Any given practice, Nick Scott tied up his running shoes and joined the combined Boothbay-Wiscasset cross country team as they trained around Boothbay Harbor. This October, the team coach was named the Mountain Valley Conference (MVC) 2023 girls cross country coach of the year. He was recognized at the MVC championships, where the Seawolves girls won and the boys took second. Like his joining in practice, Scott wants his team to join in his victories.
“I feel very, very fortunate that I get to wake up every day and be a teacher and be a coach because, to me, that's the best profession in the world, and I really love what I get to do ...,” he said. “I also feel really good about how that represents our team and our community in that the athletics are super well-supported at our school …"
Scott said he has won MVC boys coach of the year and girls coach of the year several times. Scott said the award is voted on by his coaching peers, and often goes to the coach of that year’s champion team. According to Boothbay Region High School Athletic Director Allan Crocker, that often is Scott.
Crocker said Scott took over the cross-country program around 2006 and, since 2008, “they've had a stretch of dominance that I don't think any sport in our history has had … I don't think any sport that we've offered since the mid-50s has had the same level of success.”
According to Crocker and Scott, the BRHS cross country teams have won around 10 conference championships, two state championships, several regional championships and been regional runners up several times.
Crocker said Scott has truly built a program at BRHS. He said the coach supports the students as whole athletes and gets them to buy into it without being a drill sergeant.
“Some cross-country coaches get the job and they just say, ‘Go run and your job is to run faster.’ I mean, that's not Nick,” Crocker said. “He has a plan that builds from day one all the way up through the postseason. And the kids that buy into his process, and most of his kids do, ... they run faster and further than they ever thought they could.”
Scott, a social studies teacher at BRHS, said he teaches his athletes that training is both a physical and mental process. He said cross country is particularly challenging because there is a lot of delayed gratification: Sometimes they might be working hard and run a little slower, but he wants them to trust that the plan will afford the opportunity for their best performances when it matters most.
While it is his training plan, Scott said the success is not his alone. Scott also gave credit to Wiscasset co-coach Josiah Winchenbach, and said the combined team would not be possible without him. Scott said Winchenbach is knowledgeable about injuries and other medical issues, operates the support van when he runs with the students and manages other responsibilities such as timing the runners.
“All of these elements that are so critical to the everyday functioning and well-being of a team, he's able to carry out,” Scott said. “Plus, he's just a super awesome guy. Kids love him,” he has a great rapport with them and is very motivational, Scott continued. “And so, I think the two of us are really able to seamlessly coach the team together and have different kinds of skill sets and strengths that really just are a huge advantage to the program overall.”
Scott also recognized his athletes, and said he is proud of the caliber of students he has had the privilege to work with. He said he has coached faster individuals, but this year’s team is arguably the strongest overall group of girls in his 18 years of coaching.
“This year, in particular, this was a really, really talented group of young ladies,” he said. “Because the coaching accolade basically comes along with the team's success, in many ways, me winning this coaching accolade is a reflection of just how talented and essentially awesome a group of girls this was.”