Coach Sarah Estes (right) talks to Mariah Carlson during a 2015 field hockey game. Estes has stepped down after five seasons coaching the Witches. Credit: Ashley L. Conti

Sarah Estes, who in 2017 guided Brewer High School to its first field hockey playoff victory in more than 20 years, has stepped down after five seasons.

Estes, who also is the JV coach and varsity assistant for softball, said her decision was not easy but was one she needed to make.

“With my increasing job responsibilities at school, I feel like I’ve been really loading my plate up,” said Estes, who teaches seventh grade English at the Brewer Community School, and is on a committee that focuses on student behavior, school culture and school expectations.

She also plans to pursue a master’s degree in special education and guidance counseling. Estes became engaged to Adam Clark in December.

“With all the things going on in my life outside of field hockey that take up my attention, it isn’t fair to the kids to not be able to put 110 percent into the program,” Estes said.

She explained that being the head coach requires coaching in summer clinics and leagues, in addition to Sunday work with youth field hockey programs.

Estes has instead applied to be the middle school field hockey coach at Brewer Community School after Amy (Fowler) Curran stepped down.

A young Brewer High team went 5-9 last fall and finished 12th in Class B North, missing the playoffs.

In 2017, the Witches went 6-9-1 and earned the 10th seed in the playoffs before upsetting No. 7 Old Town 1-0 in the first round.

Brewer made the playoffs three times in her five seasons, once in Class A and twice in Class B.

Estes previously spent two seasons as the head coach at Old Town High School, and guided the Coyotes to a 23-7-2 record and a berth in the Class B North final in 2013.

Old Town had gone 7-23-3 in the three seasons prior to her arrival.

“Sarah did a great job getting kids interested in field hockey not only at the high school level, but also in the middle school,” Brewer athletic director David Utterback said. “She really did a good job creating a culture in which kids felt valued and could be competitive playing a sport they really enjoyed.”

Utterback said Estes did an exceptional job building the feeder system through youth programs and summer programs for high school-aged kids.

Estes, a former field hockey and softball player at Thomas College in Waterville, has assisted her father, Skip, with the Brewer softball team since 2011. He, in turn, has helped her with field hockey.

Estes said the new coach will inherit a good team with a dedicated group of girls. If she becomes the Brewer Community School coach, she said she will enjoy grooming girls to play at the high school. She will also remain involved at the youth level.

Brewer will return to Class A in field hockey next fall, and Estes said that will require much more extensive travel.