Spring sports

Midcoast high school tennis coaching carousel spins

Medomak Valley, Oceanside, Camden Hills squads find new leadership
By Mark Haskell | Mar 27, 2014

With the start of high school spring sports on the horizon — despite the recent blanket of snow and ice that covers the Midcoast — the boys and girls tennis coaching carousels have spun throughout Knox and Lincoln counties the past few weeks.

Oceanside, Camden Hills and Medomak Valley all have new court coaches for the upcoming high school seasons, which will begin Monday, April 28 for all Maine schools.

Capetta leads Windjammer boys

The Camden Hills boys will be led by Noah Capetta, who will fill the void left by Chris Walker-Spencer, who stepped down last spring after guiding the Windjammers for the past six years. Walker-Spencer also led the team from 2002-2005, guiding the Windjammers to the state Class B crown in 2005.

The Windjammers are far from taking a step back with Capetta, who has been a tennis pro at Midcoast Recreation Center in Rockport for seven years. His tennis resume is extensive as he serves on the board of directors for the Maine Tennis Association, is a junior league tennis coordinator for the United States Tennis Association and has been an assistant tennis coach for both Hermon and Greely of Cumberland.

“I definitely have some big shoes to fill,” said Capetta. “I know Chris really well. He's done an awesome job [with the program].”

Capetta said he anticipates more than 20 players will come out for the Windjammer squad this season.

“I'm really looking forward to it,” he said. “I know a lot of the kids, I've been working with them for a long time and I'm ready to get out there.”

The 30-year-old Capetta, who turns 31 on March 31, is a 2001 graduate of The Community School in Camden.

Brace/Cook lead Windjammer girls

The Camden Hills girls will continue to be coached by veteran Karen Brace, though Dave Cook will now co-coach the Windjammers.

Brace said her job as the membership development director at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce has become too much of a time commitment for her to be able to coach the team full-time, so Cook agreed to coach the Windjammers girls alongside her this season.

Cook is well known in the Midcoast and was the athletic director at Camden-Rockport High School and later Camden Hills for 16 years and coached the Windjammer boys on a few occasions over the past two decades, as well as being a respective basketball coach in Rockland.

The Windjammer girls have been highly competitive on the court in recent years, nabbing several conference championships and a regional title in 2008.

Wiley leads Mariner boys

Oceanside High School also has a pair of new coaches, both of whom also are familiar faces among the Midcoast coaching community.

Pending school board approval, the Mariner boys program will be led by Dan Wiley, who will replace Shawn Dulac, who led the team one year.

Wiley, 27, is a 2004 Georges Valley High School graduate and led the Buccaneer boys soccer team for one season in 2008, along with coaching subvarsity for both Georges Valley and Camden Hills in recent years.

“I am very excited to be coaching tennis this spring at Oceanside,” said Wiley. “I know the team performed very well last year and I am very honored to be a part of the team as we look forward to the 2014 season.”

Wiley added that playing tennis under veteran Buccaneer coach Maynard “Bud” Philbrook was “one of my favorite things about high school.”

“We were very competitive and had a lot of fun,” Wiley said. “And ever since I graduated from high school I wanted to coach tennis. Tennis is a unique sport. It is one you can play all of your life and, at the high school level, it allows your sportsmanship to shine because the players are the judges in a match. For both these reasons, tennis is a great way to bring honor and pride to your community.”

Wiley, who resides in St. George, graduated with a degree in business administration from the University of Maine in 2008 along with a master's degree in Divinity from Liberty University in 2011.

Hall leads Mariner girls

The Mariner girls program will be led this season by Joanna Hall, who also is the school's field hockey coach. Hall replaces Nick Blais, who led both Rockland and/or Oceanside the past four seasons.

Hall was hired as the Rockland field hockey coach in 2011, then coached the cooperative Rockland/Georges Valley team for one season before the two schools consolidated to form Oceanside High School, where she has coached the past two years.

Hall is a physical education teacher at Oceanside High School East and has taught youth and adult tennis for the Camden Snow Bowl Parks and Recreation Department “many years ago.”

“Tennis is an activity that I enjoy very much,” said Hall. “With Coach Blais' departure, the program that he and [junior varsity coach] Ken Pride have made so popular at Oceanside was in need of a coach. I have had most of the girls in class before and they are really a great group of girls, so, that kind of made the decision to coach an easy one.”

She added that many of the players on last year's team, which reached the postseason, have graduated, so she “really can't predict at this point how we will do as far as wins and losses, but looking at this group, they are a team of smart, hard-working and very athletic young ladies who will be fun to work with.”

Hinkley leads Panther boys

The Medomak Valley boys also will have a new coach this season in Bill Hinkley, who replaces Eric Lee after three seasons with the Panthers.

Hinkley is a first-year mathematics teacher at Medomak Valley and also coaches the math team. He is a 1990 graduate of Brunswick High School and played tennis for the Dragons for three years, while graduating from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. as an undergraduate and then earned his master's degree from the University of Illinois.

He also has experience as he coached the boys tennis team at Gould Academy of Bethel from 1996-98 and coached the jayvee high school team at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Mass. from 1998-2002.

“It has been a while since I last coached and I have really missed it,” said Hinkley. “I enjoy working with students in a variety of different settings, since students are able to show different strengths in different settings. For instance, I might teach a student in my math class who really struggles with the material and lacks confidence. That same student may really shine on the tennis court and be a natural leader. Coaching is a great way to see a new side of a kid.”

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