Telstar sports previews
The Telstar High School Softball Team will travel to North Carolina next week for some early-season practice. And thanks to the unusually warm weather at home, the Rebels may be more ready than they might have expected to take on southern teams.
For the first time in memory, Telstar practiced on its home field before the April vacation.
"This is the earliest that we have ever been on our fields," said veteran Coach Jim Lunney. "Usually they're still wet during April vacation. It's a tremendous benefit to be able to throw and field balls off our infield and outfield instead of the gym or, worse yet, the parking lot. We are working on real game situations already - this will be a big help to us getting ready for the season."
The Rebels return seven starters from last year's team, which won the Western Class C Championship.
Gone to graduation are pitcher Candace Hall and third baseman Whitney Mills, who were also the #1 and #2 batters.
"They did a tremendous job for us last year, but we have good candidates to replace them," said Lunney. "Junior Katie Sumner will play third base, and sophomore Lyndsay Merrill is coming back from an ACL injury and will play shortstop," he said. "We have high expectations of both these two girls to play a significant role in the success of this season."
Pitching will be handled by juniors Kayla Merrill and Nicena Walker. Walker will also be anchoring the infield at first base.
"Seniors Lindsay James at second base, T.J. Cowin in right field and Sam Largess behind the plate, and junior Hannah Morin in centerfield will help provide a solid defense and an aggressive offense," said Lunney. "Juniors Sarah Averill, left field, Victoria Forkus, infield and Gail Lavorgna, infield, will give us experienced depth. Junior Jean Lawrence is showing good improvement, and sophomores Kallie Brown and Tasha Farnum and freshman Rachel Wheeler will provide additional depth."
"We look for a competitive season, and look to make another run in the playoffs. The Carolina trip will help the team bond and work new people into the lineup for our opening game against Dirigo on April 26."
Another veteran coach, baseball's Bob Remington, has also had his squad outside taking advantage of the dry field.
"We've had four or five full practices outside and played seven innings at Kents Hill. Usually at this point we have not been outside at all," he said Friday. "It's definitely helping but, of course, it's helping the competition, too."
The Rebels are a very young team this year. Returning players include senior Mike Fitzmorris, juniors T.J O'Connor and Ben Field; and sophomores Dan Whitney, Kyle Peterson, Corey Howard, Tyler Brown, Devin Vail, Casey Thornton and Drew Wilson. New to the Rebels are junior Daniel Vaughn and freshmen Nick Mills, Kurt Morgan and Ricky James.
"With such a young team, an above .500 season would have to be considered a success," said Remington. "The core of returning players, combined with some promising newcomers, could be enough to surprise some opponents."
Track and field
The warm weather has also allowed Telstar tracksters to run their oval early.
"It's great to be out on the track this early in the season. Being out early allows us to up the tempo of our conditioning, which should pay off for the rest of the season," said Coach Dave LeClerc. "Our league (the Mountain Valley Conference) gambled and scheduled a pre-April break meet (today, April 15) and it looks like the gamble paid off."
The roster includes seniors Joe Haines, Trevor Kendall, Nic Kingsbury, Amanda Wiley and Tony York; juniors Rick Aguilar, Morgan Lee, Taylor Maines, Shaun Nanthensen, Elek Pew, Melody Royer and Jamie Steven; sophomores Mike Black, Katie Blaszczak, Tim Jewell, Matthew Keane, Ben Lewis, James Lowell, Adam Mahar, Carson McKay and Becca Pelotte; and freshmen Carlee Beatson, Savannah Belisle, Mike Del Duca, Hannah Huston, Will Lyman and Jenna Putnam.
"We have a lot of new faces that show a lot of promise," said LeClerc. "We can't wait to see what some of these kids will do in a meet."
The Rebels' veterans, he said, "all have a lot to offer. A few for whom I have some rather high expectations include (but are not limited to): Ben Lewis, Adam Mahar, and Elek Pew in the 1,600- and 3,200-meters; Morgan Lee and Taylor Maines in the 1,600 (and probably the 800 or 3,200); Nic Kingsbury in the 800 (and maybe the 1,600 or 400); Tim Jewell in the disc and javelin; Katie Blaszczak in the 100 hurdles and the 400; and Jamie Steven in the 100 and 200."