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David McCain recently graduated from Westbrook High School, where served as a senior captain for the football, basketball, and baseball teams. Later this year, David will try to join the football squad at Bryant University as a walk-on. (Photo courtesy of David McCain )
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David McCain recently graduated from Westbrook High School, although the full magnitude has yet to sink in for him. During the past four years, David was a three-sport athlete for the Knights who also participated in a number of other activities at the school. As a senior, David served as a captain for the Old Saybrook-Westbrook (OS-W) football team, as well as Westbrook’s boys’ basketball and baseball squads.
“It felt great knowing that my coaches and teammates felt I was the guy to lead them and to know people believe in you,” David says. “With sports, I’ve gone through three senior days, and it still hasn’t hit me. I’m sure there will be some tears when it does. It’s just sad to think I’ll never play another high school football, basketball, or baseball game again. But looking back, there’s nothing I would change. It was an overall positive experience.”
David’s high school sports career may have come to a close, but he’s hoping to get one more chance at team sports this fall, when he will attempt to walk on to the football team at Bryant University in Rhode Island. While recruited players begin camp in late July, the tryouts for walk-ons are held on the first day of classes on Aug. 31. David will try out for the team as a long snapper.
“I just want to go out there and show the coach what I’ve got,” says David, who will study either business or accounting and finance. “I’m super active, so if football doesn’t work out, I’ll still do intramural and club sports.”
Although football was David’s strongest sport in high school, he’s actually been playing baseball for the longest amount of time, starting with tee-ball in kindergarten. David’s love of sports was ingrained into him through his family. David’s grandfather was drafted to play both professional baseball and football out of high school, but chose to become a teacher. His father played Division I lacrosse at UMass.
One of David’s fondest memories on the ballfield was winning a Little League district championship. David and many of his Westbrook teammates have played baseball together for several years, and he says that winning the championship was “definitely a highlight we still talk about.”
David feels grateful for the all the coaches that he’s worked with throughout his career, including his high school baseball coaches Derek Hanssen, Patrick Hanssen, and Angelo Saba, the latter who was also David’s middle school basketball coach and one of his teachers at the high school. Derek Hanssen, the head coach of Westbrook baseball, saw the impact that David had on his club firsthand.
“David brought a lot of leadership. He’s very vocal and leads by example—a kid who’s always putting all of his effort into everything he does and shows his teammates the right way to play the game,” Hanssen says. “He is the kind of team player, team leader, and effort player that you want to have on a team.”
Shortly after beginning baseball, David stepped on to the basketball court. David played rec hoops, moved on to travel and the middle school team, and then joined the squad at the high school, where he played for coaches Jeff Beeman, Dan Shapiro, Jordan Bean, and Torin Woods. David capped off his basketball career by earning New Haven Tap-Off Club Scholar-Athlete honors this winter. However, the highlight of his time with the Knights came when they won the Shoreline Conference title and then advanced to the Class S state final at Mohegan Sun during his sophomore season.
“Even though I contributed little to it, we won Shorelines and almost won states,” says David. “Every single game was packed to brim and just being at Mohegan for the state finals was wicked cool.”
David got out to a bit of a head-start with football. While most kids begin playing in 4th grade, the registration letter was accidentally mailed to David’s house when he was in 3rd grade. From there, he was “all in.”
David earned a starting spot for the OS-W football team in his freshman year. The Rams had never posted a winning record prior to that season, but they went 6-4 that year. The next two years saw the squad go 8-2 in each campaign, marking the best records in program history. OS-W finished with a record of 6-4 in David’s senior season last fall.
“This paved a different path for the program, and we were no longer a mediocre part of the Pequot Conference,” says David, who was earned All-Pequot Conference First Team honors as both a junior and senior. “I want to thank any coach I’ve had, including Mike and Rob Marone, Charlie Bertero, and Brendan Coan, who coached me in 5th grade and then, sophomore year, he joined the high school coaching staff.”
Being a tri-sport varsity athlete is certainly time-consuming, but David still found time for other activities outside of sports. At Westbrook High School, David was a member of the National Honor Society, concert band, wind ensemble, and the jazz band. He also joined chorus as a senior, participating in the concert choir and chamber choir. On top of that, David began playing the alto saxophone in 4th grade, picked up the baritone sax in 6th grade, and then started teaching himself the bassoon in 8th grade. David credits his sister for influencing his passion for music.
“I’ve always loved music, and it’s a fun way to express feelings and emotions through a different outlet,” David says. “I like being able to create something satisfying.”
David added another activity to the list during his senior year at Westbrook. David’s English teacher, who directs the school plays, and one of his friends convinced David to audition for the school’s production of the musical comedy Spamalot. David found that he also has a talent onstage.
“That was super fun, and I am so happy I did it,” says David. “I was able to develop relationships with people I wouldn’t have if I didn’t do the show.”
While this type of hectic schedule might deter some people, David says that he thrives on being busy. Whether he’s on the field or in the classroom, David embraces the concept of hard work.
“I like to be busy, and doing so many different extra-curricular activities anchored me and helped me get stuff done,” David says. “I had so many opportunities at my school. If you go to a school that offers the chance to do different things, take advantage of all of them.”
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