Rest assured that senior Nick White and his Freeport teammates will fight for every inch this season. File photos.

Coach: Paul St. Pierre (seventh year, 27-26 overall record, one state championship)

2021 record: (6-3, Lost, 28-19, to Winthrop in Class D state semifinals)

Top returning players: Aidan Heath (Senior), Jordan Knighton (Senior), Cort Lefebvre (Senior), Nick White (Senior), Jacob Benjamin (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 LISBON, Sept. 17 WELLS, Sept. 30 @ Fryeburg Academy, Oct. 7 @ Winthrop, Oct. 21 FOXCROFT ACADEMY

Coach’s comment: “We have quite a few returners and we have experience on our side. The goal is to be competitive every week and to stay healthy. We have to run a gauntlet in the regular season and we’re under-sized. We’re relying on speed and athleticism. It’s probably a four-team race in Class D, including us. Depth and health will matter in the postseason.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport begins the season with 32 players on the roster and there’s a lot of talent to be found.

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Heath and Knighton were league all-stars a year ago. Heath returns at quarterback while Knighton will be a lead running back. White will also get his share of carries. Juniors Adam Michaud and Noah Michaud also factor into the mix. Through the air, look for Heath to target Knighton, Peters (who missed last season with a knee injury), White and sophomore Teddy Peters. Benjamin and Lefebvre are top linemen. Senior Alex Graver, the soccer standout, will be the placekicker.

On defense, Benjamin, Heath and Lefebvre will be on the line. The linebacking corps includes White and Max Peters. The secondary features Knighton, both Michaud twins and Teddy Peters.

The Falcons will quickly find out where they stand as their early schedule includes several top teams. After a strong showing at the Class D level in 2021, Freeport is primed to go deep into the postseason again and the roster boasts enough talent to suggest that the Falcons will be one of the last teams standing.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Alex Graver is one of the state’s elite players and he’s due for a big senior season.

Coach: Bob Strong (fifth year, 34-19-8 overall record)

2021 record: 11-5-1 (Lost, 2-1, in overtime, to eventual state champion Yarmouth in Class B South semifinals)

Top returning players: Alex Graver (Senior), Ben Grimm (Senior), Bobby Strong (Senior), Ivan Lyon (Junior), Garrett Ritcheson (Junior), Thomas Roy (Junior), Owen Ruseicki (Junior)

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Pivotal games: Sept. 7 YARMOUTH, Sept. 10 @ Greely, Sept. 15 CAPE ELIZABETH, Sept. 29 @ Waynflete, Oct. 8 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 11 GREELY, Oct. 18 @ Cape Elizabeth

Coach’s comment: “We graduated 19 varsity players from last year’s team. This very much is a rebuilding year for our program. Our goal is to improve as the season progresses and try to sneak into the playoffs. While this group may be one of the most inexperienced teams we’ve had in years, I expect them to be one of the most cohesive and focused I’ve seen in my short tenure.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport is coming off yet another terrific season that fell just short of the ultimate prize. A special class of senior contributors has departed, but the cupboard is far from bare and while the Falcons might not be viewed as the favorite this autumn, no one will want to face them late in the year.

Graver was a league all-star as well as an all-region selection as a junior and he’ll be a matchup nightmare in the midfield. Ruseicki also has experience in the midfield. Potential goal-scorers up top include Strong and junior Will Maneikis. Freeport projects to be strong in the back with Grimm, Lyon, Ritcheson and Roy all boasting experience. Junior Max Maneikis will figure into the defensive mix as well. Senior Rowan Bradford takes over in goal, replacing the very successful Colin Cronin.

Freeport, like everyone else, is chasing Yarmouth in Class B and yet again, Cape Elizabeth and Greely will be formidable as well. The Falcons also play reigning Class C champion Waynflete, so there won’t be many breathers, but that slate will serve the team well in the weeks to come. Rest assured that Freeport will show steady improvement and will be playing its best when the games matter most.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Senior Kate Tracy won’t be denied, regardless of the season, and she and her Freeport teammates will be one of the top squads in Class B South this season.

Coach: David Intraversato (fifth year, 31-22-4 overall record)

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2021 record: 8-8 (Lost, 1-0, to Yarmouth in Class B South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Emily Olsen (Senior), Kate Tracy (Senior), Luci Bourgeois (Junior), Maya Carignan (Junior), Taryn Curry (Junior), Rosie Panenka (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 2 @ York, Sept. 6 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 8 GREELY, Sept. 17 @ Cape Elizabeth, Oct. 4 YORK, Oct. 7 YARMOUTH, Oct. 11 @ Greely, Oct. 18 CAPE ELIZABETH

Coach’s comment: “It’s important for us to play every game like a playoff game in the hopes of gaining as many Heal Points as possible to get a good playoff seed. We will need to beat the (top) teams at least once for some Heal Points and to have the ability to have a home playoff game or two. I ‘hope’ we are playing for a regional championship. My expectations are that we will be talented enough to get there. Getting knocked out of the playoffs last year was difficult for us emotionally. We played a great match and the game could have went either way. We learned a ton last year and we are working hard to play mistake-free soccer. The core of our team is mostly juniors and seniors with some very talented sophomores. I know we can play with anyone. We have a very athletic group players. Don’t be surprised if you see us playing in late-October.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Falcons were very competitive a year ago, but couldn’t make the playoff run they’d hoped. This season, the pieces are in place for Freeport to surge to the top of the region.

Offensively, the Falcons feature experience in Bourgeois (five goals last fall), Curry (seven assists), Panenka (three goals) and Olsen (seven goals and three assists). Curry and Olsen were league all-stars in 2021. They’re joined by junior Pearl Peterson, sophomore Lucy Riggs and freshman Silvi Strong. On defense, Carignan and Tracy lead the way in front of senior goalie Lauren Roussel.

