Friday, May 24, 2024

WHS senior Tillery commits to USM track

By Matt Pascarella

Windham senior Marcus Tillery is headed to the University of Southern Maine in Gorham to major in criminology and be part of the men’s track and field team. He signed a letter of intent in front of a large group of friends, family, teachers and supporters on Thursday, May 16 at Windham High School. His coaches spoke very highly of him, emphasizing his leadership qualities, positivity as well as his skill on the field and the track.

Windham senior Marcus Tillery, left, joins his father Michael
after signing a letter of intent to attend the University of
Southern Maine in Gorham where he will major in
criminology and participate in track and field.
“It feels kind of unreal,” said Tillery. “Seeing all these people from the past three years in one room, they all in some way, somehow impacted my life – I love it; seeing everybody together like that brings joy to my heart.”

As a freshman, Tillery attended Lake Brantley High School in Florida. He competed in track and field as a way to train for football in the off-season. He quickly fell in love with track and field. He transferred to Windham High School as a sophomore where he faced adversity early on and felt like he didn’t fit in. It was Windham’s athletic program that opened big arms for him, to which he is forever grateful.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure; I’ve worked with Marcus for three years,” said boys’ track and field coach Paula Pock. “He picks up his entire team; he picks up his entire league; we can go to any meet and Marcus knows just about everyone, they all have to check in on him, it’s like one big family. His work ethic and commitment are great examples of what coaches want in their athletes. Once he leaves, there are going to be some big shoes to fill at Windham, but his positive role-modeling will last for many, many seasons.”

Tillery chose the University of Southern Maine because in talking to the players and the coaches there, they all seemed like a family; very supportive of each other. He said the coaches were phenomenal and are all USM alumni, so they know what it feels like to be in his shoes.

“His work ethic, like pushing us all ... the way to states, no matter who you are, what you do, he's always going to push you,” said Windham senior track and field teammate Aiden Hanson. “He's going to bring out the best in all his teammates, no matter what, just a great person all around. He’s going to uplift people even as a freshman.”

Tillery said it felt great to sign his letter of intent. He said he loves getting the opportunity to compete at the next level and knows not everyone gets that chance. He’s excited and can’t wait to start.

“I met Marcus as a sophomore,” said varsity football coach Matt Perkins. “Big personality, right away the way he talks to people at their level looks you in the eye, is as real as the day is long. He’s very kind, does anything for anybody and is a phenomenal teammate. This year he had a great year in football – he had many yards and touchdowns, he was more impactful as a person, because of who he is and what he is and what he stands for. What he’s done in the classroom from day one to now is very impressive ... he put the time in to get the grades and now he’s moving on. I’m proud of him and feel very, very fortunate to have coached him.”

Tillery’s advice to underclassmen is to know your priorities.

“Don’t take the classroom lightly,” said Tillery. “You’re a student and then you’re an athlete. Care about your academics, go to class every day, respect your teachers, respect everyone ... be a great student in the classroom and a great person in the community. Be a good example – lead by example.”

Tillery said he would like to thank Coach Pock, Coach Flaherty, Coach Blood and give a special thank you to Coach Perkins, and Coach Estey. <

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