Spring Athletes of the Year: Greely Rangers
2009 Spring Male Athlete of the Year:
SAM STAUBER, Senior-Baseball
* WMC All-Conference first team, utility
Sam Stauber was impressive this year for a lot of reasons. He led the Greely baseball team to its second Class B state championship in three seasons, set a program record with 10 victories and 66 innings pitched, came up huge time after time in big games and even got the job done with the bat.
All of those feats paled in comparison, however, to Stauber's courage and resiliency.
At the beginning of his junior year, on a fluke play, Stauber was hit in the head with a ball, spent a week in the hospital, lost his equilibrium and never regained the hearing in his right ear.
Regardless, he bounced back, conquered any fear he might have faced and had the final say in an inspirational story.
That story and this season's accomplishments convinced The Forecaster to name Sam Stauber Greely's 2009 Spring Male Athlete of the Year.
Stauber grew up in Cumberland and simply loves baseball. He played a year of hockey and another of golf, but the diamond is his favorite place. He excelled there this spring.
Stauber went 10-2 on the hill in 2009, tying the program record for starts (10) and appearances (12), striking out 73 batters (walking just 22) in his 66 innings. He finished with an earned run average of 2.23.
Stauber also pitched in three of Greely's four playoff games. He allowed just five hits and a run in a 6-1 quarterfinal round victory over York, gutted out a 15-8 win over Lincoln Academy in the regional final, despite having far from his best stuff, then saved his best for last against Gardiner in the state championship game, no-hitting the Tigers for 6.2 innings in a 2-0 victory. In that one, Stauber walked one and fanned 10, including the final batter of the game.
Offensively, Stauber (who played shortstop when he wasn't pitching) hit .333, scored 20 runs, had eight doubles, a home run and drove in 10 runs. He was also successful on 10 of 11 steal attempts.
Stauber, who said he felt he returned to 100 percent this season, embraced the big moment. He hopes to stare down many more challenges at the next level. Stauber plans to attend Bridgton Academy and pitch during a personal growth year next year, then wants to play college ball somewhere in New England.
Is there any doubt he'll achieve that goal? Sam Stauber, Greely's 2009 Spring Male Athlete of the Year, wrote a heroic tale this season and produced the type of happy ending that the Greely baseball program won't ever forget.
Coach Derek Soule's comment: "Going into the season, I told Sam we'd go as far as his right arm carried us. Obviously, it carried us pretty far. He set school records in wins and innings pitched and quietly had a great offensive year. He just loves baseball. He's very serious and it rubbed off on the younger players. We felt when he was on the mound, we could beat anyone. Even though we were young, he gave us hope."
2008 winner: Eric Thompson (Lacrosse)
2007 winner: Caleb Jordan (Baseball)
2006 winner: Sam Green (Baseball)
2005 winner: Chris Martin (Baseball)
2004 winner: Ben True (Track)
2003 winner: Ryan Copp (Baseball)
2002 winner: Brent Lemieux (Baseball)
2009 Spring Female Athlete of the Year:
LIZA LEPAGE, Senior-Track
* Class B state champion, 800
Liza LePage is part of a very athletic family and has more than made her mark.
That was certainly evident this season when she asserted herself as one of the top middle-distance runners around, capping her season by winning the 800 at the Class B state meet.
LePage's commitment to getting ever faster paid off in a big way and her appreciation for running grew in kind. It's safe to say we haven't heard the last of her accomplishments on the track.
For producing such a solid campaign, finishing at the top and for showing such devotion to improve and excel, Liza LePage is The Forecaster's choice for Greely's 2009 Spring Female Athlete of the Year.
LePage grew up in Cumberland with soccer as her No. 1 sport. She ran indoor and outdoor track in all four years of high school, but said she didn't completely get into track until she stopped playing year-round soccer her junior season. LePage finished seventh in the outdoor mile as a freshman and scored in the relays as a sophomore. As a junior, she was third in the 800 at states and was on a first-place 1,600 relay team.
This spring, she won the 800 in her first regular season meet and set the tone for a successful season. She was part of a regional champion 3,200 relay squad, then set a new personal mark in winning the half-mile at states (2 minutes, 20.99 seconds).
LePage practiced as hard as she competed, inspired her teammates with her commitment and welcomed all challengers.
LePage, who was also a member of student government at Greely, will matriculate at Bowdoin College, her first choice, in the fall. She's undecided on a major and isn't sure if she'll play soccer, but track is a definite go.
That's a good thing for the Polar Bears and fans of the sport because Liza LePage, Greely's 2009 Spring Female Athlete of the Year, still has many insprational chapters to write on the track.
Coach John Folan's comment: "Liza's been a quiet leader since the beginning of her career. She was always at the head of the pack in speed workouts and simply never took time off. Other athletes gauged their effort and improvement by whether they could keep up with her at practice. She simply gave her best, which was usually very good indeed."
2008 winner: Kate Otley (Lacrosse)
2007 winner: Becky O'Brien (Track)
2006 winner: Lauren Kinney (Tennis)
2005 winner: Molly Hamel (Lacrosse)
2004 winner: Kate Mason (Track)
2003 winner: Sara Dimick (Lacrosse)
2002 winner: Sarah Bennis (Softball)