Jeissey Khamis came up big as a junior during Portland’s run to the state final a year ago. This season, he’ll be a force at both ends of the floor. File photos.

Coach: Joe Russo (34th year, 463-193 overall record, five state championships)

2022-23 record: 16-6 (Lost, 52-42, to South Portland in Class AA state final)

Top returning players: Pepito Girumugisha (Senior), Jeissey Khamis (Senior), Kevin Rugabirwa (Senior), Drew Veilleux (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 15 @ Edward Little, Dec. 19 DEERING, Dec. 21 CHEVERUS, Dec. 22 @ South Portland, Jan. 6 @ Windham, Jan. 9 @ Deering, Jan. 15 THORNTON ACADEMY, Jan. 17 EDWARD LITTLE, Jan. 20 SOUTH PORTLAND, Jan. 25 WINDHAM, Feb. 8 @ Cheverus

Coach’s comment: “It’s a different team from last year. Maybe not as much speed, but we should be a better shooting team. I’m enjoying the kids, but we have a lot to figure out. We have two starters back, five kids who saw substantial varsity minutes. If we can buckle down and find our style of play and team chemistry, I think we can do nice things. I hope we have it together when it matters most.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: Portland surprised a lot of folks a year ago by making a run through the regional field and reaching the state final, where ultimately the title dream was denied by repeat champion South Portland. Graduation took its toll on the program, but as always, the Bulldogs return some key pieces and have several other promising players ready to step in and make an impact.

Senior Kevin Rugabirwa has provided some highlight-reel moments for the Bulldogs.

Khamis was an honorable mention league all-star in 2022-23 after averaging 6.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game and can be unstoppable in the paint when he’s at his best. He’ll also see time away from the basket this season. Veilleux made the SMAA All-Rookie team as a sophomore and is another force in the frontcourt. Rugabirwa (5.9 ppg) has hit some huge shots and will be a top scoring option at guard. Girumugisha will have the ball in his hands the majority of the time and will look to set up his teammates while being able to score himself. Sophomore Cordell Jones, a transfer from Gorham, who made quite an impact this fall on the gridiron, is the x-factor. He’s a physical force who can get to the rim and hit shots. If he develops the way he did during football season, he’ll be a star by February. Junior Devin Walker is a potential force in the post. Senior James Johnson, junior Mateta Antonio and sophomore Lucas LeGage will be top scoring threats off the bench.

Like usual, Russo will use the regular season to mold his team into its best version. A brutal schedule means there will be some speed bumps, but the Bulldogs’ upside is as promising as anyone’s. In a year devoid of a clear favorite in Class AA, Portland has the opportunity to not only get back to the final game, but to win it for the first time in seven seasons. This squad will be a lot of fun to watch.


Junior Baleria Yugu can always find an open teammates. The point guard hopes to lead Portland to big things this winter.

Coach: Abby Hasson (fourth year, 16-33 overall)

Top returning players: Inas Alaari (Senior), Ainsley McCrum (Senior), Emma Shaw (Senior), Lucy Tidd (Senior), Baleria Yugu (Junior)


Pivotal games: Dec. 8 @ Bangor, Dec. 19 @ Deering, Dec. 21 CHEVERUS, Dec. 23 SOUTH PORTLAND, Jan. 12 @ Oxford Hills, Jan. 30 OXFORD HILLS, Feb. 8 @ Cheverus

Coach’s comment: “We’re finding our footing. We’ll play more up-tempo than we have. We have a lot of athleticism and length. Baleria does a nice job creating for us. We just have to work on finding points. The league looks a little more wide open than it has the past few years. We should be more poised this year with our veteran leadership. We just want to stay competitive.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Portland will play a style that will give a lot of teams fits in the weeks to come. If the Bulldogs can generate some offense, they’ll be able to make a move up the standings.

Senior Emma Shaw will make her presence felt in the frontcourt this season.

Yugu was an honorable mention all-star last winter after averaging 8.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game and she leads the team from the point guard position. Tidd (5.8 ppg), senior Willa Morales and sophomore Lili McCullum are other guards to watch. In the frontcourt, Shaw (an honorable mention all-star last season after averaging 4.7 points), Alaari (5.3 rebounds per game in 2022-23) and McCrum (4.9 rebounds per game) will be difference makers.

