It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.
Standing around 5-foot-8, Kellen Furse may not be the biggest player on the field or the court, but he more than makes up for it in toughness. That combined with his athleticism and prowess in three sports, soccer, basketball and tennis, make him the Gloucester Daily Times Manchester Essex Male Athlete of the Year. Furse is just the second junior to win athlete of the year honors for Manchester Essex and the first junior boy.
Furse opened up the 2018-19 school year with a big season for the Cape Ann League Baker Division champion soccer team.
The junior played center midfield for the Hornets and was a key cog in the team’s formation as he was one of the team’s most talented playmakers and scorers thanks to his field vision, athleticism and his ability as a dead ball striker. Furse always seemed to be involved in some way whenever the Hornets had a scoring chance.
“He’s such a scrappy kid and he goes hard all game,” Hornets head coach Rob Bilsbury said of Furse during the fall season. “He’s a great athlete but he has intangibles too, that’s what takes his game to the next level.”
The winter season was arguably his best season as he may have been the most important cog in the Manchester Essex starting lineup as the team’s point guard.
His quickness made him a force at both ends of the floor, especially with the aggressive defensive tempo the Hornets like to play. Offensively, he was a facilitator that can spread the ball around. But he can also be a dominant scorer as he led the Hornets with 13.6 thanks to a reliable jump shot and a deadly first step off the dribble that most defenders can’t keep up with. Combine that with his play in transition and you have a complete point guard.
“We are a team that relies on balanced scoring,” head coach Tim St. Laurent said. “But he’s one of those players that can go off and put up big points if he’s feeling it. He’s such a hard nosed player.”
In the spring, Furse was the No. 3 singles player for the Hornets and he could beat opponents with sheer athleticism. It was a rebuilding year for Manchester Essex in the sport, but Furse was as consistent as they come.