HOLDEN, Maine — Life is comprised of a series of decisions.
After a terrific freshman year at Brewer High School in which she started for the basketball team and was one of the top hitters for the softball team, Emily Gilmore decided to transfer to archrival Bangor High.
It was a move she had contemplated for quite some time.
Living in Holden, which doesn’t have its own high school, meant Emily and twin sister Kelsey had their choice of high schools.
They had grown up in the Holden/Brewer school system so the natural progression was to Brewer High.
Emily Gilmore enjoyed her year at Brewer, saying “I loved a lot of parts of it.”
But she wanted to attend Bangor.
“I talked about it with my parents a lot,” said Emily Gilmore. “I really wanted to make a change. I wanted to go to a bigger school.
“It was a really hard decision. And having my sister stay at Brewer was also hard. But I knew I wanted to do it,” said Emily Gilmore.
Bangor had 1,198 students last year and Brewer had 732.
“It’s going to be different,” said Kelsey Gilmore, the older of the twins by one minute. “But this is what she wanted. I’m happy for her.
“And I’ll still get to see her every day after sports and stuff. But it’s still a big change,” added Kelsey.
Parents Rob and Alicia Gilmore are supportive of Emily’s decision.
“The twins are so different with their personalities and interests,” said Alicia. “You have two little girls and raise them the exact same way but they turn out to be so different. It’s been fun.”
“We’re complete opposites,” said Kelsey Gilmore who is six inches shorter than her twin.
Alicia Gilmore said it is “nice to have options” for high schools and she and Rob encouraged them to weigh all of those options.
“Brewer is a great school. We’re very pleased with it. It’s a great fit for Kelsey. But we also recognize that what works for one individual may not be the right fit for the other so we’ve allowed them to choose their own paths,” said Alicia. “Emily is a trail blazer.”
Emily Gilmore said Bangor’s strong and varied academic regimen and science program were also factors in her decision.
“At a bigger school, you have more options (academically). And they have a really cool science program,” said Emily.
“Emily is a very math-and-science oriented kid,” said Alicia.
It hasn’t taken long for Emily to make an impact at Bangor High.
She was a midfielder in soccer at Brewer but has become a goalkeeper for the first time at Bangor High School. Last year’s starter, Cordelia Stewart, has been lost for the season after having knee surgery so the Rams needed a goalkeeper.
Gilmore and freshman Maddie Hodgdon have been sharing the goalkeeping chores.
“Coach (Joe Johnson) wanted me to try it because I was tall (5-foot-8). I didn’t think I’d really enjoy it but I enjoy it a lot. It’s a lot of fun. Once I figure out what I’m doing, it’ll be a lot easier,” said Emily Gilmore.
Johnson and his Rams have been impressed.
“She’s very athletic and very strong. She had good hands and a lot of good instincts. In time, she’s going to be a very good goalkeeper,” said Johnson.
“Even though they’re both young, they’re both really good and they work hard,” said sophomore striker Alli Boulier.
More importantly, Gilmore has already formed a healthy bond with her new teammates.
“I feel really comfortable. They’re real good kids. They have accepted me really well. I feel real good about it,” said Emily Gilmore.
Alicia Gilmore said she and her husband have been relieved and grateful that their daughter has had a smooth transition.
“They have welcomed her. It has been nothing but positive,” said Alicia. “We feel very fortunate. It looks like it is going to work out really well.”
Brewer High School girls basketball coach Andy Nickerson and softball coach Skip Estes said the Rams have added a quality player and person to their respective rosters.
“She was one of our leading hitters,” said Estes, who hit her in the cleanup spot. “She has potential to be among the top three hitters I ever coached. She can play the outfield, first base, shortstop and she can also catch. She’s a very good fielder.
“She’s also great kid…salt-of-the-earth,” added Estes.
“She’s a very talented kid,” said Nickerson, who played her at forward. “She did a lot for us. She can play defense, she can rebound and she can score. She’s a good kid. I’m sure she’ll fit in.”
“It’s always great when you don’t have to see a hitter like that (against you) three or four times a game,” said Bangor softball coach Don Stanhope. “She had an on-base percentage over .500 against us last season. She can hit the ball. She’ll give us some more options. I’m very excited to see what she’ll do next spring. She’ll fit in real well with the group that we have.”
Stanhope also said he has heard that she is an “exceptional person” which will make her adjustment that much smoother.
He added that he expects her to be a “great asset” for the girls basketball team.
“She’s a very competitive kid,” said Stanhope.
The Bangor girls soccer and basketball teams won Eastern Maine Class A titles last year and the softball team lost to Skowhegan in the EM A final.
Emily Gilmore won’t match up against her twin sister until softball season because Kelsey runs cross country in the fall and indoor track in the winter.
But softball season should be intriguing. Rob Gilmore is a Brewer High softball assistant.
“It will be pretty weird. My sister and I are very competitive,” said Emily Gilmore. “Playing against my dad will be weird, too.”
“It’s going to be interesting,” said Rob Gilmore. “I’ve never coached against her.”
“It’ll be different,” said Kelsey, who is a second baseman/outfielder.