When it comes to the Cape Ann League, boys soccer and boys basketball are two of its deepest and most talented sports with great teams and great players up and down the league standings. Kellen Furse was among the elite players in the league in both of those sports.
Furse started off the 2019-20 season by being named CAL Baker Player of the Year in soccer and he followed it up by winning the same award during basketball season. Those two awards make him the 2019-20 Male Athlete of the Year for Manchester Essex. Furse is now the first student athlete from Manchester Essex to be named Athlete of the Year twice as he was honored for the 2018-19 school year as well.
The Hornets were the top team in the CAL Baker Division last fall for the fourth season in a row, finishing with an undefeated record in league action for the first time in program history. On a team stacked with talent, Furse was the clear go-to player for the team as he was an all around offensive juggernaut.
The Hornets played a slower paced, possession style which perfectly suited Furse's strengths as he can create offense and finish plays on his own, keeping defenses guessing every time the ball was on his foot. Opponents would frequently send extra attention his way to not let him beat them, but he would find ways to anyway.
"Kellen is so talented but he has the physical and mental toughness to go with it," Manchester Essex head soccer coach Rob Bilsbury said of Furse during the fall season. "Teams would frustrate him all the time by marking him, but he never showed that frustration and kept fighting through it to make plays. Plus he was such a leader for us."
Furse was not only the CAL Baker Player of the Year last fall, he was rated the No. 1 player in the entire league, Kinney and Baker Divisions. He led the CAL in scoring with a well rounded skill set that saw him score with a well placed shot, with his speed to blow by defenders and by his awareness to make things happen on set pieces.
He kept up his dominance on the hardwood in the winter season, putting together another incredible season and League Player of the Year honors.
Furse was the team's starting point guard and leading scorer in each of the last three seasons. This winter, however, he established himself as the bona fide No. 1 scoring option where he was one of many options in the two previous seasons.
He averaged more than 24 points per game on the season, which propelled him to the 1,000 career point milestone, becoming just the fourth player in program history to achieve the honor.
"What makes Kellen great is his work ethic," Hornets head basketball coach Tim St. Laurent said. "He puts 200 percent into everything he does and he does it the right way. He practices hard, plays hard and he's a great leader and student."
Furse's quickness with the ball gave opposing defenses tons of trouble as he can get into the lane and create plays by keeping it himself or passing off to a teammate. He also has a great shot from long range, giving defenses little to no options in ways to covering, they almost have to double team him to contain him.
In addition to his offensive prowess, he is also an outstanding rebounder, especially for a guard that is not even six-feet tall. He's also an elite perimeter defender.
"He has so much to his game," St. Laurent said this winter. "He can score points in bunches and he's unselfish, defenses really have to game plan to slow him down."
Manchester Essex Male Athletes of the Year
2009- Pat Orlando
2010- Brian Ciccone
2011- Joe Mussachia
2012- Joe Burgess
2013- Liam Aldrich
2014- Seth Cohen
2015- Craig Carter
2016- Alex Beckmann
2017- Marco Kaper
2018- Robbie Sarmanian
2019- Kellen Furse
2020- Kellen Furse