Athletics

Thornton Academy is a member of the Southwestern Maine Activities Association (SMAA) and participates in Class A athletics. To view events, visit the Teams and Schedules page or go the Athletics Calendar.

News

 

After waiting 24 years for Thornton Academy football to return to the state championship after a 1988 title run, Trojan fans didn't have to wait long for two trips in three years. Behind stout defense and an explosive offense, Kevin Kezal's dynamic team defeated defending state champion Bonny Eagle, 30-14, to advance to the Class A state championship game.

"It's unbelievable, it's the biggest win I've ever been apart of," junior quarterback Austin McCrum said. "It's really surreal. I can't believe we're going to states."

"It was great being at home," coach Kevin Kezal said. "You get into your normal routine. We haven't lost many games here. It's a piece and you still have to come out and play hard and execute and we did that today."

The Trojans, winners of the gold ball in 2012, will take on Windham High School at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. TA will be the home team, and goes against an opponent that moved to Class A East during re-alignment two years ago. Many TA fans will remember some epic playoff clashes between the two programs during the late 2000s. The Eagles have some championship pedigree themselves, as they lifted the gold ball in 2009.

"You saw them a few weeks back against Cheverus, they are a physical football team," Kezal said. "They have talented kids all over the place. It's going to be a tough task."

Advanced ticket sales will be available on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the athletic office in the gym. If it's between 10:45 and 12:30, the ticket sales will be in the cafeteria. Adults are $8, students and seniors $5. Those fans who cannot make it can watch the game locally on WPXT-TV.

Junior Hashilla Rivai won the schoolgirl individual state championship on Saturday, October 18 with a score of 70.

Hashilla Rivai is bringing home to Saco the biggest solo honor that can be bestowed on a high school golfer. On Saturday, October 18, the junior won the schoolgirl individual state championship at Natanis Golf Club in Vassalboro. After a highly successful first year on the team, Rivai is happy to end the season with the prestigious award.

"It feels awesome! It's like a dream come true and I have finally achieved my goal for the season," Rivai said. "I am very grateful for the result."

"Her performance on Saturday was no surprise to me," golf coach Jeff Camire said. "She's very meticulous about the little things in golf and her mental game is one of the best I've seen in the last 10 years. Nothing bothers her out there. She gets nervous just like everyone else, but she's put the time into her game and is able to trust her swing when it matters most. I'm very happy for her."

Rivai took home the title with a round of 70, and then had to wait until all the golfers finished. When they did, Rivai's low round held and she was announced as the winner. She is the first Thornton Academy golfer to win the individual schoolgirl title since Megan Angis in 2001.

"It's very special to have someone win the individual title because it's such a tough event to compete in," Camire said. "We have a great golf tradition at TA, and girls have had a significant impact over the past 20+ years. 

Hashilla is just adding to this. Aside from Hashilla winning, we had five girls compete in the state championship this year, which is a record for us. In addition, freshman Jordan Laplume finished tied for 5th, making it the first time TA has ever had two girls finish in the top 5. I am very proud of all of them and I believe that their best golf is ahead of them."

Rivai is not only part of the golf team but part of Thornton Academy's international boarding program. Hailing from Indonesia, Rivai has adapted to playing the sport in temperatures that are not routinely in the 90s or 100s, as is the normal around her home near the equator. She says her experience as a first year student at Thornton Academy has been positive. Her first year at TA has already yielded a prestigious title.

"I did my best and I couldn't have asked for anything better," Rivai said. "I have been enjoying it people here are nice."

You can watch the golf team's return to campus and the traditional ringing of the Victory Bell here:

 

  

The TA Field Hockey team raised more than $2,000 for former captain Dana Tripp and the fight against Aplastic Anemia


For the past few years, the TA Field Hockey team has selected a local entity to fundraise for. It usually was part of a pink, breast cancer awareness game during October. However in 2014, the team took up another cause that hit close to home. Former captain Dana Tripp ('10) is suffering from Aplastic Anemia, and like other groups at Thornton Academy, coach Lori Smith saw an opportunity to give her any support she could.

"As soon as Dana told me she was sick, I knew I wanted to do something for her," Smith said. "Since she is a former captain of the field hockey team, I thought it was fitting that our current team honor her fight by dedicating a game and our fundraising efforts to her."

