Senior Reegan Buck and his Portland football teammates hope to return to the state final and win it all this fall. File photos.

Coach: Sean Green (first year)

2022 record: 8-4 (Lost, 20-14, to Skowhegan in Class B state final)

Top returners: Isaak Alkafaji (Senior), Reegan Buck (Senior), Myles Hang (Senior), Hunter Temple (Senior), Brayden Wales (Senior), Colin Kelly (Junior), Aidan McGowan (Junior), Louis Thurston (Junior), Brody Viola (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 1 @ Thornton Academy, Sept. 15 @ Lewiston, Oct. 13 @ Scarborough, Oct. 27 SOUTH PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “It’s been awesome so far. I worked with these seniors when they were in middle school. We graduated a lot but we returned a lot too. I’m happy with the group we have. The kids are great. Talented and hungry with high football IQs. We need to be sound and smart. We need to be physical at the line of scrimmage and put our skill players in position to make big plays. We have a tough schedule, but we welcome it. We’re going to establish a new era of Portland football.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Bulldogs were just 1-3 at the midway point a year ago, then caught fire once eventual Fitzpatrick Trophy finalist Kennedy Charles took over under center, winning their final four games to earn the top seed in Class B South before going on to the regional title. While Portland fell just short of an elusive championship, the season was an unquestioned success. This fall, the Bulldogs welcome a new coach in Green, who worked with the Portland youth program years ago and has already earned a lofty reputation after leading Cape Elizabeth to its first state title two years ago. While graduation took its toll on the program, Green and his staff have plenty to work with as the Bulldogs return to Class A and should be on the short list of championship contenders.


Senior Hunter Temple is another key returner for the Bulldogs.

Thurston, who was slotted to play quarterback a year ago before suffering an injury early in the season, will be under center this fall. Portland’s offense will be up-tempo and will have an abundance of options, as Thurston can keep the ball, hand it to Buck (a league all-star last season and a captain this fall), McGowan or new junior Lisandro Rodriguez (a transfer from Lowell, Massachusetts), or throw it to Buck, Temple (an all-star last year and captain this season) or Viola. While the Bulldogs have almost always historically been run-first, this year’s team will keep the opposition guessing. Hang and Wales (all-conference in 2022) are captains and also key components on offense at the H-back position. Up front, look for Alkafaji, Kelly and new junior Anthony Tavares (Rodriguez’s cousin, also from Lowell) to open holes or protect the quarterback. Hang will do the kicking.

Senior Brayden Wales will be a top defender for Portland this fall.

Defensively, the line will be manned by Kelly and Tavares, the linebacking corps features Alkafaji, Rodriguez, Viola and Wales and the secondary is led by Buck, Hang, McGowan and Temple.

The Bulldogs don’t have any time to ease into Class A, as they open at perennial powerhouse and last year’s state runner-up Thornton Academy. Portland will quickly learn where it stands and adjust from there, but it’s likely the Bulldogs will find out that they can match up nicely with the best that the state has to offer. Don’t expect a step back after losing in the state game and moving up in class, or a protracted learning curve under a new coach. This team is going to be a force to be reckoned with and a memorable season, capped by a deep playoff run, should be the end result.


Senior Martin Kalala is a captain and top returner this fall for Portland’s boys’ soccer team.

Coach: Rocco Frenzilli (37th year, 281-206-54 overall record)

2022 record: 10-6 (Lost, 3-2, to Deering in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returners: Brandon Chacon (Senior), Martin Kalala (Senior), Max Kierstead (Senior), Christo Manuel-Brito (Senior), Ford Myers (Senior), Paolo Joao (Junior), Ronan Mas (Junior), Francisco Samuel (Junior)


Pivotal games: Sept. 1 GORHAM, Sept. 5 @ Marshwood, Sept. 12 FALMOUTH, Sept. 26 @ Scarborough, Oct. 12 @ Deering, Oct. 17 MARSHWOOD

