Northern edition Fall Coaches of the Year

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BOYS’ TEAM

BRIAN BERKEMEYER—FREEPORT CROSS COUNTRY

Brian Berkemeyer tooted his team’s horn this fall, but not too loudly. He made it clear that the Falcons had what it took to do something special, then, on the biggest stage, he ensured they ran their best and made history by winning a Class B state title for the first time.

For pushing all the right buttons this fall and getting his charges to peak when it mattered most, Brian Berkemeyer is The Forecaster’s choice for our Northern edition Coach of the Year, of a boys’ team.

Berkemeyer is from California, ran in high school and has long participated in road races and marathons. He came to Maine in 1990 and coached at Kents Hill and NYA before coming to Freeport in 2000. After serving for eight years as an assistant to Cathy McGuire (our 2005 Fall Coach of the Year), Berkemeyer took over the head job in 2007 and has consistently produced strong boys’ and girls’ teams.

This fall was something special.

Freeport had the misfortune of being in a conference which features several powerhouses, which prevented it from dominating in the regular season, but the Falcons knew they had what it took to compete against the best.

After coming in fifth in the top division at the conference championship meet and fourth at regionals, the season came down to one meet and Freeport dazzled.

Behind top 10 finishes from Chandler Vincent and Eric Brobst and strong showings from Henry Jaques, Tyler Frey and Liam Gallagher, the Falcons didn’t just win the Class B title, they beat runner-up York by 21 points.

“I told the coaches at the beginning of the season that I had a really good team, but no one really noticed,” Berkemeyer said. “I had my whole team together for only one race all year. Eric and Chandler and Henry were solid all year and Gallagher had the race of his life at states. All five runners had PRs in the last race.”

Berkemeyer said that he really enjoys coaching kids.

“I enjoy the challenge of getting the kids to believe in themselves,” Berkemeyer said. “I care about them as people more than I do as runners. They know I want them to succeed.”

“(Coach) gives us a lot of constructive criticism and helps us be competitive within our team and with other teams,” Vincent said.

Berkemeyer, who leads a running group in Freeport and owns a race timing company, also coaches indoor track and teaches math at the high school. He plans to coach for the foreseeable future.

That future is very bright. We haven’t seen the last of Falcons championships and their juggernaut status is due in large part to the influence of Brian Berkemeyer, our Northern edition boys’ team Coach of the Year.

Prior winners:

2013: Mike Andreasen (Greely soccer)

2012: Dave Halligan (Falmouth soccer)

2011: Spike Herrick (Falmouth golf)

2010: David Higgins (Greely football)

2009: Jim Hartman (Yarmouth football)

2008: Mike Hagerty (Yarmouth soccer)

2007: Mike Andreasen (Greely soccer)

2006: Dave Halligan (Falmouth soccer)

2005: Joe Heathco (Freeport soccer)

2004: Mike Hagerty (Yarmouth soccer)

2003: Dave Halligan (Falmouth soccer)

2002: Bob Gilman (Falmouth cross country)

2001: Mark Luthe (Falmouth golf)

GIRLS’ TEAM

TRACY QUIMBY-NYA FIELD HOCKEY

From the moment practice began back in August, the NYA field hockey team played short-handed.

Yet the Panthers didn’t miss a beat.

NYA overcame the odds, posted another stellar record and once again made a playoff run.

Making the most of a difficult situation was Tracy Quimby, who channeled her experience as a player of never wanting to come off the field to encourage the Panthers to play hard for 60 minutes and then some.

For turning that monstrous challenge into a positive, Tracy Quimby is the Forecaster’s choice as our Northern edition Coach of the Year, of a girls’ team.

Quimby played field hockey at perennial Eastern Maine powerhouse Dexter and at Tufts University. After coaching freshman field hockey at Leavitt, Quimby came to NYA where she coached middle school field hockey, basketball and softball before spending time as Julia Sterling’s assistant with the varsity squad.

In the fall of 2011, Quimby inherited a championship team and promptly led the Panthers to the Class C pinnacle. After falling in the regional final in 2012 and in the state game last season, a brand new challenge presented itself this autumn.

Due to graduation and the small number of females in the school, which also fields soccer, cross country and volleyball teams in the fall, NYA didn’t have enough girls to field a full team. Still, they found a way to go 10-4 and get back to the playoffs.

“(Senior) Charlotte Eisenberg said, ‘I want to be the team that goes to states with nine players,'” Quimby said. “If they believed, I believed. Five of the girls were hurting by the end of the season, but other teams gave us respect for doing what we did. It was a tight-knit group. Everyone was on the same page.”

“(Coach) was amazing,” said goalie extraordinaire Elizabeth Coughlin. “She had total faith in us. She knew we’d do the best we could. She thought we’d make the playoffs. She pushed us in practice like we had a full bench.”

NYA went on to edge Sacopee Valley in the quarterfinals before finally being eliminated by top-ranked Oak Hill in the semis.

“It was an interesting year, but very fun,” Quimby said. “The girls were exceptional. They played their best against the hardest teams.”

Quimby, who lives in Bowdoinham, hopes to coach for some time and knows that next year, she may have a similar personnel challenge.

Whatever the numbers, NYA will be in good shape as long as Tracy Quimby, our Northern edition girls’ team Coach of the Year, is at the helm. She turned a daunting challenge into a most rewarding season.

Prior winners:

2013: Gary Powers (Falmouth volleyball)

2012: Kelvin Hasch (Greely volleyball)

2011: Jim Senecal (Yarmouth volleyball)

2010: Rich Smith (Yarmouth soccer)

2009: Gary Powers (Volleyball)

2008: Julia Littlefield (NYA field hockey)

2007: Jeff Thoreck (NYA soccer)

2006: Kelvin Hasch (Greely volleyball)

2005: Cathy McGuire (Freeport cross country)

2004: Robin Haley (Falmouth field hockey)

2003: Robyn Thayer (Greely field hockey)

2002: Bob Morse (Yarmouth cross country)

2001: Melissa Anderson (Falmouth soccer)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.