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Male Athlete of the Year: Devin Springfield

Driven to be the best

2013 MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

  • The Conant baseball team defeated Laconia 5-3 in the Division III semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Conant baseball team defeated Laconia 5-3 in the Division III semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The Conant boys basketball team defeated Newport 65-42 in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Conant boys basketball team defeated Newport 65-42 in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The Conant boys basketball team dropped its first game of the season, 65-63 to Campbell on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Conant boys basketball team dropped its first game of the season, 65-63 to Campbell on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013.


    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • Conant senior Devin Springfield reached the 1,000-point milestone on Wednesday night, becoming the 17th player in school history to achieve the feat.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    Conant senior Devin Springfield reached the 1,000-point milestone on Wednesday night, becoming the 17th player in school history to achieve the feat.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • Conant senior Devin Springfield reached the 1,000-point milestone on Wednesday night, becoming the 17th player in school history to achieve the feat.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    Conant senior Devin Springfield reached the 1,000-point milestone on Wednesday night, becoming the 17th player in school history to achieve the feat.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The Conant baseball team defeated Laconia 5-3 in the Division III semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Conant baseball team defeated Laconia 5-3 in the Division III semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The Conant baseball team defeated Laconia 5-3 in the Division III semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Conant baseball team defeated Laconia 5-3 in the Division III semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The Conant baseball team dropped its home opener to Campbell 4-0 on Friday, April 19, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Conant baseball team dropped its home opener to Campbell 4-0 on Friday, April 19, 2013.
    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The ConVal baseball team defeated Conant 12-2 on Monday, May 6, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The ConVal baseball team defeated Conant 12-2 on Monday, May 6, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The Conant boys basketball team defeated Coe-Brown 74-42 to win the Red Division title at the Zero Gravity Holiday Tournament at Keene State College on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Conant boys basketball team defeated Coe-Brown 74-42 to win the Red Division title at the Zero Gravity Holiday Tournament at Keene State College on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The Conant boys basketball team defeated Campbell 66-46 in the Division III championship game at Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday March 9, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Conant boys basketball team defeated Campbell 66-46 in the Division III championship game at Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday March 9, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The Conant boys basketball team defeated Campbell 66-46 in the Division III championship game at Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday March 9, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Conant boys basketball team defeated Campbell 66-46 in the Division III championship game at Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday March 9, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The Conant boys basketball team defeated Newport 65-42 in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

    The Conant boys basketball team defeated Newport 65-42 in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

    (Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

  • The Conant baseball team defeated Laconia 5-3 in the Division III semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant boys basketball team defeated Newport 65-42 in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant boys basketball team dropped its first game of the season, 65-63 to Campbell on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013.<br/><br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • Conant senior Devin Springfield reached the 1,000-point milestone on Wednesday night, becoming the 17th player in school history to achieve the feat.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • Conant senior Devin Springfield reached the 1,000-point milestone on Wednesday night, becoming the 17th player in school history to achieve the feat.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant baseball team defeated Laconia 5-3 in the Division III semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant baseball team defeated Laconia 5-3 in the Division III semifinals on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant baseball team dropped its home opener to Campbell 4-0 on Friday, April 19, 2013.<br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The ConVal baseball team defeated Conant 12-2 on Monday, May 6, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant boys basketball team defeated Coe-Brown 74-42 to win the Red Division title at the Zero Gravity Holiday Tournament at Keene State College on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant boys basketball team defeated Campbell 66-46 in the Division III championship game at Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday March 9, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant boys basketball team defeated Campbell 66-46 in the Division III championship game at Southern New Hampshire University on Saturday March 9, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • The Conant boys basketball team defeated Newport 65-42 in the Division III semifinals at Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Tim Goodwin)

As I stood in the far corner of the visitors’ dugout at Southern New Hampshire University earlier this month, I got to see a rare side of Devin Springfield.

It was just minutes away from the start of the Division III semifinals versus top ranked Laconia and I was fortunate enough to be within an ear shot of Springfield to hear what he had to say to his Conant teammates.

While I won’t repeat what Springfield said during his inspirational pregame speech, I will put it this way: His words had me ready to run between those white lines and go to battle with him.

