Foxcroft Academy sports update: Smith named Big East Player of the Year, wrestlers take third at states, swimming and track records fall again, and more…

hunter smith mdi

Smith named Big East Player of the Year

Foxcroft Academy basketball player Hunter Smith has been voted the Big East Player of the Year following a terrific junior season that saw him average 18.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2.3 steals per contest. The versatile and highly-skilled forward helped Coach Dave Carey’s Ponies bounce back from a 3-6 start to finish 9-9 and earn the #10 seed in Class B East before being ousted by #7 Oceanside in the preliminary round of postseason play.

“He continually got better once he got his legs back after football, and he was a difference-maker for us over the last half of the season,” said Coach Carey. “He was a big reason why our record improved so much down the stretch.”

On a sadder note, the loss at Oceanside on Wednesday marked the final time Coach Carey will patrol the sidelines for the Ponies. After a coaching career that has spanned 22 years (17 at Foxcroft), Coach Carey is ready to pour his energy into other pursuits, including spending more time with his new granddaughter. “It’s been awesome coaching at FA,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better place to do it. Everyone’s been great to me the whole time.”

Whoever replaces Coach Carey will inherit a roster stocked with young talent to go along with seniors Smith and Dylan Harmon-Weeks, who averaged 5 points, 5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game while also earning a Big East Defensive Award. Drew Dankert (10.3 ppg, 3 rpg, 44 threes made) and Nick Clawson (4 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.4 apg) will look to build on impressive freshmen campaigns while starting guard Riley Richard (2.2 ppg, 1.3 apg) is set to return for two more seasons. Promising sophomores Max Santagata, Phillip Pleninger, and Nick Dyer will also be expected to contribute in 2015.

The Ponies will miss the imposing inside presence of Big East Scholar Athlete Sean Cody, who scored 10.5 points per game and pulled down a team-best 7.3 rebounds per contest. They’ll also bid farewell to Drew Smith, a consummate teammate who received the Big East’s Paul Soucy Spirit Award; reserve forwards Isaiah Kennell and Alex Hung; and reserve guard Kevin Xu.

Photo taken by Holly Ly ’15.

wrestling team photo

Foxcroft wrestlers battle to third-place finish at Class B state meet

The Foxcroft Academy wrestling team scored 96.5 points to finish third behind Ellsworth (147.5) and Camden Hills (105.0) at the Class B State Championship Meet in Fryeburg on Saturday. Brandon Weston (4th at 106), Tino Ayala (runner up at 120), Eli Olson (4th at 126), Connor Johnson (4th at 132), Brooks Law (4th at 152), Billy Brock (4th at 170), Brandon Brock (3rd at 182), Michael Pendriss (4th at 220), and Connor Holmes (3rd at 285) all reached at least the consolation-bracket final for the Ponies, who improved upon last year’s fourth-place finish at the state meet.

Nine of Coach Luis Ayala’s 11 wrestlers reached the semifinals of the winner’s bracket, but only Tino Ayala was able to break through to the finals (doing so in impressive fashion with an 11-1 win). The others headed to the consolation bracket, where all eight picked up wins to move to the consolation semifinals. Key wins for Holmes and Brandon Brock in that round propelled the Ponies past Western Regional champion Mountain Valley, who finished with 95 points.

“I am really proud of how we battled today,” said Coach Ayala, who has led Foxcroft to five state titles. “Things did not go our way, but nobody gave up and they all gave their all. Sometimes that is all you can ask for. To finish in third place in a tough Class B group says a lot about our program and our wrestlers.”

The Ponies will send nine wrestlers to the All-State tournament next weekend in Sanford.

Photo taken by Angela Ayala. Click here to see more of her work from the state meet.

Cooper Nelson at states

Morrison, Nelson set school records at state track meet

Senior Fern Morrison saved her best for last, breaking the school record she set in the 800-meter run last week by more than a full second and also running 1:01.13 in the 400-meter dash to finish runner-up to Rebecca Lopez-Anido of Orono at the Class B Maine Indoor Track State Meet at Bates College on Monday. The two-time outdoor state champion’s time of 2:26.97 in the 800 was good for fourth place in an incredibly-talented field, and her 12 total points led the team to a 14th-place finish out of 28 competing schools.

“Fern just keeps chopping chunks of time off her records,” said Coach Graham Pearsall. “It’s unbelievable. In her last race of her indoor career, she really left it all on the track. I could tell in the first 50 meters that it was going to be a fast 800. She just had that look, and it’s only fitting that her last race was yet another record-setting performance. Fern’s resume indoor is truly spectacular and won’t likely be matched for years.”

Not to be outdone by Morrison, junior Cooper Nelson established a new Foxcroft Academy record in the mile with a blistering 4:37.77, outperforming his #4 seed and finishing just a tick behind top-seeded Chris Cote of Waterville.

