Scarborough Red Storm Spring Athletes of the Year

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Spring 2011 Male Athlete of the Year:

BEN WESSEL, Junior–Baseball

* SMAA York County All-Star, first-team outfield

* SMAA York County All-Star, first-team utility

* Underclass All-Star

In 2011, Ben Wessel had the kind of season every pitcher dreams of.

He won games, struck out a lot of batters and didn’t surrender much in leading Scarborough back to the playoffs. Best of all, he threw a no-hitter. If that wasn’t enough, he was also no slouch with the bat and had an all-around campaign worthy of great praise.

With that in mind, The Forecaster is naming Ben Wessel Scarborough’s Spring 2011 Male Athlete of the Year.

Wessel came to Scarborough from Vermont at a young age and started playing baseball in Little League, getting serious about the sport in middle school. He comes by his talent naturally as his father, Troy, played minor league ball with the Montreal Expos and Cleveland Indians organizations. Wessel also plays basketball, but was at his best this spring.

Wessel shut down the Kennebunk Rams in his first start and also singled, doubled, scored twice and drove in a pair of runs. He doubled and drove in two runs against Windham and singled, tripled and drove in two in a win over Thornton Academy. That all paled in comparison to his feat on May 3, when Wessel didn’t surrender a single hit in an 11-0, six inning victory at Sanford. He walked one and also hit a batter, but other than that, he was perfect, fanning seven.

“The no-hitter was nice, but I have to give credit to my catcher and defense,” Wessel said.

The very next game, against Massabesic, teammate Ben Greenberg threw another no-hitter and Wessel helped the cause with a hit and an RBI. Other highlights included a four-hit, 14-K shutout win over Noble (a game in which Wessel also had two hits and a run scored), a one-hit shutout versus Marshwood, two hits and two runs scored against defending regional champion Biddeford, a home run versus Bonny Eagle, two hits and three RBI in a marathon 14-inning win at eventual state champion Cheverus and two hits, a run scored and a superb eight-inning pitching performance in an agonizing 2-1 loss to South Portland in the quarterfinals.

For the season, Wessel was 4-1 with a 1.37 earned run average (sixth best in the SMAA), holding the opposition to a .172 average (third in the league). He allowed only 22 hits and seven earned runs in 35.2 innings and struck out 46 hitters (second best in the league). At the plate, he hit .320, with three hits, three triples, a home run and 13 RBI.

Wessel is also an avid fisherman, does community service (helping his mother, a nurse), plays in a wooden bat showcase league in the fall and wants to win a state title (and be on the mound when it ends) his senior year. Wessel has already verbally committed to the University of Rhode Island, where he plans to play baseball and study pharmacy.

He had the prescription for success this season. Ben Wessel, Scarborough’s Spring 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, set the bar high and has a very bright future.

Coach Mike Coutts’ comment: “Ben is passionate. He loves to play. He really matured this year and became a very competitive player. He works hard in the offseason to improve his skills. This year, he became a pitcher and not just a thrower. He handled adversity on the mound and stayed focused, executing his pitches.”

* 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)

Spring 2011 Female Athlete of the Year

NICOLE KIRK, Junior—Track

* Class A state champion, 100

* Class A state champion, 200

* SMAA All-Star, first-team 100

* SMAA All-Star, first-team 200

Nicole Kirk was so dominant this spring that she made a very difficult sport look easy.

Already one of the elite sprinters in the state, Kirk added to her resume with two more state titles. She still has one high school year to go and figures to continue her excellence.

In a school with an abundance of stellar and successful female athletes, she managed to stand tall and as a result, Nicole Kirk is The Forecaster’s choice for Scarborough’s Spring 2011 Female Athlete of the Year.

Kirk came to Scarborough at the age of seven and got involved in the town’s youth track program at an early age. She ran indoor track and played lacrosse in middle school, but expanded to outdoor track and cross country in high school and has stolen many headlines.

Kirk quickly turned into an elite talent. After not scoring indoors as a freshman (she was fourth in the 200 and fifth in the 100 outdoors), she moved up to third in the 55 and fifth in the 200 as a sophomore and won the 200 outdoors (while placing third in the 100). This past winter, Kirk was the state champion in the 200 and runner-up in the 55. This spring, she excelled and was at her best in the biggest meets.

At the SMAA championships, Kirk won the 100 by .33 of a second. In the 200, she also placed first, by .45 of a second. At the state meet, she repeated as the 200 champion with a time of 25.49 seconds, a new record. She also won the 100 in 12.72. If that wasn’t enough, she also part of a new record-setting 400 relay team and a champion 1,600 relay squad. At New Englands, Kirk capped her season by coming in fourth in the 200 and ninth in the 100. She and her teammates were 11th in the 400 relay.

Kirk works hard for her success, training with the football team in addition to her core workouts. Her goal for her senior season is to break 25 seconds in the 200. She’s interested in staying in New England for college, possibly studying nursing, and will be highly coveted for her track talent.

We certainly haven’t heard the last of this standout. Nicole Kirk, Scarborough’s Spring 2011 Female Athlete of the Year, figures to keep winning titles, rewriting the record books and dazzling on the track.

Coach Ron Kelly’s comment: “Nicole is an extremely dedicated athlete. Very self motivated. She ran with the boys this past winter and spring, which pushed her to run faster. She has worked hard to improve her sprint mechanics, which has helped her to continue to improve. She’s an excellent role model for the younger athletes.”

* 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)

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.