Winthrop field hockey captains Izzy Folsom (3), Madeline Wagner (25), Lauren Miller (26) and Caroline Corgan (16) head to the stands with some championship hardware after they beat Dexter in the Class C final in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

It wasn’t a repeat of last season, but the 2023 central Maine high school field hockey season is still one that will be fondly remembered.

Three area teams claimed regional championships this year with one of them, Winthrop, taking a state title. Individually, the region produced some of the top players in the state in a year with healthy competition elsewhere.

“There’s just so many good coaches and players in this area right now,” said Lawrence head coach Shawna Robinson. “I feel like everywhere we went this season, we were up against somebody who really challenged us. It made for some really great games.”

If there was a story of the year in central Maine field hockey, it might have been Winthrop. After losing eight seniors and a legendary head coach in Sharon Coulton, it would have been easy to expect Winthrop — winner of five straight Class C South titles — to revert to the mean in 2023.

The Ramblers did nothing of the sort. Even with a young roster that included five freshmen starters, they battled their way to the No. 2 seed in the Class C South playoffs. Winthrop (15-3) then capped off a remarkable playoff run with a 2-1 victory over Dexter in the Class C final to win a third consecutive state championship.

“After last year, I think that many of us thought that our story for this year had already been written as a rebuilding year,” said Winthrop head coach Melissa Perkins. “We knew we’d turn out OK — we didn’t think we’d be at the bottom of the pack — but we didn’t expect to be where we were. It’s all credit to the girls and the work they put in.”


Izzy Folsom and Emily Kempton anchored the midfield for Winthrop, and Liv Huri made her presence known for the Ramblers at forward. Then there was Madeline Wagner,  who scored a program-record 47 goals and added 15 assists.

“Madeline has grown so much this year, and she has excellent skills, but the mental toughness she provided to the team this year was one of the biggest benefits,” Perkins said. “She’s gonna get double-teamed, she’s gonna get triple-teamed, and that takes mental toughness, and she worked her way through that.”

In Class A North, the title belonged to Skowhegan. Led by two Miss Maine Field Hockey finalists in Layla Conway (25 goals, 10 assists) and Laney LeBlanc (15 goals, 12 assists), the River Hawks went 16-2 to claim their 22nd consecutive regional title.

Cheverus, which is 53-1 since the start of the 2021 season, turned in a remarkable performance at states to deny Skowhegan the title. The River Hawks had won 12 straight entering that game since a 2-1 Sept. 18 defeat to Messalonskee, out-scoring their opposition 62-1 over that span.

Charlotte Miller of Cheverus moves the ball up the field as Skowhegan’s Layla Conway moves in on defense during the Class A final on Nov. 4 in Portland. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald

Led by All-State senior midfielders Payton Alexander and Abby Stevens, Messalonskee went 12-5, handing Skowhegan its first regular-season loss since 2017 in the aforementioned win. Mt. Blue, which went 10-7 and appeared in the Class A North semifinals, rounded out the list of central Maine A teams.

“(Beating Skowhegan) has honestly been a goal of mine since I’ve been here, and this is my third year,” Messalonskee head coach Katie Brann said after the Sept. 18 win. “It’s a big milestone. It’s just nice to see the girls that have been with me the last two or three years, to see them work toward that goal.”


Class B North saw a remarkably competitive season with Cony (15-2-1), Nokomis (12-3-1), Gardiner (9-6) and Lawrence (8-7). Those teams battled it out with strong Belfast and Leavitt teams, making for a strong regional championship field.

The Northern Maine title went to Cony, which claimed its first regional title since 1995 with an impressive 3-0 victory over Belfast in the Nov. 2 final. Midfielder Maci Freeman was named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B Player of the Year for the Rams, who scored 100 goals on the season.

“From the first day of the season, these girls have had the attitude of, ‘we’re going to states,’” Cony head coach Holly Daigle said following the win over Belfast. “It wasn’t ‘we want to’ or ‘we hope to,’ it was, ‘we’re going.’ They’ve had this as their goal all season long, and (on that day), they played like they belong in the state game.”

Cony enjoyed some fierce battles with Nokomis, which battled the Rams to a 1-1 tie in the regular season before dropping the B North semifinal rematch 2-1. Led by All-KVAC first-team defensive midfielder Addison Hawthorne, the Warriors’ defense allowed just 10 goals all season.

Cony field hockey players, from left, Casey Monson, Kate Morin, Abby Morrill, Caroline Hendrickson and Avery Maxim, celebrate after the Rams defeated Belfast 3-0 in the Class B North title game on Nov. 2 at Messalonskee High School in Oakland. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Gardiner, with two All-State juniors in Taryn Nichols and Gabby Sousa, showed promise for the future with its fifth-place finish. Lawrence, despite replacing nine starters from last year’s state title-winning team, returned to the playoffs this season behind All-State forward Maddie Niles (15 goals, 12 assists).

Elsewhere in Class B North, Erskine Academy finished 5-9 to place last and miss out on a playoff berth. Yet a scrappy Eagles team led by center-midfielder Lilly Clark and goalie Andra Cowing, Robinson said, still showed just how tough the B North field hockey circuit was in 2023.

“Their record really didn’t indicate how good of a team they are, and I think it’s unfair they didn’t make the playoffs because they’re that good,” Robinson said. “I think that just plays into the schedule; it blows my mind that a team of that caliber doesn’t make the playoffs, but it shows that Class B is very tough.

In addition to Winthrop’s impressive run, Hall-Dale also enjoyed a strong season in Class C South despite fielding a small roster of just 13 players. The Bulldogs (9-6-2), who had one of the state’s best goaltenders in All-State selection Jade Graham, appeared in the regional semifinals, falling 4-2 to the Ramblers.

Elsewhere in Class C South, Oak Hill appeared in the regional semifinals, finishing 5-8-2 as All-MVC forward Lexi Pelkey provided the Raiders with consistent scoring. In Class C North, Maine Central Institute, last year’s regional champion, finished 7-7-1 with a playoff appearance.

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