Two state titles and two different Westminster teams. It’s been a memorable three-year run for Mike Freace.
The soccer coach led the Lady Wildcats to the GISA Class AAA state title in 2012 and then coached the boys to their state championship this season. By helping the Westminster boys win their first state title since 2006, Freace is the Augusta Chronicle’s All-Area Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.
“They were extremely coachable, a really hard-working team, and they played extremely well together,” Freace said. “And we had talent. This team really came together.”
Freace used to coach both the girls and boys team, which stretched him thin when it came to devoting the time he wanted to give each squad. A couple of years ago, Freace’s late-season time was mostly with the girls during their run.
But Freace is now solely the boys coach, and he saw the team go 17-2-1 en route to the championship. Michael Montesclaros, Michael Almond, Joe Coleman, Caleb Herrin and Connor Hearon were all named All-State.
“If you have the good foundation of leaders and then the talent that’s younger underneath, a lot of times that’s a great combination to have,” Freace said. “The old guys set the tone and the young guys just kind of came along.”
In the state playoffs, the Wildcats beat Mount de Sales 4-1, Heritage 6-0 and then Stratford 2-0.
The run was a culmination of a program that stresses process, not necessarily wins.
Freace said by doing things the right way, whether that’s doing well in warm-ups, taking care of the locker room or getting good grades, that all translates to success elsewhere.
“We commit to doing the right things, day in and day out,” Freace said.
“The rest takes care of itself. We measure ourselves by what we do every single day in practice. You’ll get the ring and the memory, but moreso for our guys, the memory is the experience they had, not that last game.”