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While Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth have been the gold standard in Class B South for many years and Greely and York remain strong, Freeport’s belief that it can go toe-to-toe with those squads is realistic. Some early, positive results would pay huge dividends for the Falcons and if they can get some home playoff games, they could steal some headlines.

FIELD HOCKEY

Senior Liv Christensen is a top returner for Freeport’s field hockey team, which hopes to make a run at the Class B South crown.

Coach: Marcia Wood (10th year, 75-55-6 overall record)

2021 record: 8-8 (Lost, 2-1, to Yarmouth in Class B South quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Liv Christensen (Senior), Ava Gervais (Senior), Chloe White (Senior), Piper Williams (Senior), Lilia Collard (Junior), Ellie Foss (Junior), Sydney Gelhar (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Aug. 31 @ York, Sept. 6 YARMOUTH, Sept. 12 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 16 @ Greely, Sept. 20 FRYEBURG ACADEMY, Sept. 30 YORK, Oct. 3 CAPE ELIZABETH, Oct. 6 GREELY, Oct. 10 @ Yarmouth, Oct. 14 @ Fryeburg Academy

Coach’s comment: “I’ve been waiting for this group of freshmen for awhile now. We have 15 freshmen in the program and six on varsity. They’re ready to step in. They’ll need to be impact players. The seniors really need them. If the freshmen find their way, we could have a long run in the playoffs.”

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The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport has a solid core of upperclassmen in place this fall and an infusion of exciting newcomers to make up what should be a top contender once again in Class B South.

Williams will be back in goal this fall. She played there as a sophomore (and is also a goalie in lacrosse), but she was in the field last season. Williams will be a solid last line of defense and is bolstered by Collard and Gelhar. Christensen and White return in the midfield and are joined by freshman Liza-Lyn Boudreau, who could quickly become a household name. The forward line features Foss, Gervais and freshman Emily Groves.

The Falcons’ fortunes are largely dependent on how quickly the young players get up to speed, but there’s reason to believe it will all come together by the end of the regular season. Another trip to the playoffs should be the end result and while the program’s future is bright, the present could prove to be pretty terrific as well.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coach: Matt Greear (first year)

2021 results: 
(Boys) Class B state champions
(Girls) 9th @ Class B state meet

Top returners:
(Boys) Al Dawson (Senior), Jack DiRusso (Senior), Henry Horne (Senior), Ian Moore (Senior), Ian Smith (Junior), Will Spaulding (Junior)
(Girls) Eleanor Batterbee (Senior), Jillian Wight (Senior), Caroline Carter (Junior), Clorinda Simoneau (Junior), Josie Spaulding (Sophomore)

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Coach’s comment: “The boys look very deep this year. After last year’s team state title, we will be looking to be one of the teams competing for the team title again this year. The girls will also be looking to have a strong finish at the state meet. I feel the team has a lot of promise and the ability to surprise their competitors. All members of the team and coaching staff will be looking to have fun, improve, do our best each day and reach our full potential this season.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport is poised to do big things this year. The program has a new look as Greear, the track coach and former cross country assistant, replaces the retired Brian Berkemeyer, who elevated the Falcons’ program to championship status. Greear is assisted by John Rogers and they expect big things in the weeks to come.

The boys’ squad is defending a state title and has a great shot at repeating. Maine Milesplit has Freeport ranked third in the state, regardless of class, in its preseason rankings. Leading the way will be Horne, who was sixth individually at last year’s state meet and who will make a run at the top spot this season. Other returning state meet scorers include Spaulding (11th), DiRusso (21st) and Dawson (26th). Moore (50th) and Smith are other veterans. Newcomers of note include junior Teo Steverlnyck-Horne, sophomore Conner Smith and freshman Alex Gilbert. The Falcons will wear the bulls-eye, but will wear it well.

On the girls’ side, Freeport has the pieces in place to move up from last year’s state meet finish. The Falcons, ranked 18th by Milesplit, return state meet scorers Wight (28th), Battarbee (32nd) and Spaulding (50th). Carter (51st) and Simoneau (60th) will look to move up. Senior Lucy Bradford and freshmen Lilah Hall, Lucy Huggett and Laurel Wight add depth. This is a squad that could turn heads as the season progresses.

GOLF

Junior Eli Spaulding is the reigning Class B state individual champion and has a great chance to finish atop the heap again while helping the Falcons get back to the state match at the same time.

Coach: Jason Ouellette (fourth year, one state championship)

2021 results: 6th @ Class B state match

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Top returners: Dylan Foerster (Junior), Brielle Hodgkin (Junior), Eli Spaulding (Junior), Terrence Snow (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We hope to qualify for the state tournament again.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Freeport wasn’t able to repeat as state champion a year ago, but did manage to qualify for states for the fifth straight season. This year’s squad returns one of the elite players in the state in Spaulding, who is joined by a strong supporting cast. The Falcons should be very strong again.

Spaulding, Freeport’s Fall Athlete of the Year in 2021, won the individual Class B title last year, shooting a round of 68, easily the best in the state, regardless of class. Spaulding also won the Maine Junior Open this summer for the second straight year. Spaulding, named the conference’s top golfer in 2021, will play in the number one spot and lead Freeport to big things. Foerster (108) also scored last year at states and was an all-star. Snow hopes to move up the standings. Juniors Reece Perry, who transfers over from reigning Class B champion Yarmouth, and Rylan Siegel, and freshman Gavin Konecki are top newcomers. Hogdkin will lead a foursome of girls’ contenders.

The Falcons have set the bar high in recent seasons and this year’s team figures to be more of the same. Look for Spaudling to make a run at more individual glory and for Freeport to qualify for states again, where it might wind up lapping the field if all goes well.

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

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