NWSL Can Have a Season in Which They Can Focus on Soccer, Not Scandals
by: Sharon Arabambi
The start of 2023 NWSL season is a big time for the organization, the marathon, and one that is being sandwiched around the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is about to begin.
Over the course of the past two seasons, the NSWL has been rocked by many scandals. One investigation was about the coaches from nine of the leagues 12 teams losing their jobs for charges ranging from verbal and emotional abuse to sexual coercion. Two teams, the Portland Thorns and the Chicago Red Stars, are now for sale. Yet, the trauma effect is still on the players.
While reforms are ongoing, others, like mechanisms to report instances of abuse and ensuring teams have fully staffed human resources departments, have been put in place. An unnamed player said, ‘’My feeling coming into San Diego was that it was somewhere that really wanted to be professional, top to bottom and create a culture that was one where players were safe and players were put first and that would allow having a successful product on the field’.’ The women soccer haven’t experienced something like that before.
Now the heaviness the players has been feeling has come to an ease and there is a chance to maximize the momentum that has been generated on a wide range of topics. There are some compelling aspects of the NWSL as it heads into the 2023 campaign, but the league is still headstrong in making this year their year.
Season Preview on Hermon High School Softball 2023 Season
By: Allie Cameron
(Photo Credit: Ron Hawkes)
“Revenge,” says Makena Nevells.
After a painful loss in the Northern Maine Softball final, the Hermon Hawks are ready to gain that title back: “It was a very depressing bus ride home,” senior Lyndsee Reed states after their loss to Winslow, “it ended better than we had anticipated, but also disappointing that we went that far and couldn’t finish it.”
The Hawks only lost four seniors from last season, so they are motivated to earn another chance. The Hawks get retuner Lyndsee Reed, who is a versatile player who can play anywhere on the field. Makena Nevells is an experienced outfielder who the Hawks will also get back from the junior class.
The Hawks also had a fierce freshman class, and has now gained a year of high school experience: “Molly [freshman] at the end of the season last year, her hitting really came together,” Reed says, “and her catching skills have improved a lot and I hope that continues into this year.”
Every year, a team loses a group of seniors, and then the junior class becomes those seniors. And for that new group of seniors they hold one more season of hitting home runs, one more season of strikeouts, one more season of making it all count.
One more season to go on a run and make it back to the Northern Maine final, but this time win it all: “I’m really looking forward to it,” Reed adds, “we have a really good group coming back.”
The Hawks have to put in the work all over again, and prove to everyone else and themselves that they can do it, “coming from last season,” Nevells says, “proving ourselves, and knowing we can do it is what I’m most excited for.”
The excitement grows of the thoughts of the anticipated season, “I’m excited to see how far we’ll go,” Reed adds, “We definitely lost some seniors, but we gained more freshman experience.”
“It is our revenge tour” Reed states.
King of 1 Mile Recap
By: Gavin Lemos
The King Of 1 Mile Long Range shooting competition is held annually in different global spots. This year it was held in Texas. Each team is made up of two people one shooter and one spotter, the spotter’s job is to tell the shooter where to aim at the target to make a direct hit. The shooters are asked to use their own equipment only one shooter per rifle and only one rifle per shooter.
To qualify you must hit 5 targets in 10 minutes. The first target is a cold bore shot which is the first shot of the day you must hit the target to start your time, you then have 10 minutes to hit targets at 1200m, 1300m, 1400, and 1500m. For the qualifier, you have 3 attempts for each shot. You must hit the target within your allowed shots otherwise you are finished in the competition. The final is another round of targets between 1700m and 2400m you have 10 minutes to complete the final stage and are allowed 5 attempts on each target. In the end, the person with the most shots hit per target combined with your time crowns the winner.
Many of the competitors wound up missing shots on the first few qualifying targets but not Clay Rhoden, he had a perfect match through target 5. Many of the other competitors in the top 10 were out by that point. He put 3 shots on the mark for his 6th target and connected 1 on the 7th and final target to secure him the win. 1 shot quickly secured him the win based on his time and perfect round through target 5.
(Photo Credit: Accurate Shooter Bulletin)
Clay Rhoden only received his rifle a few weeks before the match because all rifles are custom-built and tailored to the shooter. Despite that and this being his 6th ever competition in the sport he managed to beat the 6-time NRA national long-range shooting Champion, David Tubb.
Clay Rhoden was not the only outstanding performance in this match though. David Mann connected 3 shots on the 7th target which was set out 1.4 miles away. That is an amazing feat for both the spotter and the shooter.
At the end of the day, only a select few shooters qualified for the king of 2-mile competition in southern France in 2023 yet all competitors will be practicing for next year to try and improve their standings.
2022 Mr.Olympia Open Division Preview
By: Ryan Shorey
Mr. Olympia is an annually held bodybuilding competition in December, with four different divisions:
The open division category, the most difficult to win, has different ways of grading than the other divisions:
Symmetry: determined by how each side of our body is shaped by comparison to its opposite.
Muscularity: possessing muscular strength.
Size: possessing muscular size in volume.
Conditioning: the composition of the body that accentuates muscle look and proportion.