Portland’s biggest strength will be its ability to get up and down the floor. The lingering question is can the Bulldogs put the ball in the hoop? If the offense comes along, look for this group to be competitive with everyone and to be a team no one wants to face in the tournament.

BOYS’ HOCKEY (co-op with Deering and South Portland)

Portland junior Lucas Milliken will be a top scoring threat this season.

Coaches: Joe Robinson (17th year, 146-143-12 overall record) and Jeff Beaney (eighth year, 48-64-3 overall record)


2022-23 record: 12-9 (Lost, 5-3, to Thornton Academy in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Tobey Lappin (Senior), Jackson McArthur (Senior), Ben Palson (Senior), Parker Sipos (Senior), Hewitt Sykes (Senior), Daniel Fitzgibbon (Junior), Ian House (Junior)

Pivotal games: Dec. 9 @ Scarborough, Dec. 14 FALMOUTH, Jan. 4 @ Falmouth, Jan. 6 LEWISTON, Jan. 10 @ Edward Little, Jan. 31 @ Thornton Academy, Feb. 8 SCARBOROUGH,

Coach Robinson’s comment: “The kids are great. They get along really well. There’s still a lot of work to do. The returning guys are fired up after last year. There’s not much depth, but the core we have is good. We may start out slow, but we’ll play the long game. I think we’ll be competitive. We’re definitely a playoff team.”

Coach Beaney’s comment: “South Portland is coming off a very exciting year and (Portland/Deering) has players who have played a lot. We have a tough schedule, but as we get more familiar with each other, we’ll become more consistent.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Portland/Deering co-op joins the highly successful South Portland squad this season, a year after the Red Riots (who also had players from Freeport and Waynflete) made a run to their first-ever state game. While they came up short, it was a huge step for the program and now, bringing in Deering and Portland kids who weren’t able to play a varsity schedule in 2022-23, will potentially make for an even better squad, one now known as the Beacons.


The top returner is South Portland’s Lappin, who made the All-State team last winter. Lappin is a top forward and he has plenty of company when it comes to putting the puck in the net. He’s joined by South Portland’s Fitzgibbon, Palson and freshman Michael McMains, as well as Deering senior Connor Green, Portland senior Hunter Temple and junior Lucas Milliken and senior Henry Cossaboom, who attends Casco Bay High School. Defensively, the Beacons feature House, McArthur, Sipos and Sykes from South Portland, as well as Portland sophomore Jack O’Connell and freshman Jackson Nalli. South Portland junior Michael Zaccaria will be in goal and he should be very strong as the last line of defense.

The Beacons will have to navigate a challenging schedule and might struggle at times early in the year, but with all this talent on the roster, it’s only a matter of time before the squad jells. This group hopes to be at its best in February and March and that goal is attainable.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY (co-op with Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and Waynflete)

Portland junior Jane Flynn will be one of the state’s top scorers this season.

Coach: Bob Mills (12th year, 105-91-8 overall record)

2022-23 record: 11-8 (Lost, 4-3, in overtime, to Gorham in South Region quarterfinals)

Top returning players: Becca Good (Senior), Erin Winship (Senior), Marina Bassett (Junior), Jane Flynn (Junior), Libby Hooper (Junior), Hartson Mosunic (Junior)


Pivotal games: Dec. 14 CHEVERUS, Dec. 23 @ Penobscot, Jan. 11 GORHAM, Jan. 18 PENOBSCOT, Jan. 25 @ Cheverus, Jan. 27 @ Gorham, Feb. 3 YARMOUTH/FREEPORT

Coach’s comment: “We have a highly skilled set of returning starters and a deeper bench than we’ve had in the past. If we stay healthy, we should be very competitive. Our goal is to be playing deep into the playoffs.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: One of the most successful co-op teams around gets even more robust this winter, as Cape Elizabeth/Waynflete/South Portland adds some talented players from Portland as well. Now known as the Beacons, the squad is already off to a dazzling 4-0 start, defeating Greely, Winslow, Yarmouth/Freeport and York by a composite 33-14 margin, and the best is yet to come.

