August 23, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL NOTEBOOK: Change of class not an easy choice

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

If the enrollment cutoffs had stayed the same, Eastern Maine field hockey would have had an abundance of teams in Class B, and not so many in Class A and Class C. That left some tough and important decisions for many teams, particularly Winslow and Mt. View.

Both schools compete in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B, but were slated to play in Class C under the new alignment. Both decided not to petition up to remain in Class B, and will compete in the Eastern C playoffs beginning this fall.

"My first thought was, 'I'm going to petition to stay up, because we're at a Class B level,' " Mt. View coach Gloria Hewett said.

"Then I gave it some thought. Our numbers are going down every year, and it's a four-year commitment. I don't want to make a mistake I can't correct for four years. I have 25 players this year. My first couple years of coaching, I had 40."

Hewett said the state of the school's middle school program also factored in her decision.

"Our middle school numbers are dropping," she said. "We barely have a middle school team at this point. Last year, I did a middle school league, and I had an indoor league. I had 10 girls. I even pulled up a fifth-grader."

Winslow coach Mary Beth Bourgoin talked with several coaches about the decision, and the words of one coach stuck in her mind.

"One in particular said, 'That happened to me, and I petitioned up,' " Bourgoin said. "He said, 'I never should have done it. I just should have let the numbers speak. It all works out the way it's supposed to.' "

Mt. View and Winslow have both been competitive in Class B. Bourgoin said she has already talked with her players, just to make sure they're not overconfident about moving to a "lower" class.

"You've got some competitive teams in C," said Bourgoin, who has about 20 players out for the team this fall. "So just because it's Class C doesn't mean it's going to be a cakewalk in Class C, because it's not."

* * *

Maine Central Institute's athletic director situation has been fluid in recent years. Earl Anderson held the position in the 2011-12 school year, before resigning to take the job at Nokomis. After filling the position internally during the 2012-13 school year, MCI hired Rick Amero as the AD at the end of the spring.

Recently, Amero decided to return to Monmouth, where he will serve as the school's principal. That means that for the upcoming school year, baseball coach John Dean and football coach Tom Bertrand will serve as co-athletic directors.

"It's a one-year thing," said Jen Beane, MCI's director of communications. "We'll launch a full, comprehensive search for next year."

MCI has a new boys soccer coach this fall in Scott Giallombardo, who coached the Huskies from 2008-11. The varsity girls basketball job, formerly filled by Jason Allen, and the varsity boys basketball job, formerly filled by Mike Susi, are both open. Beane said MCI is currently in the interviewing process with the girls basketball position.

* * *

Waterville field hockey had a serious numbers problem last year. The most players the Purple Panthers had in any game was 13, and usually they had 12. That represented the number of players in the entire high school program. Still, they nearly made the playoffs in a very competitive Eastern B.

This year looks like it will be a little better. Coach Amie Dubois said the Panthers have 18 players.

"We're going to be starting a few freshmen, and we'll be subbing with freshmen," Dubois said.

(Continued on page 2)

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