Posing: striking poses that display your superior muscles over another.
Stage presentation: how you perform your posing routine on stage and if it flows well.
In the 2021, Mr. Olympia’s top five winners in ascending order were: Nick Walker, Hunter Labrada, Hadi Choopan, Brandon Curry, and Mamdouh Elissbiay. The top 5 will most likely change in 2022: “We’re confident of the winner, but the next few places in our Oympia prediction will depend on conditioning” (barbell.com). This is referring to Mamdouh Elissbiay, or “Big Ramy” being the clear winner, achieving back to back wins if he takes home gold this year. The next four places will most likely be anyone of these four names: William Bonac, Brandon Curry, Hadi Choopan, and Nick Walker. Three of those four names are recurring contestants from last year. Since these four are so close in all the categories for scoring, this year the judges will be keeping a keen eye for these four’s conditioning. In other words how well they present the muscle by bringing down their body fat percentage. Doing this will show the muscle in its true form and amplify the muscle striations. This type of judging will heavily favor Nick Walker’s physique, giving him a distinct advantage.
The Mr.Olympia open division will occur this December, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A total of 36 athletes will be competing with only the top five receiving a cash reward for their placement.
Image Via New England Patriots
NFL Playoff Preview : Who’s in and who’s out?
By: Aizik Durand
Week 14 is right around the corner and the playoffs are starting to shape up. The expectations are much different than the expectations at the start of the season. It looks like the “stacked” AFC West is only going to have one playoff team, while the NFC and AFC East are looking to have every team in their divisions in the playoffs. The Tom Brady led Bucs are a .500 team and it seems as if the NFC South could be one of the worst divisions of all time joining the 2020 NFC East.
Playoff picture after week 14:
- Eagles, 12-1, BYE
- Vikings, 10-3, vs (7) Commanders, 7-5-1
- 49ers, 9-4, vs (6) Giants, 7-5-1
- Buccaneers, 6-7, vs (5) Cowboys, 10-3
In The Hunt
Panthers & Falcons, 5-8
- Bills, 10-3, BYE
- Chiefs, 10-3, vs (7) Patriots, 7-6
- Ravens, 9-4, vs (6) Dolphins, 8-5
- Titans, 7-6, vs (5) Bengals, 9-4
In The Hunt
Now, I expect this to stay very similar except I think the chargers are going to make a run and get in at the 7 seed. Well, as long as their defense can get it together. So far, the bounce back is looking good for them, as they come off of a win over the Dolphins. Their banged up defense finally showed up to a game, and the Chargers receiving core is back. Ekeler and Herbert are great at moving the ball on the ground and really all the chargers need is to keep it up. They are hungry, and hungry dogs run faster. I would say they are a sleeper pick for the playoffs in the AFC.
As far as the rest of the AFC goes, I would say the Bills are the fan favorite pick to win this year, they are going full steam ahead, Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs leading the way, with an improved defense even without an injured Von Miller, and boy are they a hungry team after last years controversy. If it’s not the Bills coming out of the AFC well then it probably, the Chiefs are probably the safest pick in the AFC maybe other than the Bengals, arguably a top 2 team. They have the most experience, and most efficient offense in the league with a solid young defense to go with.
Now things are very different in the NFC, I really don’t see any clear contenders, even as an Eagles fan. I think the Eagles are the safe choice to win, due to their powerful offense and defense, while the fan favorite pick is a match between the Eagles, Cowboys, and 49ers. All of these teams are led by amazing offenses, and very efficient defenses. If the 49ers were healthy, I would say they are the favorite out of the NFC. Now as far as sleeper picks go, I have to go with the Lions. They are a young team with some shining stars with Amon Ra, Penei Sewell, Swift, Okudah and Hutchinson. They have a top 5 offensive efficiency and they have some true potential. Not only that, but they are just a fun team to watch overall, Dan Campbell has some great chemistry with his team and they are a good group of guys.
If you are wondering why you should even care about the playoffs this year, well we have some much needed change. Games that reach overtime are no longer almost decided by a coin toss. We saw this last year between the Chiefs and Bills, when the Chiefs got the ball first and the Bills couldn’t make a stop so the Chiefs won on the first drive. Now, both teams get possession of the ball before the game can be decided. This will in turn make games much more exciting as well as giving fans a worthy ending in the really close games.
Starting From Scratch
Hermon Boys Varsity Basketball Season Preview
By: Allie Cameron
The Hermon Boys Varsity Basketball team have recently faced some bumps in the road in their 2022-23 upcoming season. Due to many upperclassmen not being able to play due to injuries, prior commitments, and some not returning to play for the season, the season is now in the hands of the underclassmen.
Hermon was the team to defeat from 2017-2019. Taking the Maine State title in 2018, the undefeated Hawks defeated Wells to take home their first title 55-34. They were one of the teams with a target on their back, always at the top.
The Hermon boys basketball team has fallen short of making it back to the state championship since then. They were looking like they had a good chance to make the run this season, until it all came crumbling down, and quickly.