Coach’s comment: “I’m extremely excited about the season. These kids bring energy every day. The guys like being around each other and they make me look forward to seeing them play. We have some skilled players. I’m not going to get ahead of my skis. We’ll respect every team. I think we’ll be competitive and make things happen. It’ll all depend on how well we develop.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Portland suffered some tough losses a year ago, but finished strong and a close loss to its crosstown rival prevented a deeper playoff run. The Bulldogs lost some critical pieces to graduation, including goalkeeper Ben Littell, all-stars Oliver Hettenbach and Finn Tidd and standout Nicky Paterniti, but a lot of talent returns with an abundance of promise waiting in reserve.

Kalala was an all-star a year ago. He’ll be a key midfielder and is one of the team’s four captains. Manuel-Brito is another key midfielder and new sophomore Baptista Muanda will step right in and make an impact. His vision and passing touch will set him apart. Up top, Kierstead (a captain) and Samuel will be top scoring threats. Junior Isaac Rodrigues-Nkanza might quickly become a household name. Chacon and Joao will also be heard from. Portland expected big things from Myers, a key contributor since his freshman season, but he suffered a knee injury during the preseason and will unfortunately be sidelined. Mas, the fourth captain, is a veteran in the back. Senior Jonatas Onossamba Calombo could be primed for a big season and classmates Luis Ordonez-Franco and junior Esa Antonio will also see their share of minutes. Senior Calvin Hale replaces Littell in goal. Sophomore Griffin Lavertu will also get a chance to play. There’s an abundance of depth behind that core group. That list includes seniors Chadai Gatembo (back), Felisberto Mamuisa (midfield), Ben Medd (back), Ian Marembo (midfield), Oliveira Nzolkio (back), Matan Schoenfeld (back), Kieran Sullivan (back) and Eli Tenenbaum (back) and juniors Colin Lennon (back), Elizer Mambueni (midfield), Silvio Mbayi (midfield), Ben Sessa (back) and Osvaldo Silva (forward).

Portland has enough depth to match up with anyone. The Bulldogs struggled scoring goals against top foes a year ago. If they can find a little more offense this time around, they’ll be right there battling for a top playoff spot. Portland always saves it best for last and this time around, the Bulldogs could make a run deep into November if the pieces fall into place.


Junior Anneliese Collin will find herself around the goal a lot this fall for Portland’s girls’ soccer team.

Coach: Matt Bernstein (second year)


2022 record: 8-8 (Lost, 4-0, to eventual champion Scarborough in Class A South quarterfinals)

Top returners: Morgan Deveau (Senior), Marissa Hill (Senior), Phoebe Knoll (Senior), Lucy Tidd (Senior), Anneliese Collin (Junior)

Pivotal games: Aug. 31 THORNTON ACADEMY, Sept. 9 @ Windham, Sept. 15 @ Cheverus, Sept. 22 @ Deering, Oct. 2 @ Scarborough, Oct. 5 GORHAM

Coach’s comment: “We’re fortunate to have a number of quality returning players. We are excited about a number of new players and I’m especially enthused to see the number of interested players rising. It is wonderful to have more girls interested in playing soccer. We will, first and foremost, build a positive and supportive team culture. We want to consistently grow as the season progresses, so that we are always learning and improving while simultaneously encouraging each other so that all players can have a positive soccer experience. We hope to compete in every match, putting our best foot forward, giving it our all, and working together as a team each time we step on the field. We are excited for the season ahead.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Portland made nice strides a year ago in Bernstein’s first season, winning a playoff game for the first time since 2014. This year’s squad has some holes to fill, but the Bulldogs have enough talent in reserve to become one of the better teams in Class A South.

