LIVERMORE FALLS — There likely won’t be many dull moments during Willie Brown’s February vacation.

He’ll be active. He’ll do some travelling. It will likely be an experience he won’t soon forget. And, he just might need another vacation to recover.

The Livermore Falls senior is capping off his final winter season with a best-of-both-worlds finish. After being a regular with the ski team all four years at Livermore Falls, he added basketball to his agenda again this season. It has kept him hopping, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I liked all the free time I had last year that I had in the winter,” said Brown, who took last year off from basketball, “but it didn’t feel right. I’d done it since fourth grade, doing both, and I really enjoyed it. It’s been a blast. I wanted to go out senior year with a bang. Knowing the basketball team has a chance for a state championship and the ski team does also, that doesn’t happen at a lot of schools. I really wanted to be part of it.”

Brown is one of those athletes that can’t keep himself away from the field, court or slopes. He’s an all-star soccer goalie in the fall and baseball is probably his best sport.

“I’ve been carrying a baseball bat around since I was two,” said Brown, who expects to play baseball at St. Joseph’s College next year and major in Sports Marketing.

Brown took up skiing at the age of seven. He came into the winter season with high expectations for the ski team. The Andies had the largest and most talented team it has had in years. Alex Rose was the state champ in the slalom and giant slalom. Zach Vigue and transfer Cody Jacques, along with Brown, gave the Andies a solid group with high hopes.

“I knew we had four solid skiers because we had a transfer from Jay,” said Brown. “So basically, my role is to stand up. We have eight skiers on the the team. If our top four skiers stand up, we have a good chance of making something happen at states.”

As if that kind of team success wasn’t enough, Brown decided to add basketball back to his repertoire. After taking his junior year off, his fellow classmates dared him to return.

“A bunch of guys talked me into playing basketball this year,” he said. “I’m glad I did. I’m good friends with a lot of guys on the team. I kind of had a deal with Tom Ventrella, who didn’t play baseball last year. I told him that if I played basketball that he’d better be on the baseball field.”

Brown has been part of one of the Andies most successful hoop seasons in over a decade. He’s enjoyed both, but it has also been hard to keep at his best when bouncing back and forth.

“I haven’t had a lot of snow time,” he said. “So my skiing hasn’t gotten as good as I’d wanted it to this year. I’ve definitely seen a decline in my skiing this year. Last year, I skied pretty well. I was able to be on the snow as much as I could because I didn’t have basketball practice.”

Still, Brown says he wouldn’t change it all if he could. Being involved in both teams has been a great experience and his teammates have been very supportive.

“It took a lot of motivation on my part to really want to push myself,” he said. 

He’s gotten used to the juggling act and his parents, Dan and Alicia Brown, have gladly chauffeured him around to meet his challenging and active schedule. He had to miss practices in both sports, but he’s still handled both endeavors while barely missing a beat.

“I had a ski race at Mt. Abram at 5,” said Brown. “They let me take my runs and leave. I was out of Mt. Abram by 5:45. I got back to Jay in time for a 7 p.m. game

His schedule will be even crazier during tournament week. If the Andies end up with the top seed in Western C, they’ll have the last game on Monday night, February 15 at the Augusta Civic Center. That Class C state ski championships begin the next day, in Fort Kent.

“I think we play at 8:30 p.m.,” said Brown. “We probably won’t get out of the Civic Center until after 10. Then I’ve got a five-and-a-half hour ride or whatever it is. Then I have a 9 o’ clock race Tuesday morning. I have a race Wednesday morning. If we win Monday, we’ll have a game Thursday to play. It’s pretty crazy.”

Brown takes it all in stride and is ready for the challenge and is excited about the possibilities. He also recognized that it is a feat he hasn’t been able to do alone. He’s had tremendous support and cooperation from family, friends and coaches to allow him to pursue both dreams.

“All my teammates and coaches have been unbelievable, everything they’ve done for me,” said Brown. “Coach Kenny Jacques and Bill Acritelli, Coach Mags (Travis Magnusson) and assistant coaches Tyler Tracy and Bill White — everybody’s been great. Everybody’s worked around my schedule and really made my senior year something to remember. I really appreciate all my coaches and teammates have done for me.”


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