Earlier this summer, Jay Carlsen was faced with a dilemma no high school basketball coach enjoys.
The veteran Camden Hills of Rockport girls coach wanted to continue on the Windjammers’ bench but also wanted to watch his son Adam play basketball for the boys team.
Family ultimately came first for Carlsen, who stepped down after 23 years guiding the Windjammers and 24 years of coaching.
“I’m excited about watching my son play, no doubt about that, I just wish I could be doing both,” he said.
Typically in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, the boys and girls play at different sites on the same night, thus making it impossible for Carlsen to watch his son play if he continued to coach.
He said he tried to work something out with the administration at Camden Hills so that could happen, but when that didn’t pan out he decided to step down.
“The thing I’m going to miss the most is interacting with the kids from season to season,” he said.
The Windjammers were a Class B tourney staple under his watch, highlighted by a state championship in 2000 and an Eastern Maine title in 2004.
Carlsen guided the Windjammers to the Eastern Maine quarterfinals last winter, where they lost 39-36 to Winslow. The coach’s daughter, Kylie, who now studies business at Husson University in Bangor, was a senior on that team.
The Windjammers lost five seniors but return one of the KVAC’s top young players in sophomore Jordan Knowlton next season.
“This year’s team should do very well, even (better) the next couple years,” Carlsen said. “That’s the other thing that makes it hard, too, when you’ve got a great group of kids in the program, you kind of hate to let that go.”
Even though Carlsen will watch a variety of his son’s games this season, he’d still like to catch an occasional girls contest.
Carlsen added he has appreciated the support of the administration at Camden Hills, and from the parents and community.
Wilcox on the run
Participating in two sports during one season is nothing new for small-school athletes.
Bangor Christian junior Brad Wilcox, one of Eastern Maine Class D’s top soccer players, is also one of the region’s best in cross country.
He proved that Saturday with his fourth-place finish among Class C runners in the PVC championship meet in Bangor while leading his Patriots to a first-place team finish.
If that’s not enough, the BC boys soccer team is 11-1-1 heading into today’s season finale with Deer Isle-Stonington and will be a favorite to defend its state championship when the postseason starts next week.
“We’ve got a great team again this year,” said Wilcox, one of five BC soccer players who also run cross country.
The combination of cross country and soccer training isn’t too strenuous, Wilcox said.
“We do a lot of conditioning in soccer so it helps,” said Wilcox, who typically runs a few miles after soccer practice.
In 2004, the Lee Academy girls, led by Shelby Pickering, had success in both cross country and soccer, winning a Class D state title on the cross country trails while playing for a state final in soccer.
Should the Patriots win this afternoon, they could finish second in Eastern D and secure at least two home playoff games.
“Hopefully we’ll fall into second place again depending on some other teams’ games today,” said Wilcox. “It’ll be great to have some home games.”
BC’s boys soccer team, coached by Aaron Wilcox, Brad’s father, feels it’s the team to beat heading into the playoffs.
“Teams want to beat us because we’re worth a lot of points,” said Brad Wilcox. “There’s going to be some good competition.”
With the way the soccer playoffs are set up — the prelims are Saturday with quarterfinals on Wednesday and semifinals for Class D on Oct. 29 — the Patriots should be able to run in both the regional and state cross country meets.
Those are the next two Saturdays.
“I think the dates fall just right. We won’t have to miss any of either, it’ll be great,” Wilcox said.
Field hockey postseason kicks off
The state’s high school field hockey postseason slate begins Tuesday with six games in Eastern Maine, and six more games are on tap Wednesday.
In Class B on Tuesday, second-ranked John Bapst of Bangor (12-2) entertains No. 7 Camden Hills (6-7) at the University of Maine at 3:30 p.m. while third-ranked Nokomis of Newport, the regional champion in 2008 and runner-up last fall, hosts No. 6 Belfast at 3 p.m.
In Class C on Tuesday, No. 7 Central of Corinth visits second-seeded Foxcroft Academy at 3 p.m. while No. 3 Orono will host No. 6 Stearns of Millinocket at 3:30 p.m.
Defending Class C state champion Dexter starts its title defense Wednesday when the top-ranked Tigers face eighth-seeded Hall-Dale of Farmingdale at 3 p.m. Another quarterfinal features No. 5 Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln visiting No. 4 Winthrop at 3 p.m.