NIC LOPS, Senior — Baseball
* SMAA Cumberland County division all-star, first team
* SMAA Cumberland County All-Defensive team
* SMAA All-Academic team
* Fred Harlow Award winner
* Maine Senior All-Star
The 2011 baseball season was magical for the Cheverus Stags and for their catcher, Nic Lops. Lops was an intimidating figure at the plate and behind it as his bat, glove and arm led the Stags to their first state championship.
For his leadership ability and myriad skills on the diamond, Nic Lops is The Forecaster’s selection for Cheverus’ Spring 2011 Male Athlete of the Year.
Lops had a passion for baseball from a young age and spent three years with the Cheverus varsity. After serving as a designated hitter as a sophomore, he moved behind the plate as a junior and arguably had no peer at his position this spring.
Highlights from 2011 included two hits and two RBIs in a season-opening win over Scarborough, three hits (including a triple) against Gorham, three hits and five RBIs versus Noble, two hits (including a triple) and two runs against Sanford, two RBIs against Marshwood, three hits and two RBIs against Portland, three hits (including a triple), two runs and an RBI versus Bonny Eagle, three hits (including a home run) and five RBIs against Deering and two hits against Westbrook in the finale.
During the regular season, Lops hit .452 (good for fifth in the league), slugged. 726 (fifth in the league) tied for the team and league lead in hits with 28 and led the Stags with 21 RBIs (second in the league). He scored 17 times, had six doubles, four triples (second in the league), a homer, led the league in total bases with 45 and only struck out twice. He also played flawlessly in the field.
Lops remained solid in the postseason, doubling, singling twice, driving in two and scoring the go-ahead run in a quarterfinal round victory over Thornton Academy, singling and driving in two against South Portland in the semifinals, singling and doubling in a regional final win over Westbrook and helping guide a pitching staff that surrendered just five runs in four games as the Stags went on to the title.
“We wanted it from Day 1,” said Lops, who also played four years of varsity hockey. “We knew we had the ability. We knew if we did the little things, we’d get results.”
Lops earned several postseason honors, including the SMAA’s Fred Harlow award, given for all-around dedication and attitude.
Lops, who’s playing American Legion ball this summer, took part on a College Prospect team in the fall and trains in the winter, was very involved in school activities outside of sports. He was a member of National Honor Society, Key Club and was a Kairos leader for a spiritual retreat.
He also plays the guitar and will attend a baseball power, St. Joseph’s College, where he plans to play ball and major in English, while minoring in secondary education. He hopes to one day return to Cheverus to teach and coach.
Suffice it to say, the school will welcome him back with open arms. Nic Lops, Cheverus’ Spring 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, enjoyed an ideal final chapter to his high school career.
Coach Mac McKew’s comment: “If I had to pick one player as an MVP from our team, it would be Nic. He’s been an outstanding offensive catcher and a solid defensive catcher which is a must for a championship team. He continually drove in clutch runs this year. It added up to a fantastic season statistically, however, his value as a leader is what put us over the top. He’s made himself successful for one reason. Hard work. He did the extra work and it all paid off for him and the entire team.”
2010 winner: Jack Terwilliger (track)
2009 winner: Mick DiStasio (baseball)
2008 winner: Topher Pochebit (lacrosse)
2007 winner: Todd Keneborus (baseball)
2006 winner: Michael Antoniou (lacrosse)
2005 winner: Ben Michaud (track)
2004 winner: Ben Michaud (track)
PAIGE LUCAS, Senior — Lacrosse
* U.S. Lacrosse Academic All-American
* SMAA first-team, defense
* SMAA All-Academic team
* Team captain
Entering the final week of the regular season, Paige Lucas had to think her high school lacrosse career was about to come to an end.
With Cheverus mired at 1-9 and nowhere near a playoff berth, Lucas and her young but talented teammates hoped to make the most of their final week. That they did, capping it by upsetting highly touted Gorham and as a result, the Stags improbably found their way into the playoffs.
There, Cheverus upset Messalonskee and Cony and made it all the way to the Eastern A Final before the fairy tale run was ended by Brunswick.
Lucas’ leadership, willingness to play anywhere to help the team and ability to step up against top competition helped lead to a magical run.
As a result, The Forecaster is naming Paige Lucas as Cheverus’ Spring 2011 Female Athlete of the Year.
Lucas started playing lacrosse when she came to Cheverus as a freshman. She’s also played basketball and hockey, but made her biggest mark in the spring.
She started out as a defender, but moved to midfield this year and even filled in as a goalie against Thornton Academy (making five saves). While it took awhile for the Stags’ young corps to hit its stride, Cheverus took its lumps. The Stags upset Windham, then, with Lucas keeping a close eye on standout Mia Rapolla, they did the same to Gorham and just like that, Cheverus was a playoff team.
“We peaked at the perfect time,” Lucas said. “Then, we kept what we had against Gorham through the playoffs.”
In the semifinals, Lucas scored three times in the win at Cony (she also had a pair in a regular season game versus Marshwood).
She finished with nine goals and two assists. She grabbed 58 ground balls, won 11 draws, caused 34 turnovers, made nine interceptions and was selected as a first-team league all-star, while also qualifying for the league and All-American Academic teams.
Lucas was also a member of a state championship winning jazz chorus a capella group and plays the piano. She’ll attend Tufts University, where she plans to pursue biology and/or music and may try out for the lacrosse team.
She certainly helped write a dramatic final chapter in high school. Paige Lucas, Cheverus’ Spring 2011 Female Athlete of the Year, was justly rewarded for her tireless efforts.
Coach Jamie Chamberlain’s comment: “Paige gives a full effort in whatever she does, whether it’s in the classroom, singing in the choir or out on the athletic field. She always brings a positive attitude to any endeavor, whether it’s something she’s very good at, like playing defense for our team, especially marking out other teams’ top threats, or trying something outside her comfort zone, like playing in the midfield or attack zone or stepping into goal this season in an emergency. She is able to balance her intensity with the highest level of sportsmanship. Her athleticism and enthusiasm will be missed by not only everyone on our team, but also by the Cheverus community as a whole.”
2010 winner: Theresa Hendrix (softball)
2009 winner: Theresa Hendrix (softball)
2008 winner: Theresa Hendrix (softball)
2007 winner: Dana Proscia (lacrosse)
2006 winner: Dana Proscia (lacrosse)
2005 winner: Meaghan Morris (track)
2004 winner: Kate McLaughlin (track)