again.

Lappin was a second-team All-State selection a year ago. He’ll be a top scoring threat, along with Hannan and Walker. Juniors Owen Anderson and Anthony Panciocco and sophomore Cullen Adams will be in the scoring mix as well. On defense, Gross, along with freshmen Connor Cochran and Ian Wright, will make life easier for McGibbon, who is one of the league’s top goalies. Freshman Jasper Curtis will also see some time between the pipes.

South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete has learned how to compete with and beat the state’s top teams. This year’s squad needs to stay healthy and hungry and if that happens, a return trip to Lewiston could be the end result. This program has never played beyond the semifinals, but this could be the year it breaks through.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

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.

SWIMMING

Coach: Steve Withers (sixth year)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) tie-15th @ Class B state meet

(Girls) 14th @ Class B state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Xander Forsyth (Senior), Haoming Ma (Senior), Levi Lilienthal (Junior), Oscar Herrera (Sophomore)

(Girls) Eliza Clark (Junior), Zoe Ruff (Junior), Larkin Kern (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “This is a rebuilding year on the girls’ side, as we graduated six seniors. Look for steady improvement throughout the season, as newcomers refine their technique and become more competitive. Our goal is to culminate the season with a strong showing at Southwesterns and states. The boys boast a strong group of returning swimmers. Once Southwesterns and states roll around, look for the team to be more competitive than in previous years.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Both Waynflete teams are hopeful of moving up the standings this winter.

The girls will be led by Clark and Ruff, who are captains. Clark swims the freestyle and breaststroke, while Ruff competes in the freestyle, butterfly and individual medley. Kern (freestyle) also has experience and new senior Maren Wold (freestyle, fly) will add depth.

The boys’ squad boasts captains Forsyth (freestyle) and Ma (freestyle, breaststroke). Liliental (freestyle and fly) and Herrera (freestyle, IM) will be heard from, as will new sophomore Ian Good (freestyle) and freshman Ty Davin (freestyle, backstroke).

NORDIC SKIING

Coach: Ben Lewis (first year)

2018-19 results:

(Boys) 3rd @ Class C state meet

(Girls) 2nd @ Class C state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Nicholas Werner (Senior)

(Girls) Clara Sandberg (Senior), Kaitlyn Bliss (Junior), Julia Werner (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “Our hopes are to get our returning skiers really skiing fast and confidently and get all the new folks comfortable on snow and competitive in races. It’s a building year for the program, but we have a big crop of new kids in the Middle School and Upper School programs, so things are looking good for the future.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Waynflete returns some talent and should remain competitive this winter.

The boys’ squad features Werner, who was second in the freestyle and fourth in the classic a year ago. He’ll make a run at the top spot this season. Senior Luca Antolini returns to the team after taking a year off. He’ll be a top scorer as well. Senior Hunter Grimes, a Cape Elizabeth student, should help the cause.

On the girls’ side, Sandberg leads the way. Last winter, she placed fourth in the classic and fifth in the freestyle. She looks to move up. Bliss (sixth in the classic and eighth in the freestyle in 2019) and Werner (ninth in the classic) also return. Senior Lauren Cutter (a Cape Elizabeth student) and freshman Sarah Morgan arrive to add depth.

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

Comments are not available on this story.