Senior Rhyan Sawlivich views the state championship game as a great finish to her field hockey career at Winthrop, while sophomore Izzy Folsom hopes this isn’t her last appearance in a Class C title showdown.

Both players helped carry the Ramblers to an undefeated season last year — including a 2-1 win over Maine Central Institute in the state final when Maddie Perkins scored the winning goal with about a minute remaining in the game.

Winthrop (15-2) is again in the Class C title game and will again play MCI (13-3-1), at Messalonskee High School in Oakland on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Izzy Folsom of Winthrop High School tries to slide a shot past goalkeeper Madison Weymouth during field hockey practice Thursday at Kents Hill School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The Ramblers are trying to win the program’s fifth state championship, and third since 2018. They have played in five consecutive Class C finals. In fact, either Winthrop or MCI has participated in every Class C title game since 2015.

Sawlivich is not surprised the Ramblers are competing for another state championship.

“I mean our program is really strong and this season we have worked really hard to get better and better every day, even though we lost some really strong players last year,” Sawlivich, one of the team’s captains, said. “We have made up for it and so many different people have stepped up. 


“I think there is a little bit of pressure, but I feel like a weight lifted off my shoulder, knowing that we made it this far. Win or lose Saturday, I will be satisfied with how we did this season. Just making it this far is a big accomplishment.”

Sawlivich, who plays left back, said this has been a fun season and, for her, a great last-hurrah.

“I’ve enjoyed how every practice; we keep getting better and we keep finding out things we love about each other,” she said.

Rhyan Sawlivich of Winthrop High School runs through drills during field hockey practice Thursday at Kents Hill School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Along with being a key part of the Ramblers’ defense, Sawlivich is a role model who offers encouragement to her teammates during the bleakest moments.

“I feel like I motivate everyone really well,” she said. “I am always cheering everyone on.”

Winthrop coach Sharon Coulton said Sawlivich is a key player who keeps her stick low to the ground and has a strong presence in the backfield.


“Rhyan is one of those people who is always interested in trying to improve,” Coulton said. “She is very attentive and accepting of feedback — and she is someone who is extremely supportive of her teammates.”

Folsom, a center midfielder, has been a starter since her freshman year. She said she has developed an appreciation for this year’s senior-laden team.

“I have been able to learn a whole lot from them,” she said. “I came in from the eighth grade not knowing much, and just by going up against them in practice — even if they completely embarrassed me — I was able to learn from them. I’ve learned a lot about sportsmanship. I look up to them and I have learned from all of them and I appreciate all of them.”

Izzy Folsom of Winthrop High School runs through drills during field hockey practice Thursday at Kents Hill School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Coulton said Folsom is fast and coachable, and therefore, her responsibilities on the field have increased this season.

“She has been helping on defensive corners,” Coulton said Thursday. “She was tasked with trying to mark up (Lisbon’s) Haley Tuplin last night. She was quite busy.”

Winthrop’s defense has notched shutouts in its past seven games, including Wednesday in the Class C South final against Tuplin, a Miss Maine Field Hockey finalist, and the Greyhounds. The Ramblers held Lisbon scoreless through four quarters, all of one overtime period and part of another before Brooke Belz punched in the winning goal to give Winthrop a 1-0 double-overtime victory and its fifth consecutive regional championship.


Folsom, who estimates she has scored 10 goals this year, said she will miss the fun the seniors bring to practice and games — along with their boundless energy, which helped her cope with being a first-year starter as a freshman.

“Last year, I was a lot more nervous about it,” she said. “I just didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in what I was doing. But this year, I definitely have more confidence. I am more comfortable and I feel like I can do more this year.

“It feels really good, and I am happy be a part of it all, and hopefully these are not the last two championships I have been in.”


Coulton entered the season grateful that this year’s squad has nine starters — many of them seniors — returning from the 2021 championship team.

“We have eight seniors, seven of whom were starters on last year’s team as juniors,” she said. 


Last year’s state title victory is still fresh in the Ramblers’ memories, and it has inspired them to go after another Class C crown.

However, their unbeaten streak ended in the first game of this season.

“Obviously, the dream is to repeat, isn’t it?” Coulton said. “In our first game of the season, we went up to Dixfield and (the Cougars) were ready for us. So we started the season with a loss.”

Winthrop High School goalkeeper Madison Weymouth plays the box during field hockey practice Thursday at Kents Hill School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Dirigo beat Winthrop, 5-3, on Aug. 31. Rather than surrender to the disappointment of the loss, the Ramblers continued to chase their goal of another championship.

“A key factor there was the way that the girls responded to it,” Coulton said. “They weren’t discouraged. They weren’t down on themselves. Yes, I would say it was a motivator (to win another state title). …”

Winthrop’s other loss during the regular season was against Spruce Mountain, which won the Sept. 21 matchup, 4-3. The Ramblers have won nine consecutive games since that setback.


In the postseason, the Ramblers shut out Telstar 5-0 in the quarterfinals and Oak Hill 6-0 in the semis, before going to double overtime with Lisbon earlier this week.

Coulton said she delights in watching her athletes having fun but remain “intense players” who want to improve each practice and game.

Coulton points to the intensity of sophomore forward Madeline Wagner during Wednesday’s regional final as the epitome of this year’s Ramblers.

Winthrop senior Rhyan Sawlivich listens to her coach during field hockey practice Thursday at Kents Hill School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“She was very closely and very well marked up by the Lisbon team,” Coulton said. “She is also playing with a cast on her hand. Everybody on our team played the entire regulation and both overtimes. They just kept going and going.

“I can’t say enough about our defense. Our defense was really tested (Wednesday) and it had been some time since they have been under some pretty intense pressure. I was very happy with the way they came through on that.”

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