Cheverus Stags Spring Athletes of the Year

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Jared Brooks

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Emma Gallant

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Male:

JARED BROOKS, Senior-Baseball

* John Winkin Award (Mr. Maine Baseball) finalist

* SMAA Most Valuable Player

* SMAA all-star, first-team pitcher

* SMAA all-star, second-team first baseman

* SMAA All-Academic team

* Senior All-Star

* USA Today Maine all-star 

Much of Brooks’ high school baseball career was marked by frustration, but it culminated in dominance and triumph and the best is yet to come.

Brooks grew up in Scarborough with baseball his top sport. He played on the Cheverus junior varsity as a freshman, but was called up to varsity late in the season and would soon become a standout, even though arm injuries limited him to hitting and playing first base.

He did those things quite well, leading the Stags in RBI and playing error-less ball as both a sophomore and a junior.

Prior to his senior season, Brooks committed to attend and play baseball at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.

With his powerful left arm ready to go, Brooks embarked on a brilliant 2017 campaign which featured several masterful performances. Brooks went 5-2 with a 1.14 earned run average. He held opponents to a .153 batting average.

He struck out 12 and took a shutout into the final inning in his first outing, a win over Gorham. Brooks threw a three-hitter and fanned 10 in a win over Thornton Academy, allowed just one hit and struck out 11 in a shutout victory at South Portland, then bounced back from his lone loss (to Portland) with another one-hitter, this one at Biddeford, a game which Brooks fanned 14. 

“I was a little shaky at the beginning of the year, but then I got my body back,” Brooks said. 

As formidable as Brooks was on the mound, he was superb with the bat as well, hitting .386, slugging .614 and boasting an on-base percentage of .514. Brooks had 14 RBI and scored 12 times. He homered in a dramatic come-from-behind win over Westbrook, homered in a victory over Marshwood, hit a home run at Biddeford and capped the regular season in style by driving in the winning run against hometown Scarborough in extra innings. 

Brooks’ final win came in the quarterfinals, when he threw yet another one-hitter, this one to beat Deering. Brooks took the loss in the regional final against Falmouth, but it’s hard to call his season anything but an unqualified success and the rest of the league agreed, naming him MVP.

“I knew I was capable of doing well at this level,” Brooks said. “I wanted to have a great comeback year. I’m very happy with our season. We put it together all year.”

Brooks, who also played football at Cheverus and belonged to the Student Life Committee, plans to study finance at Stonehill. He’s prepping for the next level by playing with the Maine Lightning AAU team this summer.

Jared Brooks, Cheverus’ Spring Male Athlete of the Year, proved that good things happen to good people when they persevere. He certainly bowed out in fine style.

Coach Mac McKew’s comment: “Jared went out there and was dominant. He overpowered most of the teams he faced this year. He got a lot of swings and misses. He mentally worked through (his injuries) and this year, it all came to fruition. He was more than just a great baseball player. He also proved himself in the classroom and as a person. He was a great leader. He was an exceptional player for us for four years.”

Previous winners:

2016 Frank Curran (lacrosse)

2015 Jake Dixon (track)

2014 Isaac Yeobah (track)

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:

EMMA GALLANT, Freshman-Track

* Maine Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year

* New England champion, 200

* Class A state champion, 100

* Class A state champion, 200

* MTCCCA All-state, first-team

* SMAA Outdoor Track Female Athlete of the Year

* SMAA all-star, first-team, 100

* SMAA all-star, first-team, 200

* SMAA all-star, first-team, 400

* SMAA all-star, first-team, 4×100 relay

* SMAA all-star, first-team, 4×400 relay

Gallant was a freshman in name only, as her brilliance on the track resembled that of a more veteran athlete, as she was triumphant, record-setting and ultimately led Cheverus to the program’s first state title.

Gallant, who lives in Windham, started running at a young age and quickly fell in love with track, as well as soccer, another sport she excelled at as a freshman.

“Track has become a big part of my life,” Gallant said. “I like the whole community feel. It’s competitive, but it’s friendly. I’m friendly until I get in the blocks.”

Gallant made an immediate name for herself in track when she won Class A titles in the 200 and 400 and came in third in the 55 in the indoor state meet.

As impressive as that debut was, she’d steal even more headlines when the action moved outdoors this spring. Gallant opened with an easy victory in the 200 in the first meet at Windham and never looked back. Gallant was unbeatable in the 100, 200 and 400 and even threw the javelin during the regular season. 

She turned it up a notch in the postseason, winning the 400 at the league championship meet, then playing a huge role in the Stags’ state championship by setting a new record in winning the 200 in 25.33 seconds and also taking the 100 in 12.6 seconds. She also took part on a champion 4×400 relay team and a runner-up 4×100 relay squad. Gallant then delivered an unexpected punctuation mark, winning the 200 at New Englands with a new record time of 24.81.

“I was very happy overall with my season,” said Gallant. “I was so excited when we won states. I never expected to win at New Englands.”

Gallant also won her heat in the freshman 400 at Nationals (a personal best time of 57.03 seconds). 

Gallant has volunteered with the Girl Scouts and boasts a 3.96 grade point average. She plans to remain a track standout while taking soccer seriously as well. Rest assured that we’ll see her competing at one sport, or perhaps even both, at the next level.

She has a lot of thrills to make, races to win and perhaps even more records to set on the high school track first. Emma Gallant, Cheverus’ Spring Female Athlete of the Year, has set the bar impossibly high, but she has everything it takes to continue to turn heads.

Coach Steve Virgilio’s comment: “There’s no doubt Emma’s role was integral to the state title. Emma had an individual hand in 38 of the team’s 74 points. She faced challenges, but she won every individual race she entered. That’s amazing. When the stakes are high, everything is on the line and her teammates need a boost, Emma delivers. That inspires everyone. Me included. Emma is not afraid to fail, but she is able to bounce back in a positive way and continue to go to the next level. Emma is smart and talented. She has a tremendous will and competitive spirit. She’s strong, she’s fast and she’s competitive. She’s incredibly precocious. She does things every time she steps on the track that most athletes will never do.”

Previous winners:

2016 Emily Turner (track)

2015 Abby Biegel (lacrosse)

2014 Brittany Bell (softball)

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 atmhoffer@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.