The 2022-23 winter sports season featured high drama and best of all, there wasn’t a mask to be found.

On the ice, Cheverus’ girls brought home the state title, while the Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland co-op team was sent packing in the semifinals.

On the boys’ side, the South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport co-op team enjoyed its best season to date, but fell one win shy of the big prize. The Cheverus/Yarmouth co-op squad reached the semifinals.

The basketball campaign was terrific from start to finish, as the Cheverus, Portland and Waynflete boys all reached the tournament. The Flyers lost in the preliminary round, the Stags made it to the regional semifinals and the Bulldogs shocked many by advancing all the way to the Class AA state final.

On the girls’ side, Cheverus wasn’t able to repeat as state champion, falling in an epic regional final. Deering and Portland were ousted in the quarterfinal round.

On the track, Portland led the way, as the girls enjoyed their best state meet showing this century and the boys were strong as well.


In the pool, Deering-Portland’s co-op team had the strongest showing among city squads.

It was another strong season on the slopes and trails too.

Wrestling saw Deering make history with its first state finalist in several years.

While everyone is eager to get on to spring and (hopefully) warmer weather, let’s take one look back at the best performances and best stories of the wonderful winter that was.

Portland edition winter state champion

Cheverus Stags girls’ hockey


Portland edition winter regional champion

Portland Bulldogs boys’ basketball, Class AA North

Portland edition winter individual champions

Indoor track

Samantha Moore, Portland, Class A girls’ 800
Samantha Moore, Portland, Class A girls’ mile



Annabelle Brooks, Cheverus, girls’ Class A Nordic classic
Annabelle Brooks, Cheverus, girls’ Class A Nordic freestyle

Michael’s top five stories

5) Deering wrestler reaches final

Deering junior Pedro Lombi ascended to the top of the podium at the regional championship meet. Contributed photo.

What a winter it was for Deering junior wrestler Pedro Lombi. Lombi, a junior, competing in just his second varsity season, won 27 matches during the regular season at the 195-pound weight class. He captured the regional title, then reached the final match at the Class A state match and produced a 19-match win streak during one juncture. Lombi was the Rams’ first regional champion and state finalist in six years.

4)  No repeat title for Stags

Cheverus’ reigning state champion girls’ basketball team met its match this year in Oxford Hills. File photo.

Cheverus’ girls’ basketball team won the program’s first championship in 2022, but a second straight crown wasn’t to be. The Stags, who returned junior standouts Maddie Fitzpatrick and Emma Lizotte, didn’t have another player on their roster who had played a varsity minute the year before and not surprisingly, lost in their opener, at Bangor. But Cheverus would roar to life as the inexperienced players quickly came of age and Fitzpatrick and Lizotte were again two of the top players around. The Stags went 16-1 the rest of the regular season, losing only at powerhouse Oxford Hills. As the No. 2 seed in the Class AA North tournament, Cheverus had no trouble with Edward Little in the quarterfinals, but Lizotte did suffer an elbow injury during the game. She gutted it out and played in the semifinals and helped the Stags beat Bangor and avenge their earlier loss. Next up was Oxford Hills in the regional final and while Cheverus managed to build a 12-point lead in the fourth period, it couldn’t hold on and the season came to a close with a dramatic 68-63 double-overtime setback. Rest assured, however, that the 2023-24 Stags will be back to return the program to the pinnacle.


“I’m really excited for next year,” Fitzpatrick said. “We have a solid group coming back and probably some good freshmen coming in too. We want to finish what this year’s team started.”

3) Portland track teams turn heads

Nathan Blades and his Portland boys’ track teammates had a winter to remember. File photo.

It was a season for the history books for Portland’s indoor track and field program. The Bulldogs girls excelled from start to finish and wound up third at the Class A state meet, their best showing since 1999. Samantha Moore continued to turn heads by winning both the 800 and the mile and the 4×800 relay team (Alice Anderson, Ava Chadbourne, Anneliese Collin and Moore) was also first. Not to be outdone, Portland’s boys placed fifth at states (its best showing in 13 years) and was led by Nathan Blades, who was runner-up in the mile and third in the two-mile.

2) Portland’s boys nearly shock the world

Jeissey Khamis was a force at both ends of the floor and led Portland’s boys’ basketball team on a surprise run to the Class AA state final. File photo.

Portland’s boys’ basketball team entered the year expected to be a contender, but not a squad capable of playing in the season’s final game. Guess again. The Bulldogs lost their opener at Lewiston, but flipped the switch and won five in a row, eight out of nine, 10 of 12 and 13 out of 16 to earn the No. 2 seed for the Class AA North tournament. There, Portland held off Windham’s upset bid in the quarterfinals before avenging a pair of regular season setbacks with a victory over Lewiston in the semifinals. The Bulldogs lost twice to regional final foe Oxford Hills during the regular season, but saved their best for last and the third time was the charm, a 47-35 victory. Portland then met South Portland in the state game for the third time in seven tournaments, but this time, the Bulldogs didn’t have quite enough. They led by three points in the third period, but the Red Riots went on a run and pulled away to end Portland’s dream, 52-42.

“It was a great year,” said longtime Bulldogs coach Joe Russo. “The kids were awesome. We went down fighting. They were super-successful this year. They just don’t feel it right now. They learned lessons and built character. These seniors did some really nice things.”

1) Cheverus girls bring home the title

Cheverus’ girls’ hockey team got to celebrate a state title in February. File photo.

Cheverus’ girls’ hockey team entered the 2022-23 season on a mission, finishing the job that last year’s squad started. Last winter, the Stags dropped a triple-overtime heartbreaker to Scarborough in the semifinals, but this time around, they would have no peer. Cheverus went 15-3 in the regular season, losing twice to Penobscot and once to Yarmouth/Freeport, but as the top seed in the South Region, the Stags held off York (1-0) in the semifinals, then erupted to oust Gorham, 8-1, in the regional final, as sophomore standout Lucy Johnson had four goals. Johnson then scored three more goals (all in the second period) of the state game as Cheverus erased an early deficit and edged Yarmouth/Freeport, 3-2, for the program’s third all-time title.

“It’s sweet beyond compare,” said Stags coach Scott Rousseau. “(Yarmouth/Freeport) is phenomenal. (A few years ago), we didn’t have enough kids to field a team. We went through the hallways begging kids to play to keep the program going. To win with this group, I’m so thrilled.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]

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