Third generation of Mazurek rises to top of sports heapCourier Publications/VillageSoup spotlights Oceanside standout
Rockland — One would be hard-pressed to find a more talented all-around high school student-athlete during 2013-14 than Oceanside High School's Nick Mazurek.
Mazurek, a standout three-sport athlete, was a clear-cut example that hard work, persistence, immense talent and a love for the game certainly can pay off as he outdistanced four talented finalists to be named the 2013-14 Courier Publications/VillageSoup schoolboy athlete of the year.
Mazurek, who will be a junior at OHS this fall, outdistanced Camden Hills' Chandler Crans, Connor Graffam and Jack Orne, along with Oceanside's Nick Judge, to earn the prestigious honor.
Mazurek played golf in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring for the Mariners, realizing a large measure of success on the links, court and diamond.
“It's a pretty big honor, looking at some of the names that have won this,” Mazurek said of being chosen. “So it's an honor to be added to this list.”
Mazurek kicked off his sophomore campaign on the links as a dominant force for the Mariners in Class A, where he excelled all season leading to the state Class A schoolboy golf championships, where he shot a 76 for 18 holes to finish second overall. His score qualified him for the New England championships. He earned Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference first-team honors.
On the basketball court, Mazurek averaged about seven points, but was a reliable starter that “did all the little things for us,” said coach Matt Breen. Perhaps Mazurek's best game of the year was the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship game against Camden Hills, where he netted 12 points (including make three 3-pointers) to help lead Oceanside tovictory over its Midcoast rivals.
However, the baseball diamond is where Mazurek did his best work, as his efforts earned him the distinction of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B player of the year.
Mazurek batted .489, with 23 hits, five home runs, 24 RBIs, 18 runs, a .576 on-base percentage and an .851 slugging percentage. He struck out only three times in 47 at bats (59 overall plate appearances) and walked a team-high 10 times. As a pitcher, Mazurek finished with a 6-1 record and a save. In 44 1/3 innings on the hill, he had a 1.26 earned run average, allowed 25 hits, 15 runs, 8 earned runs, struck out 55 and walked 14 (nearly a 4 to 1 ratio). Opponents batted .152 against him.
The hard-throwing right-hander had five complete games, two shutouts and a no-hitter.
"He's a great young man who is very respectful of the game, his teammates and opponents,” said Mariner baseball coach Don Shields. “Nick is always ready, I never worry about if he is ready to play. And best of all, he never backs down from a challenge. Add that to his amazing talent and you have a very deserving player for this award."
“I'm extremely happy for Nick,” said former Oceanside athletic director Jim Leonard, who is now the athletic director at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield. “Nick's one of those kids that exemplifies the adage of success comes through hard work. He's well deserving of that honor. He's clearly an upper-echelon high school athlete in pretty much everything he does. He's an amazing kid.”
Athletic success certainly runs in the Mazurek family as his father is Rich Mazurek, a 1990 graduate of Rockland District High School. He was a standout all-around athlete, including in golf, a 1,000-point scorer on the hardwood for the Tigers and also played a key role in the school's lone state Class B baseball championship team in 1989.
“Like any father would be, I'm very proud,” said Rich of his son. “I'm proud of him [and] he works hard and he's putting the effort in that needs to happen to accomplish some of these things. I'm happy for him, and to be at such a young age accomplishing some of these things, it's certainly an honor.”
Mazurek's grandfather Ed Mazurek was drafted by the National Football League's Chicago Cardinals and was later a member of both the New York Giants and the Minnesota Vikings. Ed even played in the Little League World Series and was a tremendous all-around athlete in his younger days.
While he was the one who did the work, the reserved Nick credits his father in helping him excel in athletics.
“He was huge,” Nick said. “I still have [from] when I was really little videotapes of me hitting little golf balls and little baseballs from when I was about two years old, and I'm sure they bought that stuff for me. So they helped a lot.”
Mazurek played football until sixth grade, where at that point he was going to have to make a decision going forward as to what his fall sport would be.
He chose golf, and given his success, it would be hard to argue he made the wrong choice. But some of that decision was made strictly by chance.
“A lot of the kids I played football with either stopped playing or moved away,” Nick said. “So I kind figured I might as well [stop] too. There were a lot of kids that I played with in peewees that when we got to middle school stopped playing.”
Nick recalled hitting golf balls in the practice area at the Rockland Golf Club with his dad at a young age, where he really began to take to the sport.
The newly-named athlete of the year pointed out composure, more than anything else, to the most important tool one can possess on the links.
“Golf is all played from the shoulders and up,” he said about the importance of one's head and, subsequently, mind for the game. “You've got to be able to maintain your head in golf.”
While he enjoys all three sports immensely, “You just can't beat baseball," he said.
Nick said in the spring he started to develop into more of a pitcher as he now has five pitches in his arsenal — a fastball, curveball, slider, changeup and a cutter. His fastball tops out at 84 miles per hour.
“Since I've gotten older I think I'm developing into more of a pitcher,” Nick said. “I've worked with my dad a lot on everything. I think it's just more my natural thing and now that I'm working with my dad a little, it's starting to become better at that than anything else."
Nick said he used to watch Luke Morrill and Joe Nelsen play baseball for Rockland and looked up to the two of them a great deal.
Nelsen is Mazurek's cousin, while Morrill plays collegiate baseball for the University of Maine in Orono.
“I used to watch him and Luke play baseball as much as I possibly could and always wanted to play as good as those two could play,” Nick said.
Now, perhaps Nick is the one younger Midcoast athletes are looking to emulate. Nick said while his success is deserved, it never came easy.
“They can't expect to be as good as someone else,” said Nick regarding advice he would give to the younger generation of players. “They have to be themselves. They have to do the best that they can all the time and they can't get frustrated if they're not succeeding all the time. You're going to make mistakes. It just happens, no matter who you are.
“There's times where I will wake up at six in the morning, go play golf, play all day, go home, go hit baseballs and then at night go have a basketball practice at the Rec. Center. You've got to do it all day, constantly.”
Nick said having his father, and to a lesser degree, his grandfather in his ear, are integral pieces to his athletic prowess.
“He's not as much of an influence as my dad is, but even he's not afraid of saying, 'Hey, you just messed up on this. You've got to get better at that,' ” Nick said of Ed. “My dad's going to say, 'This is how you're going to do it,' my grandfather's going to say, 'You messed up here, you've got to fix it.' And that's another point of view that just helps me.
“It's almost like we're all working together on one thing. So it's fun, to have everyone working together like that.”
Name: Nick Mazurek.
Grade: Entering his junior year at Oceanside High School.
Parents: Rich and Jennifer Mazurek.
Favorite athlete: Jon Lester.
Favorite personal moment in sports: Hitting my first Little League home run when I was 10 years old.
Favorite course in school: History.
TV show you never miss: Dexter.
Favorite phone/computer app: ESPN.
What do you listen to on your iPod before competing: Country music.
Favorite movie: Blades of Glory.
Food you pig out on: Pizza.
Favorite book: “Heat” by Mike Lupica.
Vehicle you wish you were driving: Camaro.
Person you most want to meet (dead or alive): Ted Williams.
Most influential people in your life: My parents.
Future plans: To go to college.
Associate Sports Director
594-4401, ext. 116
Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. He has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School.
Mark is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, fantasy sports, the AMC drama "Breaking Bad" and iced coffee.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn and sons Beckett and Austin.
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