I’ve seen Springfield compete for the last four years, but never had I been close enough to hear what he had to say in such a crucial moment. I knew that he was a very good athlete and had an idea that he was a good leader, just from watching his interactions with teammates and various conversations with his coaches, but this brought my appreciation for Springfield to another level.

It is hard not to appreciate Springfield’s athletic achievements, but it is completely different to observe what he brings to a team outside of when he is in the heat of competition.

For four years, Springfield worked to become the best possible athlete. It actually started much earlier than that, but most of what I have seen came during his time at Conant.

Through a number of conversations over the years, I got a sneak peek into what made him tick. It was very easy to tell that Springfield lives for competition, but it was his knowledge of the games that really stood out. He understands the fine nuances and while a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that he is the son of a longtime coach, there is no question that Springfield has worked hard to develop a feel for what is happening around him. There never really seems to be a situation that he is not prepared for.

And for me, it all comes down to his work ethic. When I sat down with him on Tuesday for the Q&A, I asked Springfield about his workouts outside of practice. I came out of it with a better understanding of why he is so good. It’s not just about talent with him. A lot of his success has to do with his preparation and a desire to be better than all of his opponents.

For Springfield, his senior year could not have gone any better. After having both his junior basketball and baseball seasons come to a premature end in the semifinals, you could just tell that he was going to do everything in his power to make sure that his teams did not fall short again.

And it worked, as he won state titles in both sports.

When Conant lost to Campbell in the regular season in basketball, you could see that did not sit well with Springfield. While the goal was simply to win a championship and did not include going undefeated, you could tell that loss ate at him.

But it turns out that was the only one he had to endure. The Orioles went on to win the final 10 regular season games to lock up the No. 2 seed and carried that momentum into the postseason. Conant won each tournament game by at least 20 points, including a 66-46 victory over Campbell in the finals, on its way to the 10th state title in program history.

Springfield led the team with 21.2 points and 3,5 steals per game. He shot 61 percent from the floor, also a team best, and averaged 5.2 rebounds and three assists. He had 13 games in which he scored 20-plus points and twice scored 28 points, once in the regular season finale at Bow to go along with seven rebounds and six assists and another time in a mid-February blowout of Stevens.

And in the playoffs, Springfield was just as good. He twice scored more than 20 and led the Orioles with an average of 19.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per contest.

But the first state championship of his career is not the only accomplishment that Springfield can boast about from his final basketball season. In late December, he was named the MVP of the Keene State Holiday tournament and on Feb. 13, Springfield became the 17th member of Conant’s 1,000-point scorers club, joining his father, David, older sister, Brooke, and aunt, Karen Belletete.

Yet that was just the beginning. Springfield landed on the Division III first-team for a second straight season, but also brought home the ultimate individual accomplishment — Division III Player of the Year honors.

When all was said and done, Springfield finished his career with 1,167 points — fifth all-time on the boys side and tied for eighth overall.

And while Springfield had waited almost four years for the thrill of winning his first state title, there was little down time. With just over a week between the D-III basketball finals and the start of baseball practice, Springfield had to quickly trade in his high tops for a bat and glove.

He took the ball for the Orioles’ opener on April 9 and struck out eight over 3 2/3 innings in a no decision at Fall Mountain. It was the first of seven starts on the season for Springfield, who also hit third and played first base.

For the season, Springfield posted a 3-1 record with three no decisions. In his seven starts, Conant was 6-1. He led the team with a 2.08 earned run average and 54 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings.

In the final start of his career, Springfield tossed six shutout innings against No. 1 Laconia in the semifinals and then returned in relief to record the final two outs with the bases loaded and send Conant to its first title game since 1986.

At the plate, he hit a team best .413 with 21 runs batted in, 22 runs scored and five triples. He hit safely in 17 of the Orioles’ 20 games, including the last 13, on his way to first-team all-state honors. He was 6-for-13 in the playoffs with five runs and seven RBIs.

Oh yeah, and Conant’s win over Somersworth in the finals was the school’s first baseball championship in 57 years.

Not a bad way to close out an impressive four-year run.

But Springfield’s athletic career is far from over. He will be attending Marianapolis Preparatory School in the fall for a post grad year and then make a decision about which college and sport to pursue.

And something tells me that we will all be hearing a lot more about Springfield in the years to come.

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