Augusta native and Cony High School graduate Amy Vachon earned a promotion with the University of Maine women’s basketball coaching staff. Vachon, a former Black Bear player, is the team’s new associate head coach.

“This is a great honor,” said Vachon, who was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday. “It’s nice to know that, in any position, your hard work is acknowledged and appreciated.”

Maine head coach Richard Barron announced the move in a release on Monday. The associate head coach job opened when Todd Steelman left Maine last week to become head coach at Presbyterian University in Clinton, South Carolina.

“Amy has been instrumental in our resurgence with the women’s basketball team and has proven an invaluable asset to me, to our players and to our department,” Barron said. “Amy will continue to coordinate our recruiting efforts and assist in all areas.”

A two-time captain as a player for the Black Bears, Vachon helped lead Maine to four straight trips to the NCAA tournament. The 2016-17 season will be Vachon’s sixth on Barron’s staff.

“I am proud of what we have accomplished in the last five years and look forward to continuing the excellence of University of Maine women’s basketball with America East Championships and trips to the NCAA tournament. The University of Maine has always been a special place to me and I am honored to be able to continue to be a part of Black Bear Nation,” Vachon said.

The Black Bears went 26-9 last season, losing a close game to Albany in the conference championship, before advancing to the NIT.

Vachon will retain her duties as recruiting coordinator for the Black Bears, as well as focusing on developing UMaine’s guards. She holds the school record for most assists in a season (234) and school and America East records for most assists in a career (759).

Vachon, who won a Class A state championship at McAuley in 2011 (her only year as a high school head coach), said she’ll do whatever is necessary to help the staff.

“We have a great team and we all do our part,” she said. “Whatever is needed, we step up and do it. If there’s more I need to do, I’ll step up and do it.”

Her promotion, she said, won’t change how she approaches her job.

“The title is not going to change my work ethic or what I want to do or what I can do,” she said. “I love what I do, I love the kids, I love the people I work with.”

UMaine also promoted Edniesha Curry, who will become Maine’s second assistant, with a focus on individual player development.

• • •

The Thomas College men’s tennis team finished its season Saturday with a loss to Castleton in the North Atlantic Conference East Division semifinals, but with team and individual accomplishments it was a good season for the Terriers.

Thomas went 8-8, 8-2 against NAC competition. This was the fourth consecutive season in which the Terriers finished as one of the top two teams in the conference regular season standings, or finished second in the NAC playoffs, head coach Jeff Fowler said.

Waterville native Zach Disch and Tyler Small, of Surry, were named all-NAC first team, each as singles players and as a doubles team. Playing at No. 1 singles, Small went 8-2 in conference play. Disch, the Terriers’ No. 2 singles player, also was 8-2 in NAC competition. As doubles teammates, Small and Disch were 8-2. Small also was named to the NAC all-tournament team.

Joseph Greco, of Greene, earned second-team all-NAC honors for the Terriers.

The Terriers lose four seniors to graduation: Small, Greco, Caleb Mora and Sam Cook. With Disch and others returning, Thomas should remain one of the stronger teams in the conference.

• • •

Although the North Atlantic Conference baseball tournament will be played in Vermont, it will have a decidedly Maine look. Joining top seed Castleton in the four-team tourney are No. 2 Husson, No. 3 University of Maine at Farmington and No. 4 Thomas.

The double elimination tournament begins Friday morning, when Thomas (19-18, 13-11 NAC) faces Castleton (29-10, 21-3) at 9:30 a.m. Husson (20-19, 15-9) and UMF (23-14, 15-9) square off at 12:30 p.m. The losers will meet in an elimination game at 3:30. The tournament champ receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.

UMF is seeking its first NAC title and first conference title in any league since 1977, when the Beavers won the Northeast College Conference. The Beavers’ 23 wins this season is a team record.

• • •

The NAC softball tournament also will be held at Castleton, beginning Friday. Castleton (17-11, 10-2 NAC), the top seed, will face No. 4 Husson (14-23, 7-5) at 10 a.m. Friday in the first game of the double elimination tournament. No. 2 Thomas (16-17, 9-3) plays No. 3 New England College (21-19, 8-4) at noon. The losers of the first two games will play an elimination game at 2 p.m., with the two winners playing at 4.

The championship game is set for Sunday at 1 p.m., with the winner advancing to the NCAA Division III tournament.

• • •

The University of Southern Maine men’s lacrosse team will play at Plymouth State Tuesday afternoon in the Little East Conference quarterfinals. Central Maine players have been key to the Huskies’ scoring attack all season.

Messalonskee graduate Nate DelGiudice leads USM in scoring with 39 goals and 15 assists for 54 points. A pair of Gardiner natives, Seth Wing and Keegan Smith, are second and third on the team in scoring. Wing has 26 goals and 14 assists for 40 points, while Smith has 11 goals and 25 assists for 36 points.

USM is 8-6, 3-4 in Little East play. The Huskies beat Plymouth State, 11-6, in the regular season on April 27. In that game, DelGiudice and Wing each scored two goals, while Smith had a pair of assists.

Sophomore goalie Zach Bessette, a Maranacook grad, has also played well, going 5-4 in 12 games played. He has a 9.89 goals against average.

• • •

A pair of Waterville Senior High School graduates are having good seasons throwing for their respective track and field teams.

Nick Margitza, a senior at captain at Bates, won New England Small College Athletic Conference titles in the hammer throw (178 feet, 11 inches) and shot put (51-2 1/4) at the conference championship meet in Amherst, Massachusetts over the weekend. Margitza’s winning shot put throw was more than three feet better than runner-up Lloyd Campbell of Williams. His next meet is the New England Division III championships this weekend at Springfield, Massachusetts.

Rachael Bergeron, a sophomore at Maine, recently set a personal record in the hammer throw, with a throw of 175-01. Bergeron’s hammer throw is the fourth-best in Black Bear school history, and put Bergeron in company with a few of her talented teammates. The top two hammer throws in school history also came this season. Robyn McFetters set the school record of 200-5 earlier this season. The No. 2 throw belongs to Emily Boardman, at 175-04, and also was this season. There’s a good chance Bergeron will join her teammates in the top three this season. Her current best is just one inch short of third, 175-02, set by Rebecca Evan in 2009.

Bergeron will compete in the America East championship meet on Saturday at the University of Vermont.

Portland Press Herald staff writer Mike Lowe contributed to this report.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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