It took Brenda Beckwith several months, including a Caribbean vacation, to decide she wanted to return to coaching this winter.
But now that she’s been named the new Messalonskee of Oakland girls basketball coach, the former Winslow boss is pleased to be back.
“I went to the Caribbean islands, I had a great summer, but I kept getting all these phone calls [about the Messalonskee job],” Beckwith said. “And then I thought, I really miss coaching. So I put my name in the hat, went through the interview process and I got hired. And I’m happy I got hired.”
Beckwith’s hiring was approved at an SAD 47 board meeting earlier this month.
Beckwith first coached at Winslow from 1987 to 1993, when the program was in Class A.
She took over the job again four games into the 2005-06 season when then-coach J.R. Richards left the team. The Raiders finished the season with a 14-6 record, including a 57-53 overtime loss to MDI in the Eastern Maine Class B quarterfinals.
But Beckwith said she didn’t feel comfortable all season because she didn’t have any time to plan. She found herself using practice workouts from her first coaching stint.
She resigned at the end of the season and Winslow hired her replacement in May.
But Beckwith discovered during her brief time away she missed coaching and felt starting with a team from the preseason would be a better situation.
“This just feels so different from last year,” she said. “I never got my feet planted last year.”
Beckwith, who teaches physical education and health at Winslow, inherits one of the top squads in Eastern Maine Class A. The Eagles return eight seniors, including Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference North Division Player of the Year Chelsea Barker, and her twin sister Amanda. Both Barker sisters are 5-foot-8 guards.
The Eagles went 14-6 last season and earned the No. 5 ranking for the Eastern Maine Class A tournament before being knocked out in the quarterfinals by No. 4 Bangor 65-32.
Beckwith replaces Brian Laramee, who left after one season to take over the Lewiston High girls team.
That makes her Messalonskee’s third coach in three years.
Beckwith said she knows there are have been rumors about her intentions.
“These girls have been through the ringer as far as coaching changes,” said Bckwith. “The gossip mill is right on high. [People are saying] that I’m only doing it for a year, I’m chasing talent.”
Beckwith was also a successful field hockey coach at Winslow. The Black Raiders won four Class B state championships and one more Eastern Maine Class B title during her 125-11-2 tenure.
Her 1998 field hockey team was inducted into the Maine Field Hockey Hall of Fame for being the first field hockey team to go unbeaten, unscored upon and untied, according to National Federation of State High School Association records.
Ross ‘nailed’ in finger
Jillian Ross might have an ugly thumb for a while.
The Belfast field hockey senior standout suffered an unusual injury during the first half of Saturday’s Eastern Maine Class B semifinal.
Ross was hit in the finger of her left hand by what she believes was the stick of a Foxcroft Academy player and almost her whole fingernail came up from the nail bed. When she came off the field, the nail was sticking straight up and her finger was bleeding.
“I looked down at it and it was all bloody,” she said. “I kind of freaked out.”
Ross maintained her composure as Belfast principal Butch Arthers held her arm and field hockey coach Allen Holmes bent the nail back into place.
Ross, who is righthanded, had her left hand taped and wore a glove for the rest of the game. Her finger shouldn’t affect her play.
It’s just one of the hazards of field hockey.
“I’ve had a lot of balls hit me,” Ross said. “I got one in the chest a few years ago. It’s a risk you take.”
Ross, Seavey honored
Eastern Maine Class A schoolgirl basketball standouts Tanna Ross of Hampden and Bethany Sevey of Skowhegan were named honorable mention in the East region by Street & Smith’s College Basketball Yearbook.
Ross, a 6-foot guard who did not play last year due to a knee injury, made a verbal commitment to play for the University of Maine starting in 2007-08. Ross was the 2005 Big East Conference Player of the Year.
Sevey, a 5-10 guard, was named to the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference North region first team and the Eastern Maine Class A all-tourney team.
Gorham, NYA teams ranked
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) has ranked two Maine girls soccer teams and one boys soccer team in the top 10 in Region I.
Defending Class A state champion Gorham (then 14-0) was No. 2 in the most recent rankings, which came out Oct. 17. The Rams are sitting in 10th place nationally. Three-time defending Class C state champ North Yarmouth Academy (13-0) was ranked No. 7.
Trumbull (Conn.) leads the region.
The Gorham boys are No. 9 in their rankings, which are led by Acton-Boxborough Regional (Mass.)
Jessica Bloch can be reached at 990-8193, 1-800-310-8600 or email@example.com.