Derek Gagnon, Nate Gravelle headed to Mass. Maritime athletic hall
Gagnon, Gravelle to reunite in hall
Former Massachusetts Maritime Academy quarterback Derek Gagnon says he’ll never forget the day in 1993 when teammate Nate Gravelle, a two-time All-ECAC selection at defensive tackle, joined him in the offensive huddle.
“How could I?’’ asked the 5-foot-8 Lowell native, who played at 185 pounds. “I mean, I was getting someone 6-foot-4 and someone weighing close to 250 pounds to protect me. And at my size, I’d take all the protection I could get.’’
So it’s fitting that Gagnon and Gravelle, who played at Newburyport High and a year at Ithaca College before transferring to Massachusetts Maritime, will be inducted together into the academy’s athletic hall of fame in early June.
Gagnon and Gravelle, who cocaptained the Mass. Maritime team and graduated in 1994, are two of five former athletes slated for enshrinement.
Until his senior year, Gravelle had played strictly on the defensive side of the ball, twice earning New England Football Conference and ECAC first team all-star selections.
But when the Bucs were short on numbers on the offensive line, coach Don Ruggeri called on Gravelle, who played both ways his final season.
Gravelle won the NEFC’s Hal Chalmers Award his senior year for his contributions on the field and in the classroom. He registered a career-high 73 tackles his junior season.
“Me in the hall of fame, it’s something I never gave a thought to,’’ said Gravelle, an aerospace engineer now living in Amesbury. “I was surprised when I got the call. I was curious, why me, so I asked [football coach Bob Corradi] when he called. He then went through the list of honors I had gained while playing and the different criteria. I guess I was a fit. It’s definitely an honor and a surprise.’’
Gravelle remembered Gagnon as “small in stature with a Doug Flutie-like style,’’ someone he was only too happy to protect from oncoming defensive linemen.
Gagnon’s school records have withstood the test of time. He stills owns a dozen, including pass attempts (906), completions (421), yards (4,471), touchdowns (35), and total offense (5,277 yards). He was an All-NEFC pick his junior and senior seasons.
“I knew I had set some records when I was playing, but wasn’t sure how many still stood,’’ said Gagnon, who works for a global defense company based in Nashua and resides in neighboring Pelham, N.H. “I was surprised that so many of them are still tops.’’
Like Gravelle, Gagnon said he was honored when he received word of his selection.
“I am humbled because I know this is an elite football program and there are so many fine athletes that have played in it,’’ he said. “When [Corradi] called me all I could say was I appreciate the opportunity and thank you.’’
Wartburg (Iowa) College sophomore Ken Anderson of Billerica avenged his only loss of the season with a 6-2 decision over top-seeded Nathan Fitzenreider of North Central Illinois to claim the 125-pound title at the NCAA Division 3 wrestling championships in LaCrosse, Wis. Fitzenreider had defeated Anderson, 10-1, at the NWCA National Duals in January. In the NCAAs, Anderson blasted Fitzenreider to the mat with an explosive takedown 10 seconds into the match and racked up nearly four minutes of riding time during his victory. . . .
University of Massachusetts Lowell went into last weekend’s NCAA Division 2 Track and Field Championships in Minnesota with high hopes. Mission accomplished: the River Hawks returned home with 10 All-American honors. Seniors Angus MacDonald of Methuen, Jeff Wundt of Southwick, and junior Evan White of Tewksbury all earned the distinction twice. MacDonald picked up his eighth and ninth career All-America honors with a sixth-place finish in the mile, along with running a leg on the distance medley relay team that finished fifth; White was runner-up in the 200 meters and ran a leg on the 4x400 foursome; Wundt was a member of both the distance medley and 4x400 units. The squad’s other All-Americans were sophomores David Brown (distance medley relay) and Scott Boiko (distance medley relay), junior Craig Bennett (4x400) of Milton, and freshman Ryad Bencheikh (4x400) of Woburn. The top eight finishers in each event are designated All-Americans. . . .
At the Division 3 Track and Field Championships in Iowa, Brandeis senior Chris Brown of Chelmsford garnered his first All-America honor with a third-place finish in the mile. Brown, clocked in 4:11.24, is the university’s first male All-American since 2005. . . .
Merrimack sophomore Briana Devereaux of Londonderry, N.H., has received all-region honors from the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Devereaux finished second in the 1,000 meters in the NE-10 Championships and eighth in the 800 meters in the New England Championships. . . .
Freshman catcher/infielder Liz Glavin of Ipswich had a most productive preseason trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., with the Wentworth softball team. In seven games, Glavin batted .591 (13-for-22) with four doubles, four home runs, 12 RBIs, and nine runs scored. Her on-base percentage was .615 and her slugging percentage was 1.318. . . .
Brandeis sophomore Julian Cardillo of Medford has qualified for an at-large berth in the NCAA Fencing Championships later this week at Ohio State University. Cardillo earned the bid after finishing 10th in the foil at the Northeast Regionals. He posted a 52-20 record during the regular season.
Around and about
Andover golfer Rob Oppenheim recorded his best career finish on the Nationwide Tour when he went 69-69-65-69 for a 16-under 272 in a tournament last weekend in Santiago, Chile. He earned $24,800 by tying for fourth in the Chile Classic. Oppenheim failed to make the cut in the season’s first two tournaments, in Bogota and Panama City. The Nationwide Tour, a stepping stone to the PGA, returns to action next weekend in Louisiana. . . .
The Lowell Spinners will return to Fenway Park Aug. 18 to play in the Futures Game. Lowell will play the Hudson Valley Renegades in the first game of a doubleheader, while the Pawtucket Red Sox meet the Buffalo Bisons in the nightcap.
John Vellante can be reached at JohnPVel@aol.com.