Scarborough Red Storm Spring Athletes of the Year

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(Ed. Note: This article will appear in our July 13 southern print edition)

Male Athlete of the Year:

BEN WESSEL, Senior-Baseball

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CITATIONS

* Winkin/Mr. Maine Baseball Award winner

* SMAA Player of the Year

* SMAA All-Conference, York County, first-team

Wessel’s dream of being on the mound for a championship team was dashed after a serious arm injury, but his bat remained potent throughout the season and his combined body of work was enough to earn him the most prestigious award in the state, Mr. Maine Baseball.

Wessel, who also was named Spring Athlete of the Year in 2011, came to Scarborough from Vermont at the age of nine and came naturally to baseball (his father played in the minors). He played four years of varsity baseball and also took part on the basketball team.

He did it all this spring.

In a season opening win over Thornton Academy, Wessel threw a four-hitter with six strikeouts, had two hits, scored a run and stole a base. He singled, tripled, scored a run, drove in another and had a steal versus Portland, tripled and had four RBI against Sanford, threw five shutout innings against Biddeford (allowing just two hits with seven strikeouts), while homering, stealing a base, scoring twice and driving in two runs, singled, doubled, stole a base, scored a run and drove in another in a loss to Marshwood, threw a one-hitter with 10 Ks and had three hits and three runs and an RBI against Kennebunk.

His finest hour came May 12 when he threw a three-hit shutout, striking out nine against defending Class A champion Cheverus, while driving in the game’s lone runs with a two-run homer.

Wessel singled, tripled, stole a base and scored twice in a win over Noble, threw a four-hitter with nine Ks and drove in three run against Deering and doubled, tripled and drove in six versus Gorham,

Against Westbrook May 22, Wessel took a two-hit shutout into the fifth when disaster struck. He delivered the final pitch of his high school career, then had to leave the game.

“I felt (arm soreness) a little during the game,” said Wessel. “It wasn’t great weather conditions. I tried giving it a little extra. My lead foot missed. I felt my elbow snap.”

Wessel had suffered a serious arm injury and missed the final three games of the regular season, yet he still produced terrific numbers.

He wound up 6-0 with an 0.62 earned run average, allowing just 16 hits, 11 walks and three earned runs in 34 innings. He fanned 45. Offensively, Wessel hit .486, driving in 21 runs, scoring 15 times, rapping two doubles, four triples and two home runs. He was also 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts.

In the playoffs, Wessel, who played first base and in the outfield, returned to action and had an RBI triple in a quarterfinal round victory over Thornton Academy and blasted a three-run home run to help beat Windham in the semifinals. Scarborough wound up reaching the Class A state final for the first time in program history before falling to Messalonskee.

Wessel was named first-team All-Conference and was ultimately given the Winkin/Mr. Maine Baseball Award.

Wessel underwent Tommy John surgery (named for the former major league hurler) on his arm and will recover for 12-18 months. He’ll redshirt for a year at the University of Rhode Island, then he hopes to be a college contributor.

Wessel was the best pitcher around until he no longer was capable, then continued to lead the Red Storm to great things. It’s safe to say he’s one of the finest players the Scarborough baseball program has ever produced.

Coach Mike Coutts’ comment: “Ben was great to coach. He’s very dedicated and committed to what he does. I really saw him mature into one of our better competitors. Pitching, he was huge for us, but his emergence as a hitter was huge for us too. He hit with guys on base. That was a big component to our year. I was more concerned we’d lose him as a hitter than as a pitcher. That’s how much his bat meant to our lineup. He has the right mental makeup to bounce back from an injury. He’s determined to do something great at URI.”