Smith met with Tripp and proposed the idea, saying Tripp was taken aback and honored. Smith said it also gave Tripp a nice distraction, as they were asking for her feedback on ideas for the T-shirt design and to educate the team about Aplastic Anemia. Tripp went to a practice and spoke to the team. She explained what it has been like to be so young with a serious illness, and having to put plans on hold and live differently than other 22 year olds.

"When I presented the idea to my team, I was worried they might be a little disappointed to switch from a pink game to something else," Smith said. "However, they were very pleased with the idea of helping an alum and didn't think twice about changing from pink to red, even though they were playing Sanford and they wear red uniforms."

On September 24, the team took the field against Sanford in the Battle for Blood, and many in the crowd sported red t-shirts, with the hopes of raising money and awareness for the rare disease. Tripp was there an honorary captain and took part in the pre-game meeting and coin toss. Not only did the team score a 4-0 victory over the Spartans, but scored big in the fundraising category. All told, the field hockey team raised $2,271, with the players raising the funds with the help of Saco Rec. Youth Field Hockey, H.A. Mapes, Little Footsteps Childcare, LLC and The UPS Store - Saco, along with many people in the community supporting the cause.

 
On Wednesday, the TA varsity golf team won the SMAA championship with a score of 196 at Sable Oaks golf course. Led by junior Hashilla Rivai, the Trojans won by 16 strokes over Scarborough.

On Wednesday, the TA varsity golf team won the SMAA championship with a score of 196 at Sable Oaks golf course. Led by junior Hashilla Rivai, the Trojans won by 16 strokes over Scarborough. Coach Jeff Camire had nothing but positive things to say about his team's performance.

"It was a great team win and validated our regular season, after winning one of the toughest divisions in the state this year," Camire said. "I was very proud of their focus and execution today."


"Knowing that we are a young team, it feels great," said junior Greg Kalagias. "We can come back next year and set more team goals. I wasn't too surprised because I know our team has the capability to put up low scores."

 

Rivai shot the lowest total on the nine holes, a 37. Kalagias and Noah Jacques had 39s, Jordan Laplume scored 40, Logan Picard shot a 41 and Lauren Wells 43. This is the Trojans first SMAA championship since 2008.

The Trojans next play on Saturday, October 11, in the team state championship at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro at 10 a.m.

 

"If we can all play well during the state tournament we have an excellent chance at winning," Kalagias said. "There usually isn't much room for error in this tournament."

 

"Three of the six teams representing Western Maine in the state championship this year our from our division," Camire said of Greely and Gorham. "It should be a competitive weekend."

