Greely standouts make college commitments
CUMBERLAND—Three present and former Greely male athletes are going to have a chance to compete in college next year and they took centerstage at a formal National Letter of Intent signing ceremony Wednesday afternoon in the school's gymnasium.
Recent graduate Jonah Normandeau, who's spending this school year at Bridgton Academy, committed to playing baseball at the University of Maine.
Senior Michael McDevitt will take his basketball talents to Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire.
Classmate Matt Crowley committed to attending and playing soccer at Southern New Hampshire University.
"Anytime you have a chance to play in a competitive college program, that's something special," said Greely athletic director David Shapiro, in a short introduction before the signing. "There's less than one percent of the student-athletes in the whole country get to play in Division I or Division II. To have this many is really remarkable. It speaks to hard work. It's really nice to get a chance to recognize them."
Normandeau, a Greely ace over multiple seasons, had a record of 11-1 with an 0.82 earned run average during his varsity career.
"It's exciting to get it all out of the way," Normandeau said. "I wanted to play in college since I was little. Mid sophomore year, I realized I had a chance. The school felt right for me. I like the coaches and the campus."
"He'll be very effective because he'll get stronger physically," Greely coach Derek Soule said. "(With us) he peaked at 91 (miles per hour). He's got natural movement on his fastball. Movement is more important than velocity and he throws hard with movement."
McDevitt comes by his basketball acumen naturally. His father, Mike, is the longtime women's coach at St. Joseph's College.
Michael McDevitt has been a contributor to the Rangers throughout his high school career and was a Western Maine Conference second-team all-star last winter after averaging 14.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. McDevitt said that he was looking at several schools, but ultimately that Franklin Pierce was the best fit.
"It came down to the school I felt I'd get the best education at and the best basketball chance," McDevitt said. "Franklin Pierce is a great program. They have a ton of guards. They lose their big men this year. They said I could probably come and help the team right away. They have the academic program I'm looking for. I want to go into health sciences, then after that, probably physical therapy. I always hoped to play at the next level."
Greely coach Travis Seaver, who played at St. Joe's, believes McDevitt has the necessary ingredients to succeed at the next level.
"It's a testament to the hard work he's done and his dedication," Seaver said. "He's always been one of the better kids in the program. He's continued to grow. Basketball's his sport. He's a very fundamental big body. You can't teach height, but you can teach fundamentals and I think he's got that down."
Before graduating, McDevitt hopes to lead Greely to its first championship this century.
"I want to get through the season playing our best basketball," McDevitt said. "Once we get to the playoffs, anything can happen. The ultimate goal is always a Gold Ball. That's the dream."
"It's great we have him one more year," Seaver said. "I'm excited. It will be an exciting year for us I hope."
Crowley is just days removed from leading Greely's boys' soccer team to a somewhat surprising state championship, a crown that would have never been possible were it not for a highlight reel goal from Crowley in a regional final upset win over Yarmouth. Like his classmates, Crowley had several options, before settling on SNHU.
"I had hoped to play Division I, but as time went on, I thought about it and decided on D2," said Crowley, who plans to study either business or sports management. "SNHU has a really good team. I think I'll play midfield or outside back."
Crowley was named an all-conference and all-region all-star this fall.
Greely coach Mike Andreasen expects Crowley to do well at the next level, since he always elevates his game in key situations.
"He put the team on his shoulders, so to speak, come playoff time," Andreasen said. "He plays each game as if it could be his last. He doesn't put up big scoring numbers, but still, his presence is felt. You don't appreciate what a player like that does for you until you have to play without him."