Maine Central Institute senior Lidia Gomez returns a shot to Mya Vincent of Edward Little High School during a May 23 state singles semifinal match at Bates College in Lewiston Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Across the region, the high school tennis season had a little bit of, well, just about everything.

Although no central Maine tennis teams took home state titles this year, there were still plenty of storylines to go around in 2022. From a state singles winner to a regional champ to resurging programs, much was happening on courts throughout central Maine this spring.

Central Maine had the state’s top girls tennis player this year in Maine Central Institute senior Lidia Gómez. After being unable to compete in the state singles tournament in 2021, the Spanish exchange student took full advantage of the opportunity to play this year as she won every set en route to topping Brunswick’s Coco Meserve in the final.

On the boys side, MCI finished the regular season as the No. 1 team in Class C North. The Huskies, who finished 12-2, had an Italian flair to them this spring with seniors Marco Milano, Mattia Meucci and Alberto Di Girolamo comprising the team’s top-three singles players.

“We had a lot to be really proud of this year, both our boys and our girls teams,” said MCI co-coach John Buys, whose girls team also finished 12-2. “It takes a lot of dedicated kids to be able to have the season we’ve had, and have a great mix of local students and residential students who have worked really hard.”

Elsewhere, one central Maine program that’s been a longtime bottom-dweller produced one of its best seasons in three decades. The Skowhegan boys improved on last year’s 7-6 finish by going 9-4 with a Class A North quarterfinal berth, the team’s best season in 28 years.


The second of back-to-back winning seasons marked a stunning turnaround for Skowhegan, which had gone winless in 36 matches from 2017-19. The River Hawks had a state singles quarterfinalist in exchange student Unai Maldonado, as well as a newcomer, Drake Turcotte, whom head coach Paul Daigle called the best freshman in school history.

“When I came back five years ago, we had five players; we didn’t even have enough for a team, and it looked like we were going to have to fold as a team,” Daigle said. “Now, we’re strong now, we’ll be strong next year, and we have a whole population of boys who want to come out and play.”

Skowhegan No. 3 singles player Drake Turcotte prepares to hit a return shot during a Class A North quarterfinal match on June 2 against Mt. Ararat in Skowhegan. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Central Maine produced one regional champion in the Waterville girls, who successfully defended their Class B North crown from a year earlier. Whereas the Purple Panthers (11-5) had rolled through the year undefeated in 2021, they did it the hard way this time as they finished the regular season ranked sixth in the region before making another title run.

“We were in a spot where a lot of our kids had to step up,” first-year Waterville head coach Tom Hart said following the Northern Maine final win over Mt. Desert Island. “None of them played the same position last year that they’re playing now, so for them to do what they did is huge.”

Waterville’s Emily Campbell hits a shot back to Maranacook’s Mary Hatt during a May 13 match in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

In other local girls tennis action, Messalonskee (10-4), Mt. Blue (9-4), Erskine Academy (9-5), Maranacook (13-2), Hall-Dale (9-3) and Winthrop (6-4) all had winning records this season. Central Maine boys teams with winning records were Mt. Blue (7-6), Erskine (10-4), Madison (9-3) and Carrabec (7-4).

Like Skowhegan, some of those teams, such as the Messalonskee girls and Carrabec boys, took major steps forward this season. It’s the kind of progress that bodes well for the central Maine high school tennis scene.

“I think one of things that helps us is that we’re surrounded by good teams,” Daigle said. “When you’re surrounded by the teams we play, it helps you to get better and learn, and we’re fortunate to have that.”

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