'Crash' Hamilton catches on as East-West player of yearIsland girl with nickname 'Crash' crashes conference banquet
Vinalhaven — Vinalhaven's Ashley Hamilton certainly crashed the East-West Conference awards banquet on Tuesday, June 3.
And the girl they call “Crash” on the island came away with the banquet's richest prize.
The 18-year-old Hamilton, who is a standout three-sport athlete for Vinalhaven, was named the 2013-14 East-West Conference female athlete of the year at the banquet at the University of Maine in Farmington.
The East-West Conference is comprised of six schools: Buckfield, Greenville, Valley of Bingham, Forest Hills of Jackman, Richmond and Vinalhaven.
Dylan Belanger of Valley earned the boys honor.
Hamilton is the fourth athlete and second female to win the award from Vinalhaven. Lindsay Davis won the honor several years ago, while Steven Osgood won the award in 2012 and Nathan Hopkins in 2010.
“I'm very excited,” said Hamilton of winning the award. “It's something I've worked for over the years. I didn't think I would get it and when I got it I was very excited.”
Hamilton was a sweeper on the soccer team, played catcher and shortstop in softball and played “wherever [varsity coach] Alan [Lazaro] put me” on the basketball court.
“The last two years she had more rebounds than she had points,” said Lazaro, who is also the school's athletic director. “There's no doubt she probably conservatively had 1,100 rebounds in her career. And she was probably our best defensive player.”
While she thrived in all three sports, basketball was the 5-foot-6-inch Hamilton's bread and butter as she scored 915 career points.
“My favorite is by far basketball,” she said. “It's the one I've been playing the longest.”
Her nickname, Crash, is one she earned at a young age.
“I've had that nickname literally since I was two years old,” she said. “Because I trip over everything. I could trip over the lines on the basketball court. I made it, I think, 22 seconds this softball season before I tripped during a game.”
Hamilton likely is the only player in the state who can boast she played for one of her high school team for six years.
Hamilton played on the softball team as a seventh-grader when the team was still a club sport, and stayed with the team as an eighth-grader when the team earned varsity status.
Vinalhaven, a Western Class D school, allows its student-athletes to play varsity sports at the eighth grade level due to the school having such a small enrollment.
Hamilton played shortstop in her younger years, but after she hyperextended her MCL in a basketball game at Jonesport-Beals during her junior year, she made the switch from catcher to shortstop in the spring on the diamond.
Hamilton graduated from Vinalhaven Saturday, June 14 and will attend Southern Maine Community College in the fall, where she plans to major in business. She also intends to try out for the women's basketball team.
She conceded moving to Portland will be a big change from “the island life,” but she has several friends attending the school as well, including some from Vinalhaven.