Senior Xavier Jelks, faced a serious injury in the Class B Northern Maine Football game this year. In the second quarter, 11 minutes and 19 seconds in, Jelks went for a block, and felt a pop in his knee. He then returned to the game later on in the second half, and went down again. He later found out that he had torn his ACL in his knee, and would be out for the basketball season. (Picture credit: 92.9 The Ticket)
“I think my injury will affect the team on the court,” Jelks says, “but I’m still around with the team to help be a leader.”
Photo Credit: Walter Churchill
Senior Johnny Kokoska, was going to be a strong impact to this 2022-23 season as the starting point guard once again. He, too, has faced a season ending injury in the basketball preseason, and will need surgery on his shoulder. Just like Jelks, Kokoska will be there for the rest of the team this season, as a leader on the sidelines.
Hermon has faced yet again, another loss of the senior class. Center forward Jaykob Dow, has made the decision to focus on his opportunities in his collegiate football career. His height and strength in the paint would’ve been a tremendous help this season, as well as his years of experience playing at the high school varsity level. But with his dedication and devotion to football, he will no longer be a part of this program, but best of luck to him in his journey to the next level. Photo Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik
Hawks returners, who did not return for the season: Bruce Coulter (sophomore) and Chasen Flanders (senior) would’ve also had very important roles this year.
Yet, this is just the beginning for new opportunities: To start from scratch.
With impact seniors not being able to make an impact on the court this year, it is time for the underclassmen to step it up. There is an abundance of talent from the freshmen and sophomores, who are going to be the glue of the season.
Sophomores Bryce Edwards – Guard, and Owen Wyman Guard/Forward, are going to play some big roles this year. With Edwards ability to spot up and shoot, and penetrate to the rim, and with Wyman’s versatility to shoot from the outside, and grab rebounds in the paint, these two will be a hard duo to stop on the court.
Freshmen Brody Hurd – PG/Guard, and Carter Wiggins PG/Guard as well are going to be great impact players for the Hawks. With Hurd’s vision of the court, and Wiggin speed, these two freshmen are predicted to dominate the court, and dominate as fearless freshmen.
The Hawks are predicted to be towards the bottom of this league this year. With key upperclassmen players: Jelks, Kokoska, Dow and Flanders being out, the Hawks are going to be overlooked this season. Yet, these underclassmen are going to catch many teams off guard, and give them a run for their money. They aren’t going to make it easy to beat the Hawks this season.
Despite their lack of experience playing high school varsity basketball, the freshmen and sophomores are going to shock the league with their talent and skill. The Hawks are starting from scratch. In a couple years, this program will be back at the top.
This rebuilding phase will be worth it. Starting from scratch- will be worth it.
“I think the season will go well,” says senior Xavier Jelks, “there are a lot of younger guys that will gain experience for the seasons in the future.”
Gold is in the future. Go Hawks!
Hermon High School Cheering: A Legacy
By: Makena Nevells
“The Hawks of Hermon High School!” These have been said 10 times before during the MPA Cheerleading Championships. (Photo Credit to HHS Athletics Facebook Page)
The legacy, the work, and the passion for the sport that this team has are not comparable. With year after year being a powerhouse team, last year was a shock to the community.
The team ended the year being PVC Champions, Northern Maine Class B Champions, and State Champion Runners-up.
The Hawks gained their first loss in a State Championship since Old Town won in 2016. The Medomak Valley Panthers gained their first gold plaque in history, beating the reigning champs.
Cheerleader, Madison Higgins graduated in 2022, ending her High School career with 3 State Championships. She says that she feels “grateful” for the fact that she could be a part of such an amazing team. Knowing that Medomak was “super talented, and they had something to prove”, affected their emotions after the loss.
“Every year there was always pressure to outperform ourselves from the previous year.”
Due to this mentality, this year will be different than any other year, with the pressure of upholding a legacy still being there, but it just being “different”. The so-called “standards” that Higgins talked about are still there, just changed. With attitudes being high, seniors Madison Smith, Megan Dorr, Abi Sinclair, and Lyndsee Reed are all looking to experience the feeling of winning one more time. Abi Sinclair said that there was not as much pressure on them this year, as they did not have a “title to uphold”. Due to this, they are looking to redeem themselves this year in ways that they have not needed to before. (Photo Credit: Bangor Daily News)
Coach Kristie Reed says that “The kids definitely feel some pressure from the success of years past, but that is never our focus.” With the goal not just getting the gold, more the idea of staying whole as a team and reaching goals that they have set for themselves all season.
The idea of Hermon Cheering is held up by many different factors, including starting off young with the time that goes into the Youth programs that both Reed and the assistant coaches help with. The “sacrifices” they make “progress their skills”, combined with consistency and family aspect that makes this team so successful.
(Photo Credit: Bangor Daily News)
The teams to look out for this year are defending Northern Maine Runners Up- Ellsworth, and 2021 Champions, Medomak Valley.
Looking into the future, there is a strong interest in cheering, with the younger groups overflowing with future state champs. This is important, as the cheering community must continue to grow.
Coach Kristie Reed is going into her 15th season, this year coaching her daughter Lyndsee going for her third state championship for her senior year.
When people think of Hermon Cheering, they think of a legacy, a coach that leads year after year, and a family of girls all trying for the same results. Success.