Dragons seek continued success
It is winter sports time at Brunswick High School, with the Dragon boys and girls basketball squads set to open their Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference slates this week, while Mike Routhier’s boys hockey squad looks to return to the Eastern A playoffs.
In swimming, David Bright’s Dragons are gearing up for a successful run and return to KVAC glory, while the indoor tracksters hope for another solid year.
Todd Hanson is in his 17th season (222-92), and the Dragons went 9-9 last year, losing to No. 1 Bangor 67-38 in Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinal action.
Brunswick opens Friday at home versus Cony at 7 p.m.
Key returnees include seniors Mitchell Black, Garrett Erb, Trent Anderson, James Bandouveres; juniors Brad Smith (6-foot-5 center), Konnor Scarponi, Nolan Robbins and Jibreel Garrett; and sophomore Ryan Black.
“Strengths are experience and athleticism,” said Hanson. “ We should be able to really defend people well, and translate our defensive game into fast-break offense. Weaknesses will be the time it takes for the guys to master both the offensive systems and defensive schemes that we incorporate.
“We hope to be very competitive in a tough KVAC South Division. If we can establish and define roles for people, and our senior-laden team can lead by example with hard work and determination each day, we should have a successful season.
“Our schedule is one of the toughest in the league, with games against Bangor, Hampden, Mt. Blue, Skowhegan and two versus Lawrence.”
Hanson sees the same schools as competitive.
“In a very balanced Southern Division, Lewiston and Edward Little look to be extremely tough. Also the two games versus our rival Mt. Ararat are always a battle,” said the veteran coach. “ This is one of the hardest working groups that I’ve coached. Their attitude and work ethic should carry them a long way.”
Brunswick hosts Edward Little on Dec. 16 and rival Mt. Ararat on Dec. 22, before visiting Bangor Dec. 27 and Lewiston Dec. 30. The regular season concludes with a trip to Erskine Academy on Feb. 7 and the second “ Battle of the Bridge” contest at Mt. Ararat on Feb. 9.
Sam Farrell returns for his third season with a far different roster than he had the past two seasons.
The Dragons finished 12-6 last season to qualify fifth in Eastern Maine Class A before falling to Friday’s opponent No. 4 Cony in the quarterfinals 41- 32 at the Augusta Civic Center.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Augusta as the Dragons look to get off to a good start.
Farrell’s challenges will be to replace the losses from last year’s squad. Forward Lydia Caputi transferred, forward Dakota Foster decided not to play basketball this year, and Emily Bryant, Tiana Burton and Tiffany Fraser graduated.
“It is an exciting time, with several new challenges in front of us, so we are trying new things, knowing we will have to try different schemes against our opponents,” said Farrell.
Seniors Becky Champagne (guard), Mel Bryant (forward) and Liz Faulkner (G), along with juniors Lauren Carlton (G) and Libby Arford (F) and sophomore Lyse Henshaw (G) played a lot of minutes last year and will be asked to do the same this season according to Farrell.
Newcomers are junior Jessica Libby (G); sophomores Erica French (G), Anna Dimick (F), Sasha Hampton (F) and Kiana Dearborn (G); and freshman Julia Champagne (G).
All these players can shoot, in fact, can’t stop them from shooting, and they are athletic and scrappy,” said Farrell of his squad. “Liz (Faulkner) is one of the best rebounders for her size, but as a team we will have to show the desire and willingness to box out.
“This team will be better in January, I believe, than in December.”
Farrell expects the usual suspects — Edward Little, Skowhegan, Bangor, Cony — to be tough again, along with up-and-coming squads Erskine Academy, Lewiston, Mt. Ararat and Oxford Hills.
“ No one wants to play at Oxford Hills this year, and Mt. Ararat, Erskine, Lewiston is improving and will be tough opponents,” said Farrell. “Every night will be a challenge in the KVAC.”
After opening at Cony, the Dragons host Lawrence on Dec. 13 and visit the Eddies on Dec. 16. Other key contests include Oxford Hills (H, Dec. 20; @, Jan. 31), Mt. Ararat (@, Dec. 22; H, Feb. 9), Bangor (H, Dec. 27) and Erskine (@, Jan. 3; H, Feb. 7).
Boys ice hockey
Last year saw Mike Routhier complete his eighth campaign, and his skaters went 8- 9-1 in the regular season, losing to St. Dom’s 6-1 in Eastern A quarterfinal action.
The Dragons open the Eastern A regular season Dec. 10 at Bangor (4:40 p.m.), and face a challenging schedule, which includes Waterville (@, Dec. 26), Cheverus (@, Jan. 12), Lewiston (H, Jan. 14), Scarborough (H, Feb. 9) and St. Dom’s (@, Feb. 15).
