UMF’s Alex Bessey drives to the basket as NVU-Johnson’s Melissaann Clark (44) and Alexandra Barry (20) defend during a North Atlantic Conference women’s basketball quarterfinal at Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington in Feb. 2020. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

Alex Bessey has cut herself a 3-for-1 deal when she returns to the University of Maine at Farmington in the fall.

The Jay native and Spruce Mountain graduate will complete her required courses in early childhood education and play a third year of basketball and a second year of field hockey for the Beavers. 

Not a bad deal for an athlete who will take the court for her fifth collegiate year of basketball. She played hoops for two years at Central Maine Community College — winning a national championship her second season — before transferring to UMF her junior year.

“(UMF) is definitely different from CM, but a good different, I guess,” she said. “It helps with all my teammates being very accepting of me and welcoming me. I came in as a third-year (player). It was different, but it was easy coming in with the teammates I had.”

Bessey was recently recognized for her exploits on the basketball court and softball field when she was recently named to the CMCC All-Decade team at a banquet on Aug. 13.

“The past couple of years have been challenging for so many,” UMF interim athletic director Jamie Beaudoin, who recently left as the women’s basketball coach, said. “I believe for any athlete to be able to take advantage of this opportunity to return to college to compete in athletics is going to try to make it happen — if they can manage it financially. It is a great chance for Alex to do something she loves, for a little bit longer, and chase her dreams and aspirations. I look forward to seeing her continued success on the playing field and on the court.”

Bessey said getting back on the field and court was part of her decision to return to UMF.

“I needed another year of schooling, anyway, so playing sports was kind of the cherry on top,” Bessey said. “As far as I know, I am pretty sure all my classes are in-person. I actually have a practicum, too, so I am going to be in a school. I have an apartment this year so I am in Farmington.

“I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to play again. I think I am more excited just because last year was so like not normal. I am excited to hopefully have a more normalish year.”

Beaudoin said Bessey always turned in her best effort on the court.

“I will absolutely miss coaching Alex,” he said. “She always gives her best effort, competes and loves to play the game. She is a special player and a person. I will still be there supporting her and be one of her biggest fans. I also believe that children that are learning and watching the game pay attention to Alex and see her as a role model. 

“She is a competitor. She has great athletic ability and she has amazing instincts from being around the game and playing for so long. She has a next-play mentality, which is a difficult concept for anyone to embrace when in today’s world of athletics you are judged by your statistics.”  

Another incentive for getting back on the court one more time is many of her basketball teammates are returning, too.

“We only lost Kasey Talarico and Halee Ramsdell,” Bessey said.

Bessey said she will miss Beaudoin calling the shots from the bench.

“Jamie is an awesome guy and he probably knows the game of basketball better than most people,” Bessey said. “It will definitely be weird having a newcomer coach just for one year, but the coach coming will know what to expect.

“I think Jamie will still be a big part. What I enjoyed about Jamie was we were all close with him as a coach, but whenever you needed him, he was there outside of basketball. He always gave us so much information about anything we needed to know.”

Beaudoin said he enjoyed Bessey’s sense of humor and how she got down to business and encouraged and connected with her teammates in a quiet, unassuming manner.

“This is also evident when she works with children in a classroom setting,” he said. “Students are drawn to her and because of this she is going to make a great educator upon her graduation.”

Bessey’s most supportive admirers are, of course, her family.

“(I am) very excited to get to see her compete this year,” UMF baseball coach and father Chris Bessey said. “I really enjoy watching her play so getting another year is a blessing for sure.”


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