Collin figures to be the team’s top scorer this fall. She was an honorable mention all-star in 2022 after scoring 15 goals and adding nine assists. Just a junior, Collin, a midfielder, will wreak havoc all over the pitch. Knoll scored twice a year ago, but she helped generate plenty of scoring chances and this season, the finishing touch will likely often be hers. The defense is led by Deveau, who was an honorable mention last season. Hill is another veteran who returns in front of Tidd, who also was an honorable mention all-star last year. Sophomore Linda Nicholson will also be heard from between the pipes. Freshmen Maizie Chalmers and Kiley McCrum are looking to step in and make an immediate impact as well.


The Bulldogs should steadily improve between now and mid-October. There is talent and promise aplenty on this roster. There are some tough challenges ahead, including games against all of the region’s traditional powers, but Portland believes it can hold its own against those teams and win the majority of its other contests. If that happens, perhaps an even deeper playoff run will ensue.

FIELD HOCKEY (co-op with Deering)

Coach: Kristen Rogers (first year)

2022 record: 0-14 (No playoffs)

Top returners: Ainsley Dunn (Senior), Gabi Harrigan (Senior), Hannah Hawkes (Senior), Erin Winship (Senior), Ruby Chase (Junior), Leah Sigfridson (Junior), Maya Zager (Junior). Emma Walsh (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 6 BONNY EAGLE, Sept. 7 @ South Portland/Westbrook, Oct. 3 @ Bonny Eagle, Oct. 11 SOUTH PORTLAND/WESTBROOK

Coach’s comment: “I’m eager for this season because I truly have a well-rounded team. We have smart, capable and skilled players who are knowledgeable and able to play multiple positions. This season is really going to be about starting strong, building confidence and putting together all of our individual strengths so the puzzle pieces fit just right. When we get the combinations right on the field and things start to gel, it’s really, really fun field hockey to watch. This group is hungry and I’m really excited to see what they do this season.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: The Portland/Deering co-op team begins a new era this season as after longtime coach Beth Arsenault stepped down, Rogers, the junior varsity coach for the past eight years, takes over. Rogers played for the Bulldogs and also coached at Greely. She inherits a team that’s ready to win some games and make a move up the standings.

Walsh was a first-team league all-star, as well as All-State a year ago after facing and stopping a ton of shots in goal. She’ll be the anchor this time around and will keep the squad in games. Defensively, Walsh will be supported by Chase, Winship and senior Fiona Johnson. The midfield boasts Chase, Sigfridson, Zager and senior Kaitlin Vigue. Top scorers project to be Dunn, Harrigan (an honorable mention all-star last season) and Hawkes. Vigue and juniors Caitlin Rohde and Lucy Susen hope to contribute as well. Juniors Erin Bower and Jojo Philbrook and sophomores Solera Bailey and Avery Black are other players to watch.

Portland/Deering hasn’t been able to produce many victories in recent seasons (just one since becoming a co-op program in 2019), but with a new start and some promising pieces in place, that should begin to turn around this season. With Walsh holding the opposition at bay, if Portland/Deering can generate consistent offense, it has what it takes to be a surprise team.


Senior Gianna Smith is a top returner this fall for Portland’s volleyball team.

Coach: Matt Nguyen (second year)

2022 record: 4-10 (No playoffs)

Top returning players: Iman Alaari (Senior), Inas Alaari (Senior), Anita Kim (Senior), Mia-Saron Bates (Senior), Gianna Smith (Senior), Ava Civiello (Junior)


Pivotal matches: Oct. 12 DEERING, Oct. 16 SOUTH PORTLAND

Coach’s comment: “Our numbers have doubled from last year. We have a lot of new players and I’m very excited about that. We made some progress last year. Hopefully with the talent we have this year, we can make the playoffs. That’s our goal.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Portland has just one winning season in its history, but the program’s fortunes might be about to turn, as participation is on the uptick and this year’s group has some talent to work with, as well as a favorable schedule.

Inas Alaari was an honorable mention all-star a year ago and will be a force in the middle. Iman Alaari is right there with her. Civiello returns at setter. Smith will be a top hitter. Bates and Kim are standouts on the defensive end. Keep an eye also on sophomore Millie Keiter, who can do a little of everything.