TA Alum Chris Brockman enjoys his new gig on the nationally televised The Rich Eisen Show.
Thornton Academy has many diverse and successful alumni all over the United States and the world. Many alums also took part in TA athletics. One such man is Chris Brockman, class of 1998, who played football, basketball and baseball for the Trojans. Brockman has taken his talents out to Los Angeles, and on October 6 began his new role on the Rich Eisen Show, which airs weekdays 12-3pm on the Audience Network on DirecTV. You can also watch the show streaming live on the NFL Now app and it can be heard every day on PodcastOne. Starting Nov. 3, the show will also air on Fox Sports Radio. TA fans will see something familiar on the show, as a Trojans football helmet was sent to Brockman and will be featured on the brand new show set. Brockman was kind enough to answer some questions about his journey from TA to LA.
Q: Tell us about your journey since leaving TA.
A: It's been quite the journey! From Thornton, I went to Syracuse University in the fall of 1998 and spent four years there earning a degree in political science with a minor in history, all the while working night and day all four years at the student-run TV station. There, I covered the Orangemen football and basketball teams as a show host and executive producer, while I also edited packages and game highlites, wrote scripts, operated control room and studio equipment; it was truly an operation to get on the air each week as my friends who worked there with me will attest. But it was the best time of my life and I'm extremely thankful for the relationships I cultivated there. Certainly without them I wouldn't be where I am today... After graduation in 2002, I moved back to Saco and worked at Thornton for a year in special ed while coaching football and freshman basketball. While it wasn't the path I was hoping for upon graduation from an esteemed four-year university, it proved invaluable and that year spent back at TA I'll never, ever regret. After working overnights at Target for 7 months, I took a job with the Journal Tribune in Biddeford answering phones and writing box scores before becoming a sports reporter for three years and the sports editor for two. While it wasn't television, I was happy to have a job in sports (I also wrote movie reviews) and covering the community I once played in. My time there great and everyone in the area were beyond generous to me as I attempted to cover their teams and towns honestly and in a fun way. It was then I got a great opportunity to move to Los Angeles and work at NFL Network as a production assistant. It happened out of the blue and was unexpected but I jumped at the chance to move west and work for such a prestigious company. As a life-long NFL fan it was a dream come true. At NFLN I got an opportunity to get back into the TV world in an edit bay working in the fast-paced daily studio show world producing sound bites, game highlites on Sundays, feature pieces, writing essays, you name it. I traveled on the road for two seasons to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama doing graphics and field producing. I also worked on the Sunday pre-game show "GameDay Morning" and talent produced Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk. I produced the television portion of and became a sidekick for The Rich Eisen Podcast somewhere in there. In my duties for the REP, I'd take the sometimes nearly two hours of source material from the audio podcast and work with an editor and cut it down to a half-hour TV show, and sometimes an hour for our TV specials. I was on the podcast for three years before I left this fall to go work for DirecTV on the aptly titled "The Rich Eisen Show."
Q: What's the biggest difference between Maine and LA?
A: Ha! Where do I begin on the differences between Maine and LA?! Aside from the obvious -- beautiful weather year round, different type of foods and people of all races and creeds and celebrities just walking around everywhere - it's the little things you kinda take for granted at home you don't have out here, like traffic. No matter where you go out here in LA you have to give yourself an hour or you'll never make it on time because of the traffic. And depending on when you leave it could be longer. And then no one knows how to drive. When it rains, everything shuts down and everyone drives scared because it literally NEVER RAINS. And that's the other thing, I "get cold" when it's in the 50s and it probably doesn't help I threw out all my winter clothes. I'm such a wimp now when it comes to weather. It's also very awesome being in a big city for sporting events - having two basketball, baseball and hockey teams in town, two big colleges - there's always games on, not to mention LA is the heart of film and TV and music. What I like to tell people is there's something to do every night of the week so if you're bored it's on you. It's also hilarious to me that no one is actually from Los Angeles, everyone is a transplant who has a cool story as to how they ended up here. I always go nuts when I meet someone and they're actual LA natives.
Q: What's it like being colleagues with someone famous like Rich Eisen?
A: First off, I'm sure Rich would love to hear that you called him famous, but more so I consider Rich a friend, and that's a relationship that's grown over the last three years when I first got involved in the podcast. He's welcomed me into his home for Sunday dinners, I've gotten to know his wife and kids, and he even let me play in his celebrity golf tournament. He's a great man, and obviously without him I wouldn't be on this tremendous ride. The other aspect of working at NFL Network and then our podcast, was there's always Hall of Fame football players walking around. The first time that really donned on me was my first week working there in 2009; I was walking down the hallway and saw Deion Sanders – you wanna talk about famous – coming right at me, and this is a guy I grew up watching, high-stepping and being the biggest sports personality on the planet and here we are passing ships in the night. It was like that with all the former players who worked at the network - Willie McGinest, Heath Evans, Warren Sapp, Michael Irvin and on and on - and then over time you see them as co-workers. The best is when they get into story mode and just start telling old tales from their playing days. I could listen to that stuff all day, especially former 49ers and Lions coach Steve Mariucci. And then with the podcast we'd have celebrities come in all the time, big-time A-listers and I think at first that was a little intimidating but over time you just see them as part of the show and you get more and more comfortable, especially when you find out they're just regular and normal people. Adam Sandler and I talked about being from New England, Matt Damon and I traded poker stories, and I sat right next to Kevin Costner while he told stories about making "Field of Dreams" and all his iconic sports roles. It's been pretty cool, to say the least.
