Wrestling wins PVCs, defeats reigning state champion
To followers of FA athletics, it has been obvious that the Foxcroft Academy wrestling team has been on a mission all year. On Saturday, January 30, they accomplished step one of that mission. They went into hostile Ellsworth territory and defeated the reigning State Champions on their home mats to win the Penobscot Valley Conference Championship.
Antonio Ayala, RJ Nelson, Zach Caron, Brandon Brock, and Michael Pendriss were all tournament champions, and Brandon Weston, Dustin Simmons, and Billy Brock were runners-up. Also placing in the top three were Cameron Cookson and Conner Johnson for the Ponies.
Amazingly, Foxcroft amassed 171 points to Ellsworth’s 146 without one of their best wrestlers in Connor Holmes, the number-one seed in the 285-pound bracket. Holmes injured his hand earlier in the week at practice but will return to the mat for Regionals. “Connor was devastated that he did not get to wrestle at PVC’s,” said Coach Ayala. “He’s been having a great year, but we wanted him to sit this one out and let his hand heal for Regionals.”
Others stepped up in his place. “Senior Cameron Cookson placing 3rd at 120 and freshman Dustin Simmons reaching the finals at 152 was huge for us,” said Ayala. “They really stepped up when we needed them the most.”
Also stepping up for the Ponies was senior captain Antonio Ayala, who came into the tournament seeded second to Ellsworth’s Logan Lord, who had already beaten Ayala several times earlier in the season. Tino Ayala, however, did not let his record against Lord affect his approach to the match. “Tino continued to work at practice, believed in himself, and knew that he could beat him,” said Coach Ayala. “That’s what an FA wrestler does!” Ayala went on to defeat Lord in the finals 6-3 and led a rally of victories that launched the Ponies atop the PVC Championship podium.
Next week the Ponies will travel to Winslow to compete at the Class B North Regional Championship–“The Mission continues!”
Photo taken by Angela Ayala.
Smith beats buzzer twice to keep boys basketball’s playoff hopes alive
The Foxcroft Academy boys basketball season has come down to the wire. Entering the final week of the regular season, the Ponies need wins over both tournament-ranked Hermon and Central to keep any chance of making the postseason alive.
At home on Tuesday, the Ponies did exactly what they needed to accomplish, besting the Hermon Hawks 61-60 in overtime. Leading the Hawks by eight points at the conclusion of the third quarter, Foxcroft fought off a ferocious fourth-quarter comeback attempt by Hermon to force overtime on a Hunter Smith layup as time expired in regulation.
Overtime was a back-and-forth affair, but ultimately it was deja vu for the Hawks, as Smith again dashed their hopes of victory with a layup at the buzzer–this time to go up by one and secure the win.
Smith led the Ponies with 23 points and Noah Allen, back from injury, chipped in 13. Foxcroft’s next do-or-die game is at home on Thursday as the Ponies take on the Central Devils. Come cheer on the Ponies at 7 as they continue their late-season surge for a ticket to the playoffs.
Video filmed by Duncan Smith ’17. Photo taken by Perry Wang ’17, click here to see more of his great photos of the game.
Track nips two facility records, shatters two school records
The Foxcroft Academy indoor track team concluded the regular season on a high note. The Ponies broke two facility records, won eight events, scored 125 points, and pushed 28-0 Brewer High School to the brink of upset–ultimately falling just six points short.
Hunter Smith, who competed in his first track meet of the season, won the long jump, triple jump, and high jump, and Cooper Nelson won the mile, 2 mile, and anchored the 4×800-meter relay team that won to lead the Ponies.
Smith’s outstanding jump of 6’6” in the high jump bested the field by eight inches, set a new facility record at the UMaine Field House, broke FA’s school record in the event, and established Hunter as the state’s best vertical jumper. The 4×800-meter relay team of Nelson, Tobias Hogfeldt, Gabe Piquette, and Chandler Rockwell also broke a facility record and in the process cut another 12 seconds off their school record and became only the second team in the state to go sub-8:30 in the event.
Also winning events were Rockwell in the 400-meter run and Nate Church, Blaine Robinson, Evan Chadbourne, and Hogfeldt combined to win the 4×200-meter relay.
Also scoring in the top six for the Ponies were Church (2nd in the 55 and 5th in the long jump), Hogfeldt (2nd in the 400), Rockwell (3rd in the 200), Piquette (3rd in the 2 mile), Robinson (4th in the 200 and 5th in the 55), Chadbourne (4th in the 55), James Smith (5th in the pole vault), Riley Poisson (6th in the 200 and 6th in the triple jump), and Caleb Buerger (6th in the pole vault).
For the girls, Virginia Macomber ran personal bests in the mile and 2 mile to combine for five team points, and the 4×200-meter relay team of Erika Chadbourne, Emily Sprecher, Hannah Sprecher, and Desirae Brawn placed fourth.
The Ponies will next compete at the Eastern Maine Indoor Track League Championship on Monday, February 8.
Photo taken by Ali Desmarais ’16.
Swimming concludes season 6-1, ready to make splash at championship meets
The Foxcroft Academy swim team concluded its regular season in Presque Isle on Saturday and is now ready to advance to the PVC and State championship meets over the next two weekends.
The girls team, which finished the season with a 6-1 record, is poised to make a splash in the postseason with several swimmers ranked in the top three of their events at the PVC Championship and an outstanding seven swimmers qualified for the State meet. Amazingly, three Ponies have swum state-qualifying times in five or more events–Avery Carroll (50, 100, 200, and 500 frees, 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, and 200 individual medley), Gabriela Johnson (50, 100, and 200 frees, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, and 200 individual medley), and Jenna Clukey (50, 100, 200, and 500 frees, and 100 butterfly).
Elena Russo (50 free, 100 free, and 100 backstroke), Chloe Waugh (200 free, 500 free, and 200 individual medley), Alice Russo (100 free and 100 backstroke), and Madison Fadley (200 individual medley) have also qualified for the State Championship.
The boys team, made up of first and second year swimmers, has not qualified anyone for the State meet yet, but they will get one more shot at qualifying at the PVC Championship Meet this weekend. “The boys did incredibly well for first and second-year swimmers,” said Coach Rublee. “Many have emerged as very talented and competitive swimmers. Their upbeat attitude at meets was incredible–they just went out and had fun, no matter what.”
The boys team will compete at their PVC Championship meet on Friday, February 5, at the Husson University Pool at 6, and the girls will compete at their PVC Championship meet on Saturday, February 6, at the University of Maine pool at 2.
The State Championship meets will be hosted by Bowdoin College next weekend. The girls will compete on Friday and the boys on Saturday.
Photo taken by Racquel Bozzelli ’16.
Girls basketball to play for home-court advantage
For the juniors and seniors on this year’s girls basketball roster, making the postseason has been a yearly affair. This year, they set their aspirations a little higher. They wanted to host a playoff game.
With one contest remaining in the regular season, a home playoff game is within their reach. It will take a win over Central on Thursday.
The Ponies enter the contest ranked ninth in the Class B North region and need a win to move into the top eight.
With three different leading scorers over the past three games–Alli Bourget, Grace Bickford, and Abby Simpson–contributions could come from any position. Come cheer them on Thursday night as they tipoff at 5:30 for a chance to play one more game at home.
Photo taken by Nick Phan ’16.