The Bulldogs could be primed for a quantum leap up the standings. If they can gain some early confidence, look out. This team’s goal of making the postseason is realistic.


Senior Nathan Blades will be one of the premier runners in Class A this season. He and his Portland teammates are eyeing the state title.

Coach: Frank Myatt (first year w/boys’ team; third year w/girls’ team)


2022 results:
(Boys) 2nd @ Class A state meet (Class A South regional champion)
(Girls) 4th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:
(Boys) Nathan Blades (Senior), Jason Hargesheimer (Senior), Ben Prestes (Senior), Charlie Jacques (Junior), Aran Johnson (Junior)
(Girls) Ava Chadbourne (Junior), Maia Endicott (Junior), Samantha Moore (Junior), Alice Anderson (Sophomore), Silvi Holmes (Sophomore), Ella Vinkemulder (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “The boys’ team is no secret. We’re one of the favorites and we’re embracing that. (Former coach) Kevin (Woodhouse) did a great job building up the program’s talent and depth. Our numbers are huge. I want us to stay healthy and to push at the right time. Hopefully, we’ll rise to the occasion at the right time. The girls have no seniors but we bring back our top four from the state meet. We won’t sneak up on anyone this year. We’re more of a known entity. We have our top three runners, so our success will be about developing four through seven. If we can peak at the right time, I think we can run with anybody in the state.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: It’s a golden age for the Portland cross country program, as both teams are coming off terrific seasons with hopes for even more glory this fall.

The boys’ squad, which won the Class A South regional title last fall for the second year in a row, then was runner-up at states (its best finish since 2005), is now also coached by Myatt. The Bulldogs return state meet scorers Nathan Blades (fourth), Johnson (18th), Prestes (25th) and Hargesheimer (27th). Jacques and Owen Blades ran at states a year ago and hope to move up. Seniors Elias Coleman and Asa Winter, juniors Henry Morrison and Alex Price, sophomore Jacob Harmon and freshmen Sajan Kelsey and Wyatt Wander make a formidable unit even stronger. Hampden Academy remains the favorite in Class A, but even with Bonny Eagle and Scarborough nipping at its heels, Portland should be the best team in the South and if all goes well, it might just leapfrog the Broncos this time around and bring home the program’s first hardware in 45 years.

Junior Samantha Moore is ready to dominate on the trails again this fall.

On the girls’ side, the story is equally promising. Moore is one of the state’s elite runners (second individually last season) and she’ll set the tone. Chadbourne (ninth last season at states) and Endicott (14th) are talented in their own right. Anderson (41st) and Vinkemulder (55th) hope to move up. Holmes is another veteran who will help the pack and freshmen Kate Morrison and Emma Price are newcomers who will step right in and make an impact. The Bulldogs will battle with Bonny Eagle and Falmouth for league and state supremacy. One year after its best finish this century, Portland hopes for even better results. For this group, the sky’s the limit.



Coach: Mark Bay (third year)

2022 results: (DNQ for Class A state match)

Top returners: Lucas Milliken (Junior), Adam Paradise (Junior), Joe Mancini (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We graduated 10 seniors from last year’s team, including six of our top eight. The team is working hard and is very open to coaching. If the top three have solid rounds at Natanis, the team has a chance to qualify for the state tournament.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Portland has some new faces this fall, but it wouldn’t be wise to rule out this squad, which features some players who could quickly become household names.

Milliken was a second-team league-all star in 2022 and will be a captain and play in the top spot. Mancini and Paradise are veterans who will also play key roles. Sophomore Owen Anderson is poised to play in the number four spot. Seniors James Johnson and Darin Tadeo, along with newcomers Connor Daniels, Sevino Moran and Simon Pillsbury are also in the mix.

The Bulldogs will have tough matches every time out in the Northern Division, but that will make this group ready to be at its best come qualifying time. Look for big things from Milliken as an individual and for Portland to perhaps surprise some folks and make it to states as a team.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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