By River Plouffe Vogel, Sports Editor
Although the ground is still covered in snow and it looks and feels more like February than March, springtime has officially arrived and with it a new season of USM athletics. The spring season often feels like it comes and goes in the blink of an eye, but rest assured it’s always action packed! First however, it’s time to wrap up the winter season and how some of our teams finished their postseason run.
Men’s Indoor Track & Field
The men’s indoor track team had a great season, especially freshman standout Zach Hoyle (Sidney, Maine), who became only the second freshman in the history of the USM men’s program to compete in an individual event at the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships. Holye dropped an insane 1:53.47 time in the 800 meters at Costello Sports Complex in Gorham during the Maine State Open back in late Feb. His time put Hoyle among the top 800 meter times in the country and placed him at nationals in Birmingham, AL. In the preliminary round he posted a time of 1:54.26, which left him just barely out of the top eight who advance on to the finals. Outdoor track and field starts March 31.
Women’s Indoor Track & Field
For the women’s indoor track team, sophomore Adela Kalilwa (Lewiston, Maine), who competed in the triple jump, qualified for her first trip to the 2018 NCAA Division III Indoor National Championships. She jumped in the second flight of the preliminary round. Kalilwa posted a mark of 11.18 meters (36-8 ¼) on her third attempt but did not advance to the finals. Still, it was an amazing show of athletic explosiveness and the momentum is all hers going into the outdoor season, also starting on March 31.
USM’s wrestling team had one of their best seasons in the history of the program, and most notably sophomore Peter Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine) and freshman Austin Shorey (Lebanon, Maine) both qualified for the 2018 NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament hosted by the Cleveland Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio. Shorey earned All-Region honors, and placed third at the Northeast Regional Championship. Shorey finished the season with a record of 33-10, and is the first freshman in USM wrestling history to make it to the NCAA Division III National Championship. Shorey fell to opponent Kevin Kelly of Loras College, in an incredibly close match at 6-4.
Sophomore Peter Del Gallo finished his season 40-3, and was ranked nationally for his weight class. Del Gallo had to face the top-seeded wrestler and 2017 runner-up, All-American CJ Pestrano of Central College. Del Gallo led Pestrano 5-4 with seconds remaining before Pestrano scored the go-ahead points on a take down with three seconds left to earn the win. Del Gallo also earned All-Region honors for the second time in his career, placing second at the 2018 Northeast Regional Championship.
The men’s lacrosse team has started it’s spring season under head coach Sam Lane, who is in his seventh season coaching. The team is returning 12 players from last year’s team that finished 6-10 overall and 3-4 in LEC play. Among the returnees that Lane will be counting upon to lead this year’s team are senior Nate DelGiudice (Oakland, Maine), junior Paul Leonardo (Groton, Mass.), sophomore Bryce Randall (Portland, Maine), senior and two-time LEC Defensive Player of the Year Sam Hornblower (Portland, Maine) and senior goalie Zach Bessette (Readfield, Maine). This year’s team was ranked sixth in a preseason polls. So far they are 1-4 overall, and 0-0 in conference play. Their next game is Saturday, March 31 in Gorham against Umass Boston.
The women’s lacrosse team is also returning 12 from last year’s team that finished 7-9 overall and 1-5 in the conference Play. So first-year head coach Ashley Durepo will have plenty of weapons including junior Aliza Jordan (Gorham, Maine), who is the top returning scorer, sophomores Allison Irish (Lyman, Maine) and Ruth Nadeau (Bath, Maine), and juniors Colleen Fleming (South Portland, Maine) and Mira Kuni (Waterboro, Maine).
The team is off to a great start thus far, winning their last two games and sitting at 3-2 overall, while still 0-0 in conference play. Their next game is Friday, the 30 in Gorham against Eastern Connecticut state.
Baseball season is well underway and last years LEC regular season champs are hoping to continue their dominance under Veteran USM head coach Ed Flaherty, beginning his 33 season returns. 18 players from last year’s team return, which advanced to the final game of the NCAA New York Regional Championship. The Huskies finished the 2017 campaign 34-13 overall and 12-2 in the LEC.
In the national preseason polls, the Huskies were ranked 11 in Division III by Collegiate Baseball News and 15th by D3baseball.com. The team is 5-5 on the season and 0-0 in conference play. Their next game is Wednesday, the 28th at Endicott College.
A very talented team returns this year for the USM softball program. This veteran core includes several 2017 All-Little East Conference selection. The USM Huskies’ softball team has been picked to finish fourth in the 2018 Little East Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. UMass Boston, last season’s tournament winner, was picked to finish atop the conference standings.
Last year they finished the season with a 15-16 overall record and a 7-7 mark in LEC action. This year they are riding a two game winning streak and stand at 6-6 overall and 0-0 in conference play.
Men’s tennis kicked off their season on March 21 in a loss to Thomas College. The 2014, 2015, and 2016 LEC champions. This year’s team has only one senior, Chase Ovara (Sagamore Beach, MA). This will probably be a rebuilding year for a team that has dominated the LEC’s, however they still have plenty of talent and will only get better as the season continues. Their next match is March 30, against Castleton University.