Winthrop’s Madeline Wagner handles the ball as Lisbon’s Maddy Tuplin defends her during Wednesday’s Class C South regional final game at Freeport High School. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Madeline Wagner is having quite a freshman season.

The Winthrop forward has fit right into the high-powered Ramblers offense, scoring 14 times with 27 assists in 17 games this season. She has made some history along the way, breaking the school’s single-season assist record, surpassing Nikki Scott’s 23 assists in 2010.

Wagner isn’t focused on her individual stats, though. Instead, her sights are set on raising the state championship trophy Saturday afternoon. The unbeaten Ramblers (17-0) take on Maine Central Institute (15-1) in the Class C state title game at Cony High School in Augusta at 2 p.m.

“As long as we are winning as a team, I think that’s super important,” Wagner said. “If I can help, I will do everything I can.”

Wagner started playing field hockey at the age of 6 and said it’s her favorite thing to do. She has been on the high school team’s radar for a couple of years now.

“Of course we knew (of Wagner’s ability), (Winthrop) is a small town,” Ramblers coach Sharon Coulton said. “In fact, Madeline joined us — we play in a summer league — and she joined us as a middle-schooler.”


That experience and the hard work she put in during the preseason helped her become a starter at the beginning of the season.

Maranacook’s Eliza Pattershall tumbles to the turf while battling Winthrop’s Madeline Wagner for control of the ball during a Class C South quarterfinal field hockey game Oct. 27 at Thomas College in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Junior Emma Shuman, who also is teammates with Wagner on the Coastal Field Hockey club team during the high school offseason, knew what type of player Wagner could be at the high school level.

Shuman points to Wagner’s speed as a reason for her quick success in her first high school season.

“I sometimes forget Madeline is just a freshman,” Shuman said. “She might not have all the (high school) experience, but she fits right in (on the team).”

Coulton said Wagner settled into the ball-distributor role as the season went along.

“She’s very poised because of her (club field hockey) experience,” Coulton said. “When she dribbles the ball, she’s under control and she knows what she’s going to do with it. She has the intention (of) this is going to be a shot, this is is going to be a pass.”


Just like the rest of the team, Wagner needed an adjustment period in terms of reading her options before deciding to shoot or pass.

“Madeline, on her other teams (in middle school and club field hockey), was accustomed to being the team’s leading scorer, and I think that was her intention early in the season. After we talked about, ‘The goalie is at this (certain) post; yes, you can try to get the (ball) past her, but you (can) cross (the ball to a teammate).’ It’s something we have worked on since day one with the whole team, that we were going to make a habit of putting shots on the goalie, and we needed to move the (goalie) to one side (to use the open side).”

Winthrop’s Madeline Wagner brings the ball down the field as Lisbon’s Avia Russo plays defense during Wednesday’s Class C South regional final game at Freeport High School. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Wagner became an integral part of the offense after upperclassmen Maddie Perkins and Shuman took her under their wing.

“They have been coaching (when we may be in trouble),” Wagner said of Perkins and Shuman. “They explain how to do certain things on the field, like if you don’t know (where you need to be). If one thing isn’t working (during the game), they will tell you how to fix it.”

Shuman said Wagner takes pointers well.

“Madeline is very easy to talk to and is always open to listening; she’s a very easy teammate to get along with,” Shuman said. “She’s always open to helpful tips.”

Wagner said Perkins and Shuman, who have experience in championship games — this is Winthrop’s fourth straight title game appearance (2017-19, then no postseason in 2020 due to COVID-19) — have calmed her nerves in big games this season.

Coulton told Wagner and the Ramblers’ other freshmen to focus on controlling what they can in those important games.

“As far as being prepared for big games, that’s something that we talked quite a bit about; the fact that they just need to be ready to go with, basically, go with whatever happens,” Coulton said. “Think about the different possibilities and how are you going to respond when this happens or when that happens. The paramount is be positive and supportive of each other to the greatest extent possible.”

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