“ Overall, we are a very good skating team and should be strong in goal and along the blue line,” said Routhier, whose charges dropped all three games in the preseason Greely Round Robin recently against quality opponents. “We were in every game in the tournament, so I was pleased with that.
“We will rely on our good skating to create turnovers while trying to be opportunistic.”
Graduation took Charlie Frye and James Waring, while Cole Lloyd transferred and goaltender Isaac Karkos decided not to play.
Seniors Dylan Towle (forward, 12 points last season) and Blake Bodwell (defense, Second Team All- East last year) are the leaders as Routhier has no juniors on the squad. This group is led by sophomores Ryan Maciejewski (F, led team in scoring last year with 18 points), Dwayne Palmer (F, 10 points), Clay Parent (F), Jacob Parent (F), Joe Waring (F), Josh Thibeault ( F), Tyler Niven (Second Team All-East defenseman, 12 assists), Cam Heatley ( D), Rudy Dumont (D), Jason Blier (goaltender) and Blake Alexander (GK).
“ We were the youngest team in the league last season and may be again this year,” said Routhier.
Newcomers are sophomore Andy Auclair (D); and freshmen Parker Wild ( D), Matt Brooks (F), Jacob McGowan (F), Jared Parent (F), Tyler Sullivan ( F) and Kyle Woodruff (F).
“ The primary goal is to improve every day and compete with every team on a nightly basis,” said Routhier, whose squad’s home opener is slated for Dec. 15 against Maranacook/Winthrop/Hall- Dale (6:30 p.m.). “Overall, we have 28 players in the program. I like the overall enthusiasm, energy and camaraderie the boys have.
“As freshmen, a lot of these sophomores played significant varsity time and all have a playoff game under their belts, which should bode well for their confidence going into this season.”
Brunswick highlights from the 2010/11 season included the boys taking second in the KVAC Championship, with the girls finishing fifth.
In Class A state action, Paige Tetu was sixth in the 200 individual medley, Joey Blair was fifth in the 100 butterfly and sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
The Dragons, who open on the road at Belfast on Dec. 9, lost Burleigh Desjardins, Chad Kousky, Kayla Purinton (four-time KVAC champion), Megan Hubert, Abby Washington and Meredith Rivard.
Returning for the boys are seniors and state qualifying finalists Joey Blair, Dan Jacques, Charlie Nau and Eric Wiese; juniors Henry Ditzel and Trevor Hopkins, along with KVAC championship scorers senior Chris Bruno, junior Reuel Wilgus ( junior) and sophomore Kadin Woolever.
“ Freshman newcomer Jacob Cost comes in with some YMCA team experience,” said head coach David Bright. “And, freshmen Alex Marc-Aurele, Ezra Rogers and Owen Ginty will look to contribute in diving as well as swimming.
Other newcomers are senior Sam Bessey; juniors Jordan McLeod and Sam Fortin; sophomore Jacob Duffy; and freshman Oliver Smith.
“There is a core group of swimmers ( Blair, Jacques, Wiese, Ditzel) who should have a presence at the top of their events at KVAC and state levels,” added Bright about his team’s keys to success. “If other swimmers can improve and move into scoring positions at championship meets, the team will be competitive at league and state meets.
“In the KVAC, Morse is the defending champion and should continue to be strong. Brunswick was eighth at the State Class A meet last year and will look to move up.
“ With 24 athletes, Brunswick has one of the largest teams in the state and has a nucleus of experienced and highly-ranked swimmers. There has been an increased interest in diving, which may contribute to success.”
On the girls side, Bright returns state meet finalist and senior team captain Kassi Coulombe, along with juniors Paige Tetu, 2010 state champ Jessica Russell, Taylor Godbout, Hannah Kressbach and Sydney Escoe, and sophomore Madeline Cowan.
“ There are 19 new team members along with the 15 returnees,” said Bright. “ Freshmen Madison Hackworth and Rosalita Capaldo bring some experience and should be able to contribute.
“There is a core group of swimmers (Tetu, Cowan, Russell) with state meet experience. In the KVAC, Messalonskee may be considered a preseason favorite to challenge defending champion Morse. It looks like there will strong teams at Mt. Ararat, Cony and Edward Little.
Bright likes what he has seen in practice up to this point.
“There is a large and enthusiastic group of swimmers training and improving daily,” offered Bright. “Four new divers may help to make that event a strength.”
