PARIS — St. Dom’s senior Bella Pelletier was in a predicament.

She’s committed to playing lacrosse and field hockey next season for Thomas College in Waterville, but going into her final year of high school lacrosse she didn’t have a place to play.

Due to numerous players graduating from last year’s team, the Saints don’t have enough returners to field a team, but Pelletier, Anna Theriault and Emma Smith all wanted to play in 2023.

Once the St. Dom’s girls hockey season ended in February, Pelletier began talking with St. Dom’s athletic director Andrew Pelletier about finding a place to play lacrosse in the spring.

“I was seeing him every day and trying to stay updated and giving him recommendations for schools near us,” Bella Pelletier said.

Earlier this month, St. Dom’s co-op found a partner for girls lacrosse: Oxford Hills.


Jenna Simanovsky, in her first season as the Vikings’ head coach after spending 2022 as the JV coach, said the school didn’t hesitate in welcoming the three St. Dom’s athletes to the program.

“Their athletic director approached us not too long and said if they didn’t have a place to go, they weren’t going to have a team,” Simanovsky said. “We said, ‘Yes, we will take anybody that wants to play.’ We are excited to have the opportunity to have them join us.”

The Oxford Hills and St. Dominic Academy co-op team will be referred to as the Oxford Hills Vikings.

Simanovsky met the three St. Dom’s players and the rest of the Oxford Hills team for the first time this season on Monday, the official start of the spring season for high school lacrosse, tennis and track and field teams across the state. Baseball and softball started full practices Monday after a week of training for pitchers and catchers.

Oxford Hills players were excited with the addition of the trio from St. Dom’s.

“We love new people and are excited to see some new faces, different mindsets and contributions to the team,” senior Mallory Kennison said. “I think they will make such a difference, and it’s great to work with some new people.”


Bella Pelletier has had the experience the past few years of welcoming athletes from Monmouth, Winthrop and Gray New-Gloucester to the Saints’ girls ice hockey team. But she didn’t know what to expect Monday as the newcomer to an established team.

“I was so nervous and I didn’t know what to expect; I didn’t know what their practices were like, I didn’t know what any of the girls were like,” Isabella Peletier said. “I was super nervous, but I just have to be myself, and, hopefully, they accept me for me.”

Pelletier said the Vikings were welcoming during the first practice. She said she didn’t know too much about Oxford Hills and the season they had a year ago.

The Vikings are coming off a 7-6 season under coach Jamiee Smith. They hosted Cheverus in a Class A North quarterfinal game, but the Stags came away with a 14-10 victory.

Oxford Hills only lost a handful of players from the 2022 team and have hopes of another winning season in 2023.

Junior Saige Winslow said she’s been counting down the days, eager to get back to the field.


“We should be a really good team; I am really excited to get back into it,” Winslow said. “We only had four seniors leave last year, so our team is going to be locked and loaded.”

Simanovsky likes the depth of the team heading into the new season.

“We have a lot of returning players, which is great for us,” Simanovsky said. “We have a lot of diversity all over the field — both midfielders and attack — I am excited to see that come back. I am excited to see the girls who put in a lot of work in the offseason. I think that will bode well for this season and their development continuing to grow in the years to come.”

Winslow and Kennison were two of the players that got Vikings players together during the offseason to work on their skills.

“We got the team to do a lot of stuff in the offseason, like the World Cup league through Maineiax (Lacrosse),” Winslow said. “We ran every day last week and it was really awesome.”

Kennison said the team is further along on the first day of practice compared to last season.

“We put more work outside of the season as a team, I think, and I think there’s a lot more excitement,” Kennison said. “It feels like a lot more people want to put their all into the lacrosse season.”

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