Mt. Ararat senior Ben Laurence (top) battles Mt. Blue’s Tucker Nicholas at the KVAC wrestling tournament earlier this month. Laurence is one of four Mt. Ararat/Brunswick wrestlers who won regional titles heading into Saturday’s Class A state meet at Sanford High. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

BRUNSWICK — As with any high school sports season in Maine, there have been tremendous highs and tough lows.

It is the nature of sports. Just like the opening of the old ABC sports show Wide World Sports used to say, “the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition…” this winter sport season has been no different.

The highs

There were several moments that will last a lifetime. Mt. Ararat/Brunswick wrestlers Ben Laurence and Brycen Kowalsky won State Class A individual championships this year, leading the Eagles to a runner-up showing, and on Wednesday, Morse grappler Deja Douglas captured a title in the second girls wrestling championship at Windham High School.

Olivia Harper of Morse High celebrate being named the performer of the meet. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

“I can say that this past year the one thing on her mind was winning this championship,” said Morse High School wrestling coach Mike Bennett of Douglas. “It pushed her to limits she hadn’t yet reached and was an amazing journey. Her skills on the mat are rivaled by none and she will definitely be missed in the upcoming year.”

Also on the mat in the State Class B Championship at Fryeburg Academy, Cameron Bourget was tops at 182 pounds for Lisbon/Oak Hill, which finished seventh overall.

In the pool at Bowdoin College earlier this week, Shipbuilders Olivia and Haily Harper won two individual State Class B titles, followed the next day by teammate Evan Willertz capturing two championships, one of two only swimmers to win two individual races on the boys side in Class B.

In indoor track William Carrolton went out on top last Saturday when he won the State Class B shot put title for Morse. Mt. Ararat’s Lisandro Berry-Gaviria spread out on the floor in jubilation at the University of Southern Maine after winning the two-mile title once again in the State Class A Indoor Track Championships, one of two wins for the Eagle senior on Monday.

At Brunswick, the indoor track boys team finished second to Scarborough in Class A, with Will Shaughnessy, Mitchell Lienert, Samuel Cenescar, Andrew Chingos, Tyler Patterson and Joey Valliere among the Dragons who stood out.

In Nordic skiing, the Freeport boys brought home the plaque, ending two days of solid action.

Tough lows

This was going to be the year for the Freeport girls basketball team. With defending State Class B champion Gray-New Gloucester moving to Class A South, Class B South seemed to be Freeport’s for the taking.

Seth Farrington’s squad certainly played the part throughout the regular season, compiling a 14-4 record and the No. 1 seed in the region.

Freeport point guard Catriona Gould, left, puts her shoulder down while trying to drive past Yarmouth defender Margaret McNeil. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

The lone losses for the Falcons came against two-time defending State Class A champ Greely (twice), Gray-New Gloucester and Wells, which most sports writers felt was going to be the regional final matchup on Friday at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

However, Yarmouth, which lost both meetings with Freeport by 10 points during the regular season, turned the tables on Freeport on Tuesday at the Portland Expo, capturing a 50-40 upset win.

The loss ended the careers for several members of the senior-oriented Falcons and left the players and coaches in tears.

Yes, a defeat like this one was difficult to take, especially with such lofty expectations. But there is a bigger picture here. When Freeport seniors Caroline Smith, a Miss Maine Basketball semifinalist, Hannah Spaulding, Annika Thomas, Catriona Gould, Abigail Brier, Lindsay Routhier and Maggie Riendeau arrived in high school four years ago, expectations at Freeport were low in girls basketball.

That all changed over these last few years, with the Falcons advancing to back-to-back regional finals before this year’s semifinal appearance. Fans are proud of this group of Falcon seniors, and it was a great pleasure to watch this team grow into a basketball power.

The same can be said at Brunswick. Sam Farrell’s Dragons played in a State Class A final and two straight regional finals the last three seasons before coming up a bit short this year with a quarterfinal loss to Gray-New Gloucester on Monday at the Expo.

With a squad made up of mostly varsity-young players, Farrell led Brunswick to a 15-3 regular season. Nothing to sneeze at.

At Lisbon, Doug Sautter wasn’t expecting to return to the bench as a Greyhound coach. He had been there, done that in the past, and had stepped away to watch his children play sports.

Lisbon’s Giana Russo (4) looks for someone to pass to as Wells defender Mallory Aromando (4) close in. Bob Conn/The Times Record Buy this Photo

Sautter returned this year, and to say the very least, the Greyhounds over-achieved this year. With senior Giana Russo back in the fold after missing her junior year with a knee injury, Lisbon finished 11-7 and played at the Portland Expo in the Class B South quarterfinals (a 52-26 loss to Wells).

Another team that one might say over-achieved were the Mt. Ararat Eagles. Julie Petrie,

in her first year leading the Mt. Ararat girls basketball team, led her squad to a second straight

Mt. Ararat Brunswick coach Erick Jensen and Brycen Kowalsky exchange a hug after a victory at the 2019 Class A state wrestling championship. Kowalsky is one of two returning individual champions forthe defending team champs. (Staff photo by Joe Phelan/Staff Photographer) Staff photo by Joe Phelan

quarterfinal appearance in Class A South.

The Lisbon, Pine Tree Academy, Richmond and Freeport boys had solid seasons and made it to the quarterfinals.

In girls hockey, Mt. Ararat picked up a 10 wins and made the playoffs, and the co-op team of Yarmouth/Freeport won a quarterfinal game to advance to the semifinals.

There is still more action to come. Wrestlers have a pair of meets left, and indoor track athletes will compete in New England’s.

Plus, boys hockey just completed the regular season, with playoff action set to begin.

Brunswick, after a solid 10-7-1 campaign, will meet Yarmouth in the Class B South quarterfinals next week. I have to hand it to Dragons coach Mike Misner, who has to deal with the same last names with brothers playing key roles for Brunswick.

South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete turned in a stellar 11-win boys hockey season and will await a quarterfinal opponent at Troubh Arena in Portland next week. The Red Riots are seeded fourth in Class A, and a win would send the team to the semifinals against undefeated and top-seeded Lewiston next weekend.

It has been a superb winter season, with a lot more to come. Good luck! And don’t forget, the spring season is just two months away.

Bob Conn is The Times Record sports editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

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