In recent years, many people have preached specialization in Maine High School sports. Concentrate on one sport — the feeling goes — and you’ll have a better chance for a college scholarship.

Bethany Winkin never listened to any of that.

Winkin was a star field hockey player at Winslow High School, but she was also a standout in swimming and track and field. She’ll be playing Division I field hockey at Bryant University, and she’ll be representing the East in the McNally Senior All-Star Field Hockey Game Saturday at noon at Thomas College.

“That is, I think, a very good lesson for younger athletes,” said Winslow field hockey coach Mary Beth Bourgoin. “She didn’t specialize. Those sports all made her better. Field hockey made her a better swimmer and made her a better track athlete.”

“I earned all 12 letters, so once I got started on that I really wanted to go through with it,” Winkin said. “I was lucky to have coaches who were flexible enough to let me miss a couple practices or do them at different times so I could go to field hockey or vice versa.”

Winkin played offseason field hockey for the Majestix club team. She said one of the things that she’s most excited about with the all-star game is playing on the same team with former Majestix teammates like Skowhegan’s Mikayla Toth and Belfast’s Maddie Cummings and Savana Wood.

“If you ask her teammates, ‘what does a great teammate look like?’ they would say Bethany Winkin,” Bourgoin said. “I’ve had more than one parent say to me, ‘she is a very special teammate.'”

As a freshman, Winkin was Winslow’s “utility player,” filling in capably at multiple positions. She became a starting back as a sophomore, then anchored the defense as center back in her junior and senior seasons.

“She brought a great knowledge and understanding of where things have to go,” Bourgoin said.

Along with her obvious defensive abilities, Winkin was an important part of Winslow’s offense on penalty corners. She finished her senior season with four goals and six assists as Winslow reached the Eastern C final.

“She has a gorgeous hit,” Bourgoin said. “Sometimes in games she would whiff, or she would top it and it drove her crazy. So she was constantly working on her footwork. And her junior and senior year, it just exploded.”

Several factors led Winkin to choose field hockey in college. She preferred the idea of a sport where she and her teammates worked together. Her aunt, Sarah (Lynch) Impey, played at Messalonskee and Plymouth State. Winkin also liked the challenge of playing Division I.

“It was between Bentley and Bryant at the end,” Winkin said. “So it was between a D-I and a D-II school. After thinking about it, I really liked the commitment that a D-I school had to offer.

“I’m really excited to move on to something that I’m not necessarily used to. It’s out of my comfort zone. I’m a little bit nervous, but I am really excited to see what it brings.”

Bourgoin believes Winkin will ultimately succeed at Bryant.

“I think the step to Division I — for any player – it is a step,” Bourgoin said. “But (what’s) going to put her ahead of a lot of players who are going to Division I is work ethic. She has this drive in her that she is not going to fail, and she is going to do what she needs to do to succeed.”

Winkin says that work ethic comes from her family. While Maine lost a baseball legend when John Winkin died, Bethany lost her grandfather.

“I’ll definitely be thinking about my grandfather while playing this Saturday,” she said. “He’s been very influential throughout my athletic career and has always inspired me to work hard in everything I do.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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