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Loaded Ellsworth swim team making waves in Class B

first_img Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected] Bio ELLSWORTH — Jim Goodman stands at the edge of a packed pool deck at the Down East Family YMCA. Surrounded by swimmers, he stands perfectly still with a whistle in his mouth.As Goodman blows his whistle, members of the Ellsworth swim team jump into the pool in groups of four. When each group nears the other side of the ball, he blows the whistle again and shouts, “Go!” so loud it can be heard echoing throughout the entire building.In the past, Goodman wouldn’t have had to blow his whistle nearly this much. Yet with 44 swimmers on the team this season, Ellsworth’s coach of 15 seasons requires a bit longer.“I’ve never had this many before,” Goodman said. “There’s usually around 30 kids, but with more bodies this year, we have what it takes to win a lot of races.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textEllsworth certainly has won its fair share of races so far during the 2017-18 season, which has a chance to be the team’s best to date. Through five meets, the Eagles have emerged among the top teams in both the boys’ and girls’ fields.The school’s boys’ team, which followed up a state title in 2016 with a second-place finish last year, is in good shape to add another banner to the Katsiaficas Gymnasium walls. The Eagles have won each of their four dual meets this season and finished fourth among a Class A-laden field at the Dec. 26 Morse Invitational despite missing key competitors.Between Camden Holmes, Sam Pelletier, Austin Baron, Richie Matthews and more, the Ellsworth boys have a blend of experience, speed and endurance opponents find hard to replicate. Having done so in the past, the team’s leaders know what it takes to compete — and win — at the highest level.“We have numbers and a lot of fast swimmers, and that’s what you need,” Holmes said. “Not only that, but we also have some kids like me still here from team two years ago when we won [the state championship meet]. We’ve been there before, and we have that drive to get back.”(From left) Ellsworth swimmers Caitlin MacPherson, Abby Mazgaj, Miriam Nelson and Ellie Clarke pose for a photo after breaking the school record in the girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay against Foxcroft on Jan. 12 in Ellsworth. The group finished the relay in 1 minute, 48.96 seconds. KAREN BARON PHOTOOn the girls’ side, the Eagles seem to be making history on a weekly basis. In their first meet of the season, the Ellsworth girls defeated rival Mount Desert Island for the first time ever with an 88-80 win. Against Foxcroft on Friday, Caitlin MacPherson, Abby Mazgaj, Miriam Nelson and Ellie Clarke combined to break a school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1 minute, 48.96 seconds.The Ellsworth girls are positioned to be a force in Class B for the nest few years with a young core of swimmers. MacPherson, Mazgaj, Nelson and Clarke will all return to the Eagles next year, and fellow underclassmen Lillian Frank, Lilja Hanson, Katie Hammer and Kristen Moseley will be among those joining them.Ellsworth only dual loss on the girls’ side came Jan. 9 against Class A and Penobscot Valley Conference powerhouse Bangor. The Eagles and Rams were neck and neck throughout the meet before the latter pulled out a 90-78 victory.“We swam really well and came so close,” Clarke said. “We’re hoping to get another chance at them when [the PVC championships] get here.”Coaches at other schools have taken notice of the Eagles as well. MDI head coach Tony DeMuro was in awe of both Ellsworth sides when the two teams met last month, after which he said the boys’ team was the strongest in either class.Ellsworth’s Austin Baron swims the 100-yard breaststroke during a high school swim meet against Bangor on Jan. 9 in Ellsworth. KAREN BARON PHOTO“They have one of the best feeder programs around,” DeMuro said. “When you have a group like the one they have come together with the speed and team size they have, you’re going to have a remarkable season.”As is the case with most teams statewide, the Eagles are still looking to get as many swimmers as possible qualified for February’s state championships. When that time comes, title contenders such as Old Town, MDI, Cape Elizabeth and Morse will be there to test them.Ellsworth will get its shot at Old Town, which beat the Eagles for the boys’ championship last season, when it hosts the Coyotes at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Jan. 19. After that, the Eagles will host Carlisle and GSA in a doubleheader dual meet before heading on the road against Hampden Academy and ending the year at home against Washington Academy.“They’re motivated and have been in this spot before,” Goodman said. “This team has been as fun to coach as any I’ve ever had, and they can do anything because they love what they do.” Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest Postscenter_img Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020last_img read more

