Maine high school sports have no COVID protocols for the first time since the pandemic began

By Larry Mahoney, Bangor Daily News Staff Jay Campbell held his first official practice as the new Bangor High School field hockey coach Monday night. Not only is this his first season coaching the Bangor team, but it’s also his first time coaching field hockey.

By Larry Mahoney, Bangor Daily News Staff

Jay Campbell held his first official practice as the new Bangor High School field hockey coach on Monday night.

Not only is this his first season coaching the Bangor team, but it’s also his first time coaching field hockey. Campbell is also the girls basketball coach at Bangor High.

He accepts the challenge and likes what he has seen from his team.

“They’re great kids who work hard,” Campbell said. “They are very teachable and enthusiastic. We had fun.”

Monday marked the opening of the fall sports season, although Aroostook County schools started on July 25 due to the extensive potato harvest break later this fall.

It also marked the first time since the pandemic began that there were no COVID-19 protocols in place for high school sports, according to Mike Beeson, assistant executive director of the Maine Principals Association. There is expected to be little, if any, disruption to the athletic schedule this season due to COVID-19.

Teams gathered across the state Monday to begin practices in football, soccer, field hockey, volleyball and golf.

Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
THE ONE GOAL NEEDED — PCHS’ Ariana Fanjoy, watched by teammate Molly Sipple, put her team on the scoreboard with a first-half goal during the 2021 Homecoming game against Lee Academy last October. The Pirates won 3-0. There are no COVID-19 protocols in place for high school sports this season.

In Bangor, Campbell, 58, was pleased with his field hockey team’s 11 summer sessions.

“We had 15 to 25 women every night. It was a great turnout,” he said.

The Rams are coming off a 4-9 season under Edith Dyer. The Rams finished 10th among 12 teams in the Class A North Heal Points standings before losing to No. 10 Mt. Blue of Farmington 5-0 in the first round of the playoffs.

Dyer is now the field hockey coach at Hampden Academy.

Campbell, a former University of Maine assistant pitcher and assistant baseball coach, said he continues to gain a better understanding of the sport and the skills of his players.

“It’s a learning process for me and I’m also getting used to the girls,” the Farmington native said. “But I’m also getting used to their style of play and their athleticism.”

He has two assistants in former Bangor High field hockey player Madison Arnault and former Hampden Academy player Leah McBrearty.

The Rams will practice on the artificial turf at Cameron Stadium for the next two weeks before returning to practice on their high school field, which has a grass surface.

“Our first game is Sept. 1 in Skowhegan and they have a grass field. And we have quite a few games on grass pitches early in the season. So we have to prepare to play on grass,” Campbell said.

Skowhegan won 20 straight Class A North championships and 16 state titles during that span under Maine Sports Hall of Fame coach Paula Doughty.

Portland’s Cheverus defeated Skowhegan 4-1 in last year’s Class A state final for its first state field hockey crown.

In the Class B final, Leavitt High School of Turner defeated Old Town 1-0 for its first state title since 2012, and in Class C Winthrop made it two championships in three years with a 3-2 win over Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield.

The state championship games are Nov. 5 at Messalonskee High in Oakland.

In girls soccer, the defending state champions are Windham in Class A (3-1 over Brunswick), Cape Elizabeth in Class B (3-0 over Hermon), Maranacook of Readfield in Class C (5-0 vs. Bucksport) and North Yarmouth Academy in Class D (3-0 over Wisdom of St. Agatha).

Cape Elizabeth and NYA picked up their third straight win. Windham earned his first win since winning back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014, and Maranacook’s first ever championship.

In boys soccer, Marshwood of South Berwick (2-1 vs. Brunswick) and Lee Academy (5-0 over NYA) won their first Class A and D state titles, respectively, while Yarmouth won its sixth in seven years in Class B (3 -0 over Winslow). Portland’s Waynflete won its third straight Class C game with a 2-1 win over Fort Kent.

The state finals are set for Nov. 5 at Hampden Academy (B and C) and Deering Memorial Field in Portland (A and D).

The volleyball state champions were Scarborough (3-2 over Biddeford) in Class A, Yarmouth in Class B (3-2 over Cape Elizabeth) and East Machias Washington Academy in Class C (3-0 over George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill).

The title was Scarborough’s third in the last six years. Yarmouth have now won three in a row and WA won their second in three years.

The A and B state championship games will be held at the University of Southern Maine on October 28 with Game A at 6:00pm and B at 8:30pm. Game C will be at Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor on the 28th or 29 Oct

In cross country, Hampden’s boys won their first A state crown; Freeport won its first of back-to-back B titles in ’14 and ’15; and the Orono boys won their third in five years in C. Buxton’s Bonny Eagle girls won their third straight A title and fifth in six years, the MDI girls added their first B title after winning in ’12 and ’13 and Orono girls earned their third in four years and sixth in eight seasons in the C.

The state cross country meet will be Oct. 29 at Twin Brook Recreation Area in Cumberland.

In golf last fall, winners were Falmouth in A, its first state title since 2013; It was Yarmouth’s first-ever B title and Kents Hill won for the second time in three years in C. Individual champions were South Portland’s Lucas Flaherty in A, Freeport’s Eli Spaulding in B and Waynflete’s George Fahey in C.

Individual girls winners were Cheyenne Couture of Noble High in North Berwick in Class A, Jade Haylock of Leavitt in Turner in Class B and Clarice Bell of Orono in Class C.

The state tournaments will be held Oct. 7 in Class A and Oct. 8 in Class B and C.

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