IT APPEARS Nashua South lineman Nathaniel Tejada will play in next month’s Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl. For those who don’t know, this news item qualifies as a very big deal.
In addition to playing football, Tejada also wrestled at the 195-pound weight class for Nashua South last season. On the morning of the Meet of Champions, Tejeda took a look at himself in the mirror and wasn’t sure what he saw.
“Right before the Meet of Champions I was in the shower and I looked at my neck and I saw a big lump on it,” Tejada explained following the New Hampshire Shrine team’s workout at Saint Anselm College last Wednesday. “I called my dad over and said, ‘You see that?’ So we went to the doctor that night. We did an ultrasound the next day. He told us, ‘Here’s the possibilities of what you might have.’”
Soon thereafter, it was confirmed: Tejada had cancer.
“So I am a cancer patient with Stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and as right now I’ve finished four months of intensive chemotherapy,” he said. “I just started radiation therapy — proton therapy. I’ll continue that until just about the start of the (Shrine) camp (at the end of July).
“Everybody was pretty straight up. They said, ‘This is really curable. This is something you have to fight really hard for, but in the end it’ll pay off and you’ll be fine. You’ll live a healthy, regular life.’ I had a good outlook the whole time.”
Tejada, who took sixth place at the Meet of Champions, said he’s been cleared to play in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, the all-star football game between New Hampshire and Vermont that will be played Aug. 3 (5:30 p.m kickoff) at Castleton (Vt.) University. This will likely be his last organized football game, although he does plan to wrestle at Springfield College.
Tejada and his family received an outpouring of support — financial and otherwise — and much of it came from the Nashua South community. So much support, in fact, that Tejada made the decision to give something back with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children with critical illnesses.
He announced his wish when he spoke at Nashua South’s graduation ceremony this year.
“I deliberated a lot and decided that since so many people have been helpful to me during the last few months I thought the best thing that I could do is take what I love, which is weightlifting and my school for all the support I’ve gotten, and use my Make-A-Wish to have a full renovation of the Nashua South weight room,” Tejada said. “I’m very grateful to everybody who’s helped me thus far. I got an overwhelming amount of support from the entire community. There are no words to explain how grateful I am. I tell my dad all the time, ‘This is the easiest hard thing I’ve gone through in my entire life.’”
Bedford’s Patrick Harrington, Stratham’s Ben Malgeri and Derry’s George Welch have been selected to the Futures Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game, which will be played Tuesday at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Mass. Harrington (Bedford High School/Assumption) and Welch (Pinkerton Academy/St. Joseph’s College) are pitchers with the Nashua Silver Knights, and Malgeri (Exeter High School/Holy Cross) is an outfielder with the North Shore Navigators.
Through Saturday night’s FCBL games, Harrington was fifth in the league with a 2.12 ERA, Welch had a 1.17 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 15.1 innings and Malgeri was tied for eighth in the league with a .323 batting average.
Bishop Guertin pitcher/outfielder Brett Anderson announced this week that he will continue his baseball career at the University of Hartford, a Division I program that is a member of the America East Conference. Anderson was selected as New Hampshire’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2019, when he hit .477 with a .521 on-base percentage. Twelve of his 31 hits went for extra bases. He also posted a 5-2 record with one save and struck out 77 in 47 innings. Anderson will be entering his senior year at BG.
The Salem High School football team will be playing its “home” games in Massachusetts this season. Salem coach Rob Pike originally thought his team would be playing all of its games on the road because of work being done on the Salem track and football field, but the Blue Devils will use Haverhill (Mass.) High School’s Trinity Stadium for its five home games instead.
John DeVito’s prize for winning this year’s New Hampshire Golf Association Amateur Championship? A $750 credit for merchandise in the Portsmouth Country Club pro shop.