Boys’ team

Peter Gerrity, NYA lacrosse

Contributed photos

His Panthers might have fallen one goal shy of a championship in one of the most memorable state final games ever contested, but Peter Gerrity’s NYA boys’ lacrosse team enjoyed a season to remember.

The Panthers were the team to beat in Class C from the onset and lived up to billing, and while they ultimately couldn’t solve rival Waynflete in double-overtime in the state final, the campaign was nothing short of a rousing success.

And with that in mind, The Forecaster is naming Peter Gerrity our Northern edition Spring Coach of the Year of a boys’ team.

Gerrity is a rarity, also being selected as a Forecaster Athlete of the Year back in his playing days, was a lacrosse standout at NYA (Class of 2005) who went on to play in college at Hamilton College. Gerrity then returned to his alma mater and had his first coaching stint between 2012 and 2016 and led the Panthers to the state final his first season.

Gerrity returned to NYA in 2021 and led the Panthers to nine wins and a trip to the state semifinal, but this season, he truly put his stamp back on the program, and NYA burst out of the gate with five straight victories, including one over a Waynflete squad which had beaten it in last year’s postseason. The Panthers ended the regular season with a record of 9-3, then embarked on a playoff run.

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After easily dispatching Gray-New Gloucester/Poland (15-3) in the state quarterfinals, NYA was staring early elimination in the face in the semifinals but awakened late to edge Wells, 8-7. That set the stage for the state final against Waynflete. The Panthers trailed most of the way, including by two goals with a minute to go, but Gerrity never panicked and either did his squad, which rallied to tie the score and force overtime. NYA would ultimately fall in double-OT, 9-8, but made quite an impression nonetheless.

“We knew we were going to be strong coming back and we knew Waynflete would be one of the teams to beat in Class C,” Gerrity said. “I’m super proud of these guys and what we did today.”

The Panthers will make another run next spring at the title that eluded them.

“We’ll have some holes, but we’ve got a lot of guys returning,” Gerrity said.

In fact, bank on NYA being an annual title threat as long as Peter Gerrity, our Northern edition boys’ team Spring Coach of the Year, is leading the way.

Previous winners:

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• 2021 Bill Shardlow (Yarmouth tennis)
• 2020 No season
• 2019 Kyle Goodrich (Freeport baseball)
• 2018 Jay Harper (Freeport tennis)
• 2017 Marc Halsted (Yarmouth baseball)
• 2016 Bill Ridge (Freeport baseball)
• 2015 Derek Soule (Greely baseball)
• 2014 Geoff Arris (Freeport lacrosse)
• 2013 David Pearl (Yarmouth lacrosse)
• 2012 Kevin Winship (Falmouth baseball)
• 2011 Bob McCully (Falmouth tennis)
• 2010 Marc Halsted (Yarmouth baseball)
• 2009 Mike LeBel (Falmouth lacrosse)
• 2008 Casey Abbott (Greely lacrosse)
• 2007 Derek Soule (Greely baseball)
• 2006 Chris Carpentier (Freeport lacrosse)
• 2005 Chris Mazzurco (NYA track)
• 2004 Craig Curry (Yarmouth lacrosse)
• 2003 Bruce Poliquin (NYA baseball)
• 2002 Hank Ogilby (Freeport baseball)

Girls’ team

Jason Daniel, Freeport softball

Longtime Freeport softball coach Jason Daniel stressed prior to the season that his Falcons squad was going to surprise some folks in Class B South.

“We’ll be tough this year,” Daniel said back in early April. “I’m very optimistic.”

It turned out that he had every reason for optimism as Freeport enjoyed its best season in two decades and set the stage for even more success down the road.

For leading the Falcons into contention and turning them into one of the feel-good stories of the season, Jason Daniel gets The Forecaster’s nod as our Northern edition Spring Coach of the Year of a girls’ team.

Daniel has been part of Freeport’s athletic program for decades, playing baseball and soccer in high school and later returning to serve as part of the game day staff in multiple sports. He spent three seasons as the junior varsity softball coach, then took over the varsity program in 2015.

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Daniel’s first six seasons saw a total of 16 victories and only one playoff trip, in 2021 in an open tournament.

But this spring, everything changed.

First, Daniel was joined by assistant coach Rich George, who helped change the culture. Then, the wins started coming, four in a row to start the season and later historic victories over Fryeburg Academy (for the first time since 2005) and reigning state champion Cape Elizabeth (for the first time this century). Freeport finished the regular season 11-5, its best mark since 1999. The Falcons then hosted a playoff game for the first time in 30 years and beat Lincoln Academy, 7-2, in the Class B South preliminary round, for their first postseason win since 2002. Freeport would lose at top-ranked York in the quarterfinals, but its 12 victories were the most since 1999.

“The girls said from the beginning of the season that they were changing the program and things would be different,” Daniel said. “Rich George came on and helped me out. He’s a huge part of this team. I’m comfortable making decisions with him.”

Freeport didn’t graduate much, so expect this team to be back in contention in 2023, but this time, the Falcons won’t be able to sneak up on anyone.

That doesn’t matter. Jason Daniel, our Northern edition girls’ team Spring Coach of the Year, has established a winning identity and Freeport is going to remain a top contender for years to come.

Previous winners:

• 2021 Becca Koelker (Greely lacrosse)
• 2020 No season
• 2019 Dorothy Holt (Yarmouth lacrosse)
• 2018 Ashley Pullen (Falmouth lacrosse)
• 2017 Bill Goodspeed (Falmouth tennis)
• 2016 Rob Hale (Greely softball)
• 2015 Amy Ashley (Yarmouth softball)
• 2014 Ben Caswell (Greely tennis)
• 2013 Sandra Stone (Falmouth tennis)
• 2012 Karin Kurry (Freeport lacrosse)
• 2011 Sara Dimick (Greely lacrosse)
• 2010 Julia Sterling (NYA lacrosse)
• 2009 Sandra Stone (Falmouth tennis)
• 2008 Julia Littlefield (NYA lacrosse)
• 2007 Robin Haley (Falmouth lacrosse)
• 2006 Dorothy Holt (Yarmouth lacrosse)
• 2005 Sandra Stone (Falmouth tennis)
• 2004 Ann Harradon (Yarmouth tennis)
• 2003 Julia Seely (NYA tennis)
• 2002 Julia Littlefield (Yarmouth lacrosse)

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

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