COLUMN: Memories are tinted cardinal and gold

first_imgDiehard sports fans are irrational. There is some unquantifiable and illogical aspect of sports that makes every passionate fan value sports way more than we probably should. Admittedly, I made my decision to attend USC partially based on the fact that I needed to be at the Coliseum on Saturdays in the fall. While the logical reason for choosing a college is academics, which USC has in spades, I simply couldn’t stomach the idea of putting on any other colors besides the cardinal and gold. I’ve been a Trojan fan since I was six years old. While other kids would choose school-recommended books for summer reading, I plowed through Athlon, Phil Steele and Street and Smith’s college football guides, memorizing the USC offensive and defensive lines before I learned my times tables. My introduction to the world of Trojan football came at a good time. Former head football coach Pete Carroll’s first year was not great, but in year two, the first season I truly remember, the Trojans took off.Most of my favorite memories from elementary school have to do with USC.  I watched Carson Palmer absolutely torch the Fighting Irish and cement his Heisman Trophy candidacy with my dad on a Friday night from the basement of a synagogue because we were out of town for a family friend’s bar mitzvah (this really added meaning to the whole football as a religion concept). I vividly remember Mike Williams’ touchdown pass to Matt Leinart in the 2004 Rose Bowl. I remember eating a taquito every time the Trojans scored against Oklahoma in their route to their sole BCS national title. I was for two days after that, and I haven’t eaten a taquito since. I remember Dwayne Jarrett’s blurry-eyed catch on fourth-and-nine and the roller coaster of emotions as time expired and the few precious seconds that were added back to make way for the Bush Push against Notre Dame. I remember the feeling of Trojan superiority when November hit because no one was beating Carroll.It wasn’t just the championships and the Rose Bowls and the legendary moments. It was coming back against Arizona State from a 21-3 deficit behind Lendale White overpowering an overmatched Sun Devils defense. It was thoroughly dominating Oregon with Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart and forcing Nebraska and Bill Callahan to play keep-away and still lose by a lot. It was always being confident USC would find a way to win, no matter the score or the situation.I remember thinking that USC was always going to be this good, even after the Texas loss (which still ranks as one of the worst days of my life). Then the dominoes started to fall. It was small things at first: roadblocks that kept the team out of National Title games and instead restricted USC to vying for consolation Rose Bowls. Then came John David Booty’s broken finger and an upset Thursday night loss in Corvallis, when the Rodgers brothers and the Beavers shocked the Trojans.Then it was bigger things, like Mark Sanchez leaving too early and Jim Harbaugh thinking it was OK to go for two and Carroll jumping ship before the sanctions hit. Even sadder than this slow demise was that it wasn’t just football that fell. The basketball team was probably an even bigger passion for me. I thought when Daniel Hackett shut down Kevin Durant and the Trojans beat the Longhorns in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, USC basketball was going to be a power. Then Taj Gibson picked up his fourth foul while the team was up 12 points against North Carolina in the Sweet 16, and Trojan basketball was never quite the same. High school, unfortunately, was a wasteland of sorts when it came to rooting for USC. In football, there was the upset win against a top-ranked Oregon team in Eugene and the 50-0 beat down of UCLA, and in basketball, there was the occasional big win over the Bruins. However, I came to college hoping that USC’s fortunes would turn and somehow there would be a national title in there for football or a Final Four berth for basketball.While we didn’t quite have that the last four years, I did become an even bigger Trojan fan. Dealing with former head football coaches Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian taught me what it was like to root for an underachieving program. Sitting through a too-close-for-comfort basketball game between USC and Northern Arizona taught patience. I was also lucky to be a columnist for the Daily Trojan for four years and sit in the press box for some games. As just a fan with zero professional sports journalism aspirations, it was such a privilege to go down on the field for the final five minutes of games. I’ll never forget when USC played Cal in 2015, and I was right there when Justin Davis bounced it outside to get the game-clinching first down. The speed with which he moved was truly astounding and will stick with me forever.It wasn’t just that, though. Sitting in class and making friends with members of the teams and working on exceptionally difficult Asian art history projects together gives you a different rooting interest when its people you know on the field. You root a little harder and have a bit more compassion when they get burned on a deep route or drop a catchable pass.I would argue that there is no better place to go to college than USC even if you aren’t a sports fan, but being a diehard Trojan makes it even better. Sitting through miserable football losses to Washington State and Washington makes redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold’s emergence and USC’s Rose Bowl victory that much sweeter. Watching blowout defeat after blowout defeat for two years at the Galen Center makes a quadruple-overtime conquest against Arizona or a buzzer-beater against SMU in the NCAA Tournament that much better.Growing up, I had the luck of becoming a Trojan football and basketball fan just as the first became a dynasty and the second gained respectability. It gave me confidence that USC would always win, no matter the score. There was a time in recent years that that unwavering confidence was lost, but thanks to Darnold, Helton and Enfield, it is back. It remains to be seen whether or not this will be the start of another dynasty or a brief resurgence, but either way, I’ll be there, hoping for another 34-game win streak or Sweet 16 berth.There is nothing quite as satisfying as being a college sports fan, especially when you are rooting for the Trojans. Jake Davidson is a senior majoring in accounting. His column, “Davidson’s Direction,”  ran on Mondays.last_img read more

Timberwolves beat Lakers for first Christmas win

first_imgMinnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler (23) shoots around Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle during the first half of an NBA basketball game. APLOS ANGELES — Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 21 points and 10 rebounds and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Los Angeles Lakers 121-104 on Monday (Tuesday Manila time) for their first-ever Christmas Day victory.Former Southern California standout Taj Gibson had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have won four straight. Jamal Crawford added 19 points off the bench.ADVERTISEMENT Westbrook scores 31, OKC keeps rolling with win over Rockets Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson LATEST STORIES Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense The Timberwolves led by 10 with 7:42 left in the second quarter, but the Lakers closed the half on a 22-13 run. Kuzma hit a 3 with 1:07 left to give Los Angeles its first lead before Butler hit a spinning layup to put Minnesota in front 53-52 at the break.TIP-INSTimberwolves: Towns had 18 points in the second half. … F Nemanja Bjelica had one point and two rebounds in six minutes after missing 15 games with a sprained left foot.Lakers: Los Angeles missed out on a chance to break a tie with the New York Knicks for most wins on Christmas Day, dropping to 22-22. The Lakers played on Christmas Day for the 19th consecutive season.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone MOST READ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award View comments Kyle Kuzma scored 31 points for the Lakers, who have lost three in a row and six of seven. Jordan Clarkson had 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Julius Randle had 16 points and seven rebounds.Minnesota pulled away when Towns and Crawford combined to score 12 straight points after Randle put Los Angeles up 84-83 with 11:14 to play. The Lakers cut the deficit to 105-99 with 4:30 remaining, but Gibson knocked down consecutive baskets to restore a double-digit lead.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson SPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkKuzma scored 10 of the Lakers’ first 14 points.Los Angeles was without Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. Ball sprained his left shoulder against Portland on Saturday, and Ingram missed his second straight game with quad injuries. Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anewlast_img read more