Coach Pearsall described the nip-and-tuck race as one of the season’s most exciting. “Entering the meet we knew that the mile was going to be tactical and a little slower,” he said. “So even though he was seeded fourth, 10 seconds out of first, we knew that with his finishing kick Cooper had a shot at winning against anyone. Most of the field was still in it at 800, but Cooper jumpstarted the race when he took the lead, and the lead probably changed between three guys three or four times until Cooper took the lead again with 250 to go. From there it was a two-man race with Cote. Cooper battled him off for two turns, but Cote was able to surge past in the last ten meters. Cooper put forth a real man’s race. He is a true racer–he’ll go toe-to-toe with anyone, and I really admire that in him. To capture the indoor mile record in his first indoor season ever is pretty special.”

Nelson will find out soon if his time is good enough to qualify for the New England Interscholastic Indoor Track and Field Championships, which will be held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts, on Friday, February 27.

Pete Boyer picked up an additional point for the boys’ team, which finished in 14th overall, with a seventh-place showing in the shot put (41-09.75). The senior is expected to be one of the top all-around throwers this spring as the Ponies look to rekindle the magic of 2013’s outdoor track state championship season.

Pearsall, who will assist Coach Robert Weber this spring, is proud of the strides the team made this season and believes the future of the program is bright. “This season was great,” he said. “I feel like I got cheated out of a true season last year because of the renovations to the track that caused much of the season to be cancelled, but my second year was a lot of fun. We have a lot of personalities on the team, and they really make it enjoyable to go to practice every day. This was the last indoor season for a lot of seniors, but really the end of indoor just marks the end of the first half of the track season. The spring season is coming up in just six short weeks, and I know these seniors aren’t finished and have high aspirations for outdoor. I can’t wait.”

Photo taken by Camille Bozzelli ’17. Click here to see more of her work from the state meet.

avery carroll sets record

Four school records fall at state swimming meet

The girls’ swimming team established four Foxcroft Academy records at the Class B Swimming and Diving State Championships at the University of Maine on Monday. Senior Julia Annis capped a brilliant career by breaking her own record in the 200-yard IM, junior Avery Carroll broke Amber Murray’s record in the 100-yard backstroke, freshman Jenna Clukey took Annis’s 200-yard freestyle record, and sophomore Jillian Annis teamed with Carroll, Clukey, and sister Julia to break the record they set in the 200-yard medley relay at the PVC Championships a week ago.

Battling schools with larger rosters, Foxcroft’s five swimmers did about as well as they could have, scoring 149 points to outpace 20 schools and finish sixth behind Greely, MDI, Cape Elizabeth, Camden Hills, and Morse. Clukey was runner-up in the 200-yard freestyle–trailing only MDI’s Leila Johnston, who will be competing for Florida State next year–and also took fourth in the 100-yard butterfly. Julia Annis was fourth in both the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard IM, Carroll finished third in the 100-yard backstroke and sixth in the 200-yard IM, and Jillian Annis placed 19th in the 100-yard backstroke and 21st in the 100-yard breaststroke. The record-breaking relay team took third in the 200-yard medley relay while freshman Chloe Waugh teamed with Clukey, Carroll, and Julia Annis to take sixth in the  200-yard freestyle relay.

In the boys’ meet on Saturday, the Ponies’ four swimmers earned 10 points to place 19th. Senior Clay Carroll closed out his excellent career with a 14th-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke and a 16th-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle. He also worked with Dexter Canning, Tony Tang, and Hunter Giacomuzzi to take 14th in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Photo taken by Jing Guo ’16.

madison chadbourne at the line

Chadbourne named to Big East’s Second Team

Coach Blake Smith’s 13th-seeded girls’ basketball team gave #4 Camden Hills everything they wanted and more in a thrilling overtime loss in the preliminary round last Tuesday. The battle-tested Ponies will enter 2015 with high expectations, as they grew considerably over the course of this season and will return six of their top seven scorers.

Madison Chadbourne, who shot 57 percent from the floor and averaged 11.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in a breakout junior campaign, was a Second Team All-Big East selection and also received a Paul Soucy Spirit Award. Sophomore Grace Bickford, who averaged 9.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest, and sophomore Kendra Ewer, who averaged three assists and two steals per game, were also honored by the conference. Bickford was named a Scholar Athlete while Ewer earned a Defensive Award.

Abby Simpson will look to build on a strong sophomore season that saw her average 6.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while fleet-footed sophomore guards Alli and Abbi Bourget, who combined for 94 points in the regular season, will be major contributors in 2015.

The 2015-2016 Ponies will be without starting guard Liz Richard, who averaged five points and nearly three rebounds per contest; reserve forward Jackie Miles, who was third on the team with five three-pointers made; and reserve guard Jo Panciera.

Photo taken by Matthew Kim.

Toby Nelson

About Toby Nelson

I am the Director of Communications at Foxcroft Academy.