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Cheverus Stags Spring 2012 Athletes of the Year

Spring Athletes of the Year

Cheverus Stags Spring 2012 Athletes of the Year

(Ed. Note: This story will appear in our July 11 Portland print edition)

2012 Spring Male Athlete of the Year:

LOUIE DISTASIO, Senior-Baseball

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CITATIONS

* Team MVP

* SMAA first-team all-star, pitcher

* SMAA first-team all-star, shortstop

* All-Defensive team

* Captain

When you're named Louis Gehrig DiStasio, you're doomed to be a Yankees' fan in the heart of Red Sox Nation, but stardom on the diamond certainly comes as no surprise. For DiStasio, there's been plenty of it, especially this spring, as he capped his senior year and superb high school career with a season to remember.

DiStasio, who also served a standout placekicker and wide receiver for Cheverus' two-time football state champions and a sharpshooter for one of the state's premier basketball programs, grew up in Yarmouth and made a name for himself in baseball at a young age, playing a key role on a three-time Little League state champion.

DiStasio came to Cheverus as a freshman and like his older brother, Mick, our 2009 Spring Male Athlete of the Year, consistently dazzled on the big stage.

This spring, DiStasio, who pitched and played shortstop, was driven by his will to win and had no shortage of impressive performances. In the opener, an 11-3 win over Bonny Eagle, he had three hits, scored twice, stole a base and went the distance on the mound. DiStasio scored three runs in a win over Noble, threw a one-hit gem, had three hits and scored both runs in a 2-1 victory over Thornton Academy, had two hits, scored twice, stole two bases and drove in a run against South Portland, rapped out three hits versus Portland, had four hits, including two doubles, three steals and threw a five-hitter with a season-high 11 strikeouts to beat Deering, had three hits, including a triple, scored twice and had an RBI versus Sanford and threw a one-hit gem, with 10 Ks, in a win over Windham in the regular season finale.

DiStasio had very impressive regular season numbers. On offense, he batted a team-leading .404, scored 16 times and stole 15 bases in 17 tries. On the hill, he went 4-2, not allowing an earned run in either defeat. He had an ERA of 0.85, struck out 44 batters in 41 innings and limited the opposition to a .217 batting average.

He was just as good in the playoffs. In the quarterfinals, DiStasio shut out Westbrook on two hits with 10 strikeouts. He also scored once, drove in a run and rapped out two hits. He singled, tripled, scored twice and drove in a run in a semifinal round win over Bonny Eagle. The Stags' championship reign ended with a painful loss to Scarborough in the regional final, as DiStasio gave up a walkoff home run to Joe Cronin to end one of the most epic games in state postseason history, but that won't be our lingering memory of DiStasio. His consistent excellence is what will linger.

In his high school career, DiStasio won four state championships, two in football and one each in baseball and basketball.

DiStasio also played soccer for two years in high school. He's playing with the Cheverus American Legion baseball team this summer. He did community service, volunteered, was part of the school's Key Club and enjoys fishing. He will attend and play baseball at the University of Rhode Island next school year. DiStasio plans to play wherever he's needed and could make an impact as a freshman.

It's safe to that this transcendent athlete won't soon be forgotten.

Coach Mac McKew's comment: “It's no coincidence that we have had one of the more successful runs in Cheverus' baseball history while Louie was here. Since the day he started at shortstop as a freshman, Lou has made major contributions to the program. The numbers speak for themselves. The scholarship to URI speaks for itself. What many outside of the program didn't see was Louie's evolution as a not only a baseball player, but as a person. He became a true leader and took his captain's role very seriously. We fell short this year in terms of a state championship, however, there was zero shame in terms of the effort that all the players put in and Lou was at the top of that list. He will be greatly missed not only on the field, but in the halls of Cheverus High School. It's been a great run with Louie and the rest of the seniors.”

2011 winner: Nic Lops (baseball)

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)

2012 Spring Female Athlete of the Year:

MEREDITH WILLARD, Sophomore-Lacrosse

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CITATIONS

* SMAA All-Star, first-team

The Cheverus girls' lacrosse team has enjoyed stirring playoff runs each of the past two seasons.

What made this year so impressive was that it was done largely on the back of underclassmen. The most prolific of that group was sophomore Meredith Willard, who scored goals with abandon.

Willard, a South Portland resident, started playing lacrosse in the fourth grade and soon emerged as a special talent. She was part of a Cheverus team which made a storybook run from a 1-9 record to the regional final in 2011 and played a huge role in this year's success.

Willard had five first half goals and six total in a win over McAuley, scored four times each in wins over North Yarmouth Academy and Portland and had four more in a near-upset of three-time Class A champion Scarborough. Then, the afternoon of May 17 cemented Willard's legend. Against perennial power Kennebunk, after being held scoreless for nearly 13 minutes to start the game, Willard tickled the twine seven times in the first half and added three more in the second half for an almost unheard of 10 tallies in a 16-15 defeat. Willard had four more goals in a win over Thornton Academy.

In the playoffs, Willard scored five times and had an assist versus Lewiston in the quarterfinals, scored three goals, including the eventual winner, in a semifinal round triumph over Messalonskee, then had two goals and two assists in a regional final loss to Brunswick.

Willard finished with 57 goals and was simply one of the premier scorers in the whole state.

And she's only going to get better.

Willard also plays soccer and basketball at Cheverus. She's a member of the school's Key Club, volunteers and is playing on a Maine elite lacrosse team this summer. She wants to play in college.

First, she has two more high school seasons to continue to shine. Her show has to be seen to be believed.

Coach Jamie Chamberlain's comment: "Meredith is very skilled. She's a very hard worker in practice. Very coachable. She does whatever she can to help the team. She's not satisfied with the level she's at. She always wants to get better. Her shooting percentage was around 60 percent all year. The ones she missed, she didn't miss by much. She made the national tournament team and scored a couple goals there. She always seemed to come up big when we needed her.”

2011 winner: Paige Lucas (lacrosse)

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)

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