UMF women’s lacrosse coach Tom Sheridan instructs the team during a game against Thomas College on Wednesday in Waterville. Sheridan, who was hired to UMF in late February, is also the head coach of the Messalonskee high school boys lacrosse team. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Tom Sheridan is staying busy this spring.

The longtime Messalonskee boys lacrosse coach is pulling double duty these days as he also leads the University of Maine at Farmington women’s lacrosse team.

Sheridan — who has coached the Messsalonskee program since 1995 — is no stranger to dual roles. He previously coached the Thomas College men’s lacrosse from 2004-2010, and again from 2014-2016. He also ran the UMF men’s lacrosse program from 2013-2014.

Sheridan has also served as an assistant coach at the collegiate level for several years, most recently as a volunteer assistant for the Thomas men since 2019.

“As a coach, it’s a good challenge,” Sheridan said. “Last year, we had a great season (at Messalonskee). I think, just as a coach, you want to get challenged enough to learn (something new). I’m happy to have the opportunity to learn… It’s a good opportunity to try (head coaching the women’s) college game and learn from there.”

Sheridan has led the Eagles to four Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference titles and four conference title game appearances. Last season, the Eagles made it to the Class B semifinals before falling to Marshwood.


The schedule also works for Sheridan.

UMF ends its regular season April 24, while Messalonskee can begin play on April 15, leaving just a small overlap between seasons.

The Beavers are 1-7 this season, including 1-1 in the North Atlantic Conference. Ten of UMF’s 16 players are either freshmen or sophomores.

“With youth, and coming in February, some of the upperclassmen have had three coaches in four years,”  said Sheridan, whose team is fifth in the NAC. “We’re fortunate to keep Matt Reynolds on as an assistant… It’s been a transition for sure, and (the season) just seems to be speeding by. They work hard and look forward to the next challenge.”

With five games remaining in the regular season, the Beavers still have a chance to make the NAC playoffs. The Beavers head to New York over the weekend to play SUNY Poly (0-6, 0-2 NAC) and Cazenovia (3-4, 1-0 NAC).

“We know we’ve got a big, tough weekend coming up in New York,” Sheridan said. “Hopefully we’ll be ready for that.”


• • •

Change is a constant among high school coaches in the spring, and this season is no exception.

There are at least 17 new coaches leading varsity programs as the spring season starts to ramp up. In baseball, the new coaches are Colby Foster at Erskine, Rob Dippner at Mt. Blue, Beth LaFountain at Winslow and Jaime Feliberty at Forest Hills. In softball, new coaches include Carrie Larrabee at Erskine, Mackenzie Baker at Carrabec and Joe Viselli at Richmond.

New girls tennis coaches include Mark Briggs at Gardiner, Jon Hart at Waterville and Lauren McHatten at Winthrop, while Dania Price takes over the Winthrop boys team. New track and field coaches include Debra Aitken at Carrabec and Danny Moreshead as a co-coach at Madison.

Finally, in boys lacrosse, Jacob Linkletter takes over the Maranacook/Winthrop/Spruce Mountain team, while Alex Higgins will coach Lawrence. Kat Zachary takes over the Mt. Blue girls lacrosse team, while Cora Clukey will coach Winslow.

For Clukey, it’s her first year coaching the Black Raiders in varsity competition, but her second year in charge overall. Winslow wasn’t able to have a full varsity season last spring because of low COVID turnout, but the Black Raiders are ready now to play their first full season since 2019, when they went 12-1 and reached the Class C quarterfinals.


“We keep talking about how different it is in practice,” Clukey said. “Having nine girls last year, even for practice, you can’t even try to run a play. We have 16 or 17 girls this year, so we can at least run a 7-vs.-7, which is more realistic. … The girls are excited, I’m excited. Looking at our schedule, we have some winnable games. We’re going to try our hardest.”

New Richmond softball coach Joe Viselli hits a ball for one of the players on his team to field during practice Friday on the turf surface inside MTN Sports and Fitness in Richmond. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Clukey, whose daughter Sage is a captain on the team, said the year away from varsity play last season gave her a chance to more easily transition to coaching. She stepped in initially as an interim coach to make sure the players who did want to play last year had a team, but she was later hired as the head coach.

“It allowed me to get my feet wet,” she said. “We had a good time. There wasn’t a lot of pressure last year, just (to) keep them playing the sport that they loved. I love lacrosse. I never played, but coaching the youth through Central Maine Lacrosse, I grew to love the game.”


• • •


Class D South baseball will be more thin than in years past this season. Valley, Rangeley and Temple Academy aren’t fielding teams due to low numbers, leaving only six teams in the region.

St. Dominic, Searsport, Richmond, Greenville, Vinalhaven and Forest Hills are the only D South schools with teams this year.

The dropped teams will have an effect on the schedule. As of Friday, Forest Hills had only four games on its schedule: doubleheaders against Vinalhaven and Richmond on April 26 and May 7, respectively. Richmond will play Class C teams in Old Orchard Beach, Sacopee Valley and Waynflete/North Yarmouth Academy, but will also play four games against Vinalhaven with doubleheaders on May 21 and May 24.

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