2011 winner: Ben Wessel (Baseball)

2010 winner: Nick Neugebauer (Lacrosse)

2009 winner: Chris Bernard (Baseball)

2008 winner: Ryan Hunt (Lacrosse)

2007 winner: Phil Lambert (Lacrosse)

2006 winner: Bryan Macphie (Lacrosse)

2005 winner: David Hamilton (Lacrosse)

2004 winner: David Hamilton (Lacrosse)

2003 winner: Adam Mumm (Track)

2002 winner: Keith Corey (Track)

Female Athlete of the Year

NICOLE KIRK, Senior-Track

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CITATIONS

* SMAA Female Track Athlete of the Season

* State record holder, 100

* State record holder, 200

* State record holder, 400 relay

* State record holder, 1,600 relay

* Class A state champion, 100

* Class A state champion, 200

* SMAA All-Conference, 100

* SMAA All-Conference, 200

* SMAA Rivalry Meet MVP

* Captain

Kirk had a pretty impressive high school resume even before her senior year, but her performance this spring cemented her legend. She staked her claim as one of the finest track and field athletes to come from the storied Scarborough program and he went out with a bang, helping the Red Storm win yet another championship.

Kirk began competing in track in the Scarborough youth program and she quickly moved up the ranks with the high school team. She was the Class A state outdoor champion in the 200 as a sophomore, then won both the 100 and 200 as a junior.

This season, she simply had no peer.

Kirk opened the season with wins in the 100 and 200 and never looked back, rarely even being challenged in the sprints, while contributing to relay success as well. For the second year in a row, she won every single race in which she participated.

At the SMAA championship meet in late May, Kirk triumphed in the 100 and 200 and also helped the 400 and 1,600 relay teams come in first as Scarborough placed first overall.

At states, she did it again, winning the 100 in a record time of 12.25 seconds despite steady rain, the 200 (in 25.8 seconds, a little slower than her 2011 record pace of 25.49) and paced the 1,600 relay team to a victory, bringing the Red Storm from last to first with a 57.5 second split. Scarborough won the state title.

Kirk capped her high school career by placing 11th in both the 100 and the 200 at the New England championships.

Kirk graduates as the Class A record holder in the 100, 200, 400 relay (49.65 split time) and 1,600 relay (4:00.90), the SMAA record holder in the 100 and 200 and Scarborough’s record holder in the 100, 200, 400 relay and 1,600 relay.

Kirk graduates with 14 state titles, the most of any current Maine high school track athlete of either gender and was part of six team state champions.

Kirk was a three-season runner, also taking part in cross country and indoor track. She will attend the University of Southern Maine in the fall and will sprint in both indoor and outdoor track. She plans to study nursing.

She’ll likely have great success at the college level as well, but Kirk’s exploits at Scarborough will be long remembered and hailed.

Coach Ron Kelly’s comment: “Nicole is truly a special young woman. She has a combination of talent, work ethic and will to win that is very rare. Her resume on the track speaks volumes as to these attributes. Nicole has been a role model for the younger athletes on her team. She has handled her successes and failures with an equal amount of grace and humility. Nicole has learned life skills such as discipline, time management, work ethic, commitment, teamwork and the importance of keeping a positive mental attitude. She holds a 97.35 grade point average as evidence as to her application of these life skills in the classroom. In particular, her level of commitment is extraordinary. Nicole spent the last two summers training with an elite group of male athletes to continue to improve on her speed, explosiveness, conditioning and technique. She is a student of the science of the sport. Her consistent level of improvement throughout her high school career can be attributed to bio-mechanical efficiency, as well as hard work and personal sacrifice.”

2011 winner: Nicole Kirk (Track)

2010 winner: Heather Carrier (Softball)

2009 winner: Ellie Morin (Lacrosse)

2008 winner: Melissa Dellatorre (Softball)

2007 winner: Kelsey Griffin (Softball)

2006 winner: Lauren Hagerman (Lacrosse)

2005 winner: Camille Jania (Tennis)

2004 winner: Sarah Marchilli (Softball)

2003 winner: Chelsey Ledue (Track)

2002 winner: Jen Williams (Softball)

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

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