Brunswick 2010/ 11 highlights included a KVAC title for the girls, while the boys finished second behind Edward Little. In the Class A state meet, the Dragon girls took third in a close threeteam battle as Scarborough scored 79 points, Bonny Eagle 72 and Brunswick 70.
In the boys state meet, the Dragons were fifth as Scarborough took the top spot.
Graduated Mike Slovenski was the lone Brunswick boy to win at states, taking the top spot in the pole vault, while Katie McMahon was first in the two-mile (12:03.50) and helped the4x800relaysquadalong with Anna Cowan, Farren Welzel and Kyia Jensen to the top of the podium in 10:06.35. Also, Alexis Dickinson won the 55-meter run in 7.40.
“We have a large group of experienced athletes competing in a variety of events, and most have state meet experience,” said Brunswick girls indoor track coach Dave DeLois.
Graduation took talented Jensen, Welzel and Kayln LeBlanc on the girls side, while the boys lose Slovenski, Matt Hatke, Nate McCue, Patrick Horan, Andrew Tarleton, George Mills and Jeff Chase.
Returning to the fold for DeLois are seniors Jasmine Boyle (distance), Dickinson (sprints, relays), McMahon ( distance) and Cassandra Murano ( sprints, relays); juniors Bridget Horan (sprints, relays), Hill (hurdles, jumps) and Hannah Judd ( jumps); and sophomores Haley Murano ( sprints, relays), Cowan ( distance), Murphy ( distance), Caley Nicholson (distance), Anna Turner ( sprints, jumps), Michele Richards (throws), Julianna Rattey ( sprints, jumps), Amy Lyons ( distance), Lily Sanders ( distance) and Shannon Viola (sprints).
Newcomers are senior Michelle Moeller (distances); juniors Dakota Foster (throws, jumps) and Savanna Kay ( sprints); sophomore Sophia Knox (sprints); and freshmen Brooke Escoe (distances) and Sarah Judd (sprints, jumps).
“The key for us is to stay healthy and focus on improving every week,” said DeLois, who feels Edward Little and Mt. Ararat will contend for the KVAC title. “We want to be peaking at the championship meets.”
DeLois also coaches Morse indoor track athletes. Senior Ben Wright, along with juniors Maria Heath, Charlotte Recknegal, Evelyn Underwood, Elizabeth Walfield and Nate Stover will compete in Class B.
Returning for Dan Dearing’s boys squad are seniors Don Benbow (sprints, high jump), Mitchell Black (middle distance, triple jump), Ben Blaisdell ( distances), Alex Emery (sprints, jumps), Connor Monette ( middle distances, pole vault), Wilder Nicholson (distances), Oliver Rhodes ( distances), Jacob Schwab ( distances), Dylan Walton (sprints, jumps) and Benson Worthington ( distances); juniors Kyle Milbourn (sprints, pole vault), Alex Nichols (sprints, jumps), Burton Rabinowitz (sprints, jumps), Jamie Ross ( distances), Dan Stadden ( distances) and Nathaniel Vilas (high jump); and sophomores Cody Buchheit ( sprints, jumps), Trevor Dodge ( distances), Adam Finik (sprints), Brandon Gerber ( sprints, throws), Angelo Girardi ( sprints, jumps), Philip LeBlanc ( sprints, jumps, throws), Walter Martin (hurdles, sprints, jumps), Zach Miller (sprints), George Rowe ( distances) and Thomas Wiese (sprints).
Dearing has several newcomers as well. Junior Jason Carter ( sprints, throws); sophomores Brady Larson ( sprints, throws), Lukas McCue ( sprints), Nick Mrvichin ( sprints, throws) and Logan Tupper (sprints); and freshmen Scott Bernier ( throws, pole vault), Isaac Hughes (jumps, middle distances), Jacob Hunter (distances), John Murphy (distances), Oleg Novogradev (sprints, jumps), Mack Stinson ( distances) and Chris Tanner (distances) join the fold this year.
“Last year we ran into some bad luck with meets being canceled due to snow,” said Dearing, who said his team only has five meets to qualify for the KVAC meet. “We need to have everyone healthy and ready to go for each meet.
“Edward Little has to be the favorite after winning KVAC’s last year. They will return many of the same athletes. And, Mt. Ararat and Lewiston will also be in the hunt with many of the league’s top athletes.”
“ We will have a well- balanced scoring team, with our distance and middle distance runners able to compete with the top runners in the league,” said Dearing. “We will also have the potential to score well in the jumps and throws. One of our greatest strengths will be the leadership from our juniors and seniors, who have each improved a lot since last year.”
Brunswick opens with the Bowdoin Relays on Dec. 17.