The offense will be prolific thanks to South Portland’s Bassett (30 goals and 19 assists during an all-state campaign last winter) and Portland’s Flynn (37 goals during an all-state season). Cape Elizabeth’s Hooper (14 goals, 11 assists) and Waynflete’s Good (3 goals, 4 assists) are other top threats. Cape Elizabeth senior Evelyn Agrodnia, the soccer standout and former ice skater extraordinaire, is new to hockey but figures to make an impact as well. Flynn is technically a defender and will help shut down the opposition along with Cape Elizabeth’s Mosunic (4 goals, 4 assists last season) and Waynflete freshman Alexis Turner. Portland’s Winship will be strong in goal.

The Beacons are poised to do great things. Like everyone else, they’re chasing defending state champion Cheverus, but by season’s end, there might be no one better than this collection of talent.



Fresh off leading Portland’s boys’ cross country team to its first state title in 45 years, senior Nathan Blades will be one of the state’s top indoor track distance runners this winter.

Boys’ coach: Mony Hang (third year)
Girls’ coach: Frank Myatt (third year)

2022-23 results:
5th @ Class A state meet
(Girls) 3rd @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) Nathan Blades (Senior), Reegan Buck (Senior), Elias Coleman (Senior), Myles Hang (Senior), Ben Prestes (Senior), Asa Winter (Senior), Barrett Chalmers (Junior), Charles Jacques (Junior), Owen Blades (Sophomore)
(Girls) Ava Chadbourne (Junior), Anneliese Collin (Junior), Maia Endicott (Junior), Alisandra Lindos (Junior), Samantha Moore (Junior), Elizabeth Pete (Junior), Alice Anderson (Sophomore), Sylvia Holmes (Sophomore), Elle Vinkemulder (Sophomore)

Coach Hang’s comment: “This is a big season for the Bulldogs. We have the biggest scoring senior class since I took over as the head coach. Our distance runners brought home a cross country state title and we hope to carry that same momentum into the indoor season. We have a very strong group of runners this year and our goal is to bring home a state title.”

Coach Myatt’s comment: “We have success coming off cross country. We get some versatility from the jumps. The high-end points are there to compete at states. It’s about depth. How much can we fill in to complement what we already have? We have to find some sprint points. We should be competitive week-in, week-out and if we’re at our best in February, anything can happen.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: Portland has returned to glory and big things are in store for the Bulldogs this winter.

The boys’ squad features several distance runners who just won the school’s first cross country state title in 45 years. That group includes Nathan Blades (runner-up in the mile and third in the two-mile a year ago), Prestes (fourth in the 800), Owen Blades, Coleman and Jacques, as well as new junior Aron Johnson and sophomores Eric Harmon and Jason Harmon. In the sprints, Buck is recovered from the collarbone injury that sidelined him much of the football season and will look to make a major impact. Senior Logan Watson and sophomores Ben Mbongo, Alex McKusick and Aziz Mohamed will also be heard from. In the middle distance, Chalmers, Winter, senior Junior Antonio and sophomore Griffin Lavertu are runners to watch. Hang (fourth in the 55 hurdles last season) will be a top scorer in the hurdles. Watson also takes part. On the field side, Antonio, Owen Blades, Buck, Hang and Lavertu will among the best jumpers in the conference. Hang can also throw the shot put a great distance. The Bulldogs will show steady improvement throughout the season and by February, will be ready to go toe-to-toe with defending champion Scarborough and contenders like Bonny Eagle and South Portland for top honors.

Portland junior Samantha Moore has dominated in indoor track, outdoor track and cross country, wearing a mask or without, and she’s poised for another dominant campaign this winter.

The girls’ team is coming off its best state meet showing this century and is primed to build on that result even though teams like Bonny Eagle, Scarborough and Windham stand in the way. Moore simply gets better every sports season and that means she’ll put on another dominant show this winter. Moore is the reigning Class A champion in both the 800 and the mile. She leads a strong distance group which also features Chadbourne (fourth in the two-mile last season), Endicott, Holmes, Vinkemulder and freshman Kate Morrison. Anderson is a top middle-distance threat. In the sprints, keep an eye on Lindos and freshmen Maisie Chalmers, Sophie Knowles and Cayla Sullivan. Chalmers will also compete in the hurdles and Collin can do a little of everything and is especially adept on the field side after placing second in the pole vault and third in the high jump a year ago. Pete is a top thrower and Lindos is another jumper of note.


