Cheverus Stags Spring Athletes of the Year

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Male:

ISAAC YEBOAH, Senior-Track

* All-state, first-team
* Class A state champion, 110 hurdles
* Class A state champion, 300 hurdles
* Class A state champion, 400 relay
* Class A state champion, 1,600 relay
* All New-England, 300 hurdles
* Team MVP
* Team captain

Yeboah was a huge reason Cheverus finally returned to the top of the Class A heap this spring, as he was dazzling as an individual and helped lead his teammates to great things.

Yeboah was born nine minutes after his twin brother, Elijah, and hasn’t been anything but first since.

Yeboah grew up in Portland (his even older brother, Tony, was a Deering soccer standout, who went on to play in college) and took a liking to track at a young age.

“I liked it right away because I made a lot of friends,” Yeboah said.

Yeboah took part in track all four years at Cheverus, while also playing soccer. He had to overcome a meniscus injury as a junior (he still placed third in the 300 hurdles at the 2013 outdoor state meet) and after returning to full strength last summer, embarked on a superb senior year.

Indoors, Yeboah won the 55 hurdles and came in second in the 200. That set the stage for a memorable outdoor campaign.

At the Southwesterns meet, Yeboah won the 110 hurdles in 15.18 seconds and took the 300 hurdles as well, in 39.44.

Cheverus, which suffered several close calls in recent years, then entered the Class A state meet seeking its first title this century. There, Yeboah lowered his 110 hurdles time to 15.08, good for first place, and won the 300 hurdles in 39.52. Yeboah also helped the 400 and 1,600 relays to a first-place finish as the Stags won the championship.

“This year, we had as much fun as we could have,” Yeboah said. “Winning the championship was nice. I achieved what I wanted to. I was fourth going into the 110 hurdles final and wasn’t feeling well, but my Dad (well-known local soccer coach and referee, Duke Yeboah) told me I had to win it because it was my last shot. I knew the 300 hurdles would go well. Training with Elijah motivates me and gives me a competitive edge.”

Yeboah wrapped up his high school career with a third-place finish in the 300 hurdles at the New England championships.

Yeboah wound up setting four school records (100, 110 hurdles, 400 relay and 1,600 relay).

Yeboah, who also served as class vice president, is in the process of coaching younger kids in track and will take his show to the University of Maine in the fall, where he plans to study computer science and run indoor and outdoor track.

With his twin brother, of course.

While his triumphs will continue, it was this past season that will live on in lore. Isaac Yeboah, Cheverus’ Spring Male Athlete of the Year, wrote a triumphant and memorable final chapter for a program which is a champion again at last.

Coach Steve Virgilio’s comment: “Isaac was the leader of this team on the track and off. He led his school to its first state title in 16 years, a span of time which is longer than the lives of half of the athletes on this team. He led the team in scoring and was the only male athlete to win four titles, on top of a team title, at states. It was a great team effort, but a team effort that would not have been possible without him. His season was legendary. It really was. Isaac is cool, people look up to him and admire him and he couldn’t have done a better job of influencing others and taking advantage of the opportunities he was given. The kid has fun. The kid is just a talent.”

Previous winners:

2013 Thomas Lawson (lacrosse)
2012 Louie DiStasio (baseball)
2011 Nic Lops (baseball)
2010 Jack Terwilliger (track)
2009 Mick DiStasio (baseball)
2008 Topher Pochebit (lacrosse)
2007 Todd Keneborus (baseball)
2006 Michael Antoniou (lacrosse)
2005 Ben Michaud (track)
2004 Ben Michaud (track)

Female:

BRITTANY BELL, Senior-Softball

* SMAA Pitcher of the Year
* SMAA All-Star, first-team, pitcher
* SMAA All-Academic team
* Senior All-Star
* Captain

Bell was one of the region’s elite pitchers, wielded a potent bat and played an integral role in Cheverus’ best season to date.

Bell, who lives in Lewiston, started pitching in the fifth grade and played four years for the Stags. She shared time on the mound with Izzy Grasso as a freshman and sophomore, then took over in the circle as a junior. Bell was an Underclass All-Star in 2013, with a 3.89 earned run average.

This spring, after honing her skills with the New England Diamond Gems ASA team out of Bedford, N.H., Bell, thanks in large part to her work with catcher Margaret Rigney and with help from pitching coach Lesley Warn and catching coach Cynthia Wescott, dazzled.

Bell set the tone in the opener, a 12-2 win over Deering, when she struck out 18 batters in a two-hit performance. She also tripled twice. The next time out, Bell struck out 12 and homered in a victory over McAuley. Bell fanned 14 and had two hits to help beat Marshwood. In a second win over McAuley, Bell struck out a dozen. She had three hits and struck out 13 in a victory over Windham, fanned 10 in a win over Westbrook, drove in the winning run in a pivotal extra inning victory over South Portland, fanned 10 and had two hits versus Gorham, threw a two-hitter with 12 Ks against Bonny Eagle, struck out 15 and doubled twice in a marathon victory over Noble, doubled, singled and struck out 11 in a victory over Sanford and threw a one-hitter with 10 Ks while also homering in a regular season-ending win over Massabesic as the Stags posted a program-best 13-3 record.

Prior to this spring, Cheverus had never won a quarterfinal round playoff game, but Bell fanned 15 to help beat Marshwood to allow the Stags to do so. The fun ended with a semifinal round loss to eventual regional champion Thornton Academy.

Bell wound up 13-3 with a very impressive 1.86 ERA. She struck out 172 batters while only walking 11. At the plate, she hit .469, scoring nine runs, driving in 11 and producing 10 extra base hits (six doubles, two triples and two home runs).

“It was a really, really fun season,” Bell said. “It was the best way I could have ended softball. We were a family this year. We got each other. A lot of things clicked.”

Bell was also a part of Spanish Club, Model UN and the Pink Ribbon Club at Cheverus. She will attend Boston University next year, where she plans to study broadcast journalism with a minor in public relations or Spanish. She hopes to land a gig on ESPN or NESN or possibly work for Disney somewhere down the road.

Don’t bet against her. For this young lady, the sky is the limit. Brittany Bell, Cheverus’ Spring Female Athlete of the Year, has done it all, on and off the field and the fun is only beginning.

Coach Maureen Curran’s comment: “Like all of the top players in the SMAA, Brittany has dedicated herself to developing her game and maximizing her potential by playing year-round. She understands that to be the best, one has to play with and against the best. She came into the preseason with solid command of her pitches and even better understanding of herself as both a pitcher and a player. As a senior leader, Brittany was able to elevate the competitive nature of our entire team and of each individual player. Brittany is one of the most intelligent high school students I’ve had the pleasure to coach. She is an instinctive athlete who possesses ample ‘softball IQ,’ but is also discerning and analytical. One of my favorite moments with Brittany this season had nothing to do with softball, but was the day she learned she would graduate in the top 10 of her class.”

Previous winners:

2013 Alex Logan (lacrosse)
2012 Meredith Willard (lacrosse)
2011 Paige Lucas (lacrosse)
2010 Theresa Hendrix (softball)
2009 Theresa Hendrix (softball)
2008 Theresa Hendrix (softball)
2007 Dana Proscia (lacrosse)
2006 Dana Proscia (lacrosse)
2005 Meaghan Morris (track)
2004 Kate McLaughlin (track)

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

 

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.