EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

December 15, 2012

Introducing Eagle-Tribune Fall Coaches of the Year

(Continued)

The Astros didn’t win a championship this year but, despite losing its top returning runner because of injury, they were a surprising contender.

Pinkerton finished fourth in Division 1, which was two slots ahead of last year and narrowly missed qualifying for New England.

For Bernard, a former Pinkerton and Merrimack College runner who still runs for the Whirlaway team, it was a satisfying season in more ways than one.

”This year has been a highlight of my coaching career and will go down as one of my favorite teams ever,” said The Pinkerton science teacher, who also won the award in 2006. “I’ve had teams that were overall faster teams, but these girls showed up every day loving cross country, ready to work hard, and really made the most of their season.”

Bernard masterfully managed her youngsters like freshmen Ariel Vaillancourt, Morgan Sansing and Taylor Lacey and sophomore Kaila Cote.

“I honestly wish we could start training for the 2013 cross country season tomorrow,” said Bernard.

Previous Coaches of the Year

2011: Mark Behan, Timberlane; 2010: Leo Lafond, Andover; 2009: Ed Burgess, Londonderry; 2008: Nancy Lang, Phillips; 2007: Mike Maguire, Haverhill; 2006: Amy Bernard, Pinkerton; 2005: Nancy Lang, Phillips; 2004: Joe Casey, Masconomet; 2003: Mike Maguire, Haverhill; 2001-02: Mike Beeman, Pinkerton

Girls Soccer: Who says great players can’t be great coaches?

Jaime Gilbert was an Eagle-Tribune MVP and an All-American at Brooks. She then scored 29 career goals for North Carolina, winning a national title in 2006.

The 26-year-old North Andover native now is making quite a name for herself as a coach. This fall, she led Brooks to its first NEPSAC Class A title since 2002. One guess who was the star of that team?

“Believe it or not, I get more fulfillment out of coaching than I did playing,” said Gilbert, who is assistant director of admissions at Brooks and is also an assistant basketball coach. “I think I speak for both my assistant, Laura Salichs, and myself when I say watching our girls grow and develop as players and more importantly as people has been one of the most rewarding things in our lives. We witnessed 20 girls become more mature and seasoned players over the span of three months. It was remarkable.”

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