Portland/Deering senior Maria DelMonte will look to dominate in her final high school season before competing at the University of Denver next year.

Coach: Sarah Rasmussen (sixth year)

2022-23 results:
8th @ Class A state meet
(Girls) 9th @ Class A state meet


Top returners:

(Boys) Andy Marvin (Sophomore)
(Girls) Maria Delmonte (Senior), Sophia Harrod-Kim (Junior), Anya Heiden (Junior), Anica Spencer (Junior), Kaia West (Junior),

Coach’s comment: “We have emerged from the COVID era with a powerful sense of team unity and joy. The girls’ team has the potential to have a very interesting postseason thanks to our strong juniors and seniors. Our boys’ team, led by Andy Marvin, will also have a strong season and we foresee a lot of development and improvement.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Deering/Portland co-op swim team again boasts some talented athletes to watch.

The girls are paced by the University of Denver-bound Delmonte, the Portland High standout who won both the Class A 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke as a sophomore. She’ll make a run at the top spot again. Deering’s Harrod-Kim (sixth in the 100 butterfly last season) will be in the mix in that event, as well as the 100 breaststroke. Portland’s West (eighth in the 500 free last year) is a top distance threat. Other returners to watch include Deering’s Heiden (freestyle) and Portland’s Spencer (breaststroke and individual medley). Portland freshman Nell Fernald (breaststroke) is a newcomer to keep an eye on.

On the boys’ side, Portland’s Marvin returns. He finished third in the 50 free and fifth in the 100 free as a freshman and will lead the way.



Coach: George Aponte-Clarke (sixth year)

2022-23 results:
(Boys) 4th @ Class A state meet
3rd @ Class A state meet

Top returners:

(Boys) George Ayer (Senior), Henry Morrison (Junior), Alex Price (Junior)
(Girls) Heloise Bampton (Junior), Talia Olins (Junior), Ella Sobol (Junior)

Coach’s comment: “We have an enthusiastic group that loves to have fun together outside in winter while also working hard to ski well. We have a nice mix of new skiers, some just starting out, and experienced veterans returning with eyes on top results. Positive attitudes and determination keep the team ready for any condition or challenge faced. Their goal is to focus on being strong student-athletes who find joy no matter what Mother Nature delivers.”


The Forecaster’s forecast: Portland’s cross-country skiers are looking forward to another triumphant campaign.

The boys’ squad returns Ayer, who was fourth in the state in the freestyle and 10th in the classic last season. Morrison and Price are seeking high finishes as well.

On the girls’ side, Bampton, Olins and Sobol are veterans. They’re joined by freshman Emma Price.


Coach: Ted Banks (second year)

2022-23 results: 19th @ Class A state meet


Top returner: Henry Spencer (Senior), Tristan Conley (Junior), JJ Stoops (Junior), Silas Waskiewicz (Junior), Josh Cyr (Sophomore), Gage Nisbet (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “Our goal is always the same, to win the state championship. If we do not, we plan on taking another step closer along the way. We have a room full of enthusiastic student-athletes that are working hard and seem to be having fun. Our upperclassmen and returners have very naturally become good teammates and leaders. It’ll be a fun year in a competitive Class A South and Class A state tournament.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: The Bulldogs return several key veterans who are bolstered by a strong group of newcomers and it should help them move up the standings come February.

Spencer (165 or 175 pounds) is the senior leader. Conley (126), Stoops (175) and Wasklewicz (144) are are also experienced. Cyr (heavyweight) and Nisbet (138 or 144) hope to be heard from in the weeks to come. New wrestlers of note include sophomores Lachlan Gartland (157) and Manuel (175) and freshman Wyatt Wander (106).

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at For game updates and links to game stories, follow him on Threads: @foresports2023

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