Q: Tell us about the new TV show you'll be on.
A: If you've ever listened to our previous endeavor, The Rich Eisen Podcast, our new show, The Rich Eisen Show, is pretty much going to be just like that only longer and more often, ha. It's a live 3-hour show, five days a week on the Audience Network on DirecTV and streamed on NFL Now, and starting November 3 it'll be a broadcast on the radio as well. What Rich has built over four years of doing his podcast is the perfect blend of the National Football League and Hollywood and popular culture into a uniquely entertaining program. I started out as the television producer of the program, and Chris Law was the audio producer, and over time it morphed into a free-flowing, conversational program in the mold of Howard Stern and Dan Patrick where the three of us talk about football, our lives and whatever else happens to be going on. We once had a show where we interviewed Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers only about "Game of Thrones." Likewise, "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan came on and did a 90-minute interview and not one football question was asked. So it really depends on our guest. Now, we have this amazingly beautiful set that DirecTV built for us and we'll have the best in television, film and the NFL come in studio and talk about their football and creative lives in the most fun matter there is on the airwaves. You can't beat that.
Q: What's the biggest challenge of producing a daily show?
A: Finding topics to talk about on a daily basis is the easy part; the NFL has turned into a year-round sport, and if recent league events have been any indication, there's never a shortage of conversation pieces. The hard part of a daily, 3-hour show is sticking to the rundown and hitting the out times for each segment since we are bound by the radio/TV breaks. We just have to get out of our podcast habits of free-flowing, unfiltered conversations that usually have several twists and turns. And of course, booking guests is never an easy feat, but there's no shortage of celebrities and NFL names who want nothing more than to come on a nationally syndicated show and talk about the league and promote their latest vehicle. Plus, Rich is the best sports TV host in the business so even if something is going wrong or is hard, he'll make it look like everything's good.
Q: How often to do you follow TA athletics?
A: I try and keep up Trojans sports as often as I can. Twitter helps a lot, but I read the articles in the Press Herald and Journal Tribune on Mondays during football season, text with friends still in Saco, and talk to Coach Kezal once a season or so. I've known him and the rest of the coaches a long time, so I like to keep in touch. I try and visit whenever I'm back home, which isn't too often unfortunately. I was at the playoff basketball game this past winter, I just happened to be home, and we lost, so maybe I won't be making any in-season appearances any more. I might be bad luck.
Q: What's your best memory of being an athlete at TA?
A: Best memory, wow. That's tough since it's been such a long time since I was at Thornton, but the two that stick out the most for me were senior year: football at Sanford, it was a tough game, back and forth, we had our chances but couldn't get any offense going, game goes into overtime, they might've kicked a field goal, I can't remember, but I ended up throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to Ricky Sirois on fourth down to win the game. After he caught it for the win, I ran around with my helmet off like Brett Favre in the Super Bowl, I was so happy and it felt great because two years earlier we lost at Sanford on the last play of the game which snapped their 30-something game losing streak. So that felt like a little revenge. The other memory was from basketball season that year, at Massabesic, I was just in the zone and hit four 3-pointers in the first half, and then three more in the second, and I believe the seven 3s made is still a single-game Thornton Academy record. Trust me, I check every game so I know no one has matched it in the last 16 years, ha.
Q: What advice would you give students aspiring to be in the broadcast or sports world?
A: Everyone has to take their own path in this business. My college degree is in political science but I did student television and then worked at a newspaper for five years before getting back into TV production at NFLN and now to The Rich Eisen Show in a producer/blogger/on-air role. One thing I didn't do while I was in school and I wish I would have are summer internships. They would've given me a leg up and helped as I was coming out of school. My advice is to start there and make connections with as many people as you can in the business. I got my job at NFLN because I knew two people who worked there who referred me. The saying "it's not what you know, it's who you know" is true, especially in big cities like Los Angeles. You have to bust your butt and be better and work harder than the person next to you. Be conscious of your surroundings and think before you do anything. Don't just react to a situation, think it through and what you want to get out of a question you ask or a story you write or produce. There has to be a reason behind it. A purpose. Don't make noise just for the sake of it. That's a big problem with today's journalism. Too much yelling. Be smarter than the next person.
Check out Brockman's show, The Rich Eisen Show, weekdays from 12-3pm on DirecTV's Audience Network. You can also watch the show streaming live on the NFL Now app and it can be heard every day on PodcastOne. Starting Nov. 3, the show will also air on Fox Sports Radio.

Today's Games:

(To view a full calendar of events, visit: thorntonacademy.org/games)

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Thornton Academy
438 Main Street Saco 04072 20854
(207) 282-3361
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