Rachel Foster will attend the University of Maine this fall as a student in its Honors College as part of a seven-year curriculum that will help her become a doctor of osteopathic medicine.
Foster graduated from Houlton High School in June having led the Shiretowners to an Eastern Maine Class C runner-up finish in 2008. The 6-foot-1 forward figured her basketball career was over.
Then, in April, Foster received a phone call from UMaine women’s basketball coach Cindy Blodgett. She asked the BDN All-Maine second-team choice to consider walking on with the Black Bears in the fall.
“I had no intentions on playing basketball,” Foster said. “Coach Blodgett contacted me and asked me if I would like to attempt to walk on and I gave it some thought and said, ‘yeah, why not.'”
Foster, who averaged 23.5 points and 14.2 rebounds last winter for coach Shawn Graham’s Shiretowners, will attempt to earn a roster spot during training camp.
Blodgett confirmed only that Foster is enrolled at UMaine and will have an opportunity to try and make the team.
Walk-ons are given the chance to try out for a team and prove they are good enough without the promise of any scholarship money.
There are no guarantees for Foster, who made it clear academics are her top priority.
The accelerated binary degree program in which she is enrolled will enable her to earn an undergraduate degree at UMaine in three years, then attend the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine’s four-year doctoral program.
“Hopefully, basketball will help me out as far as time management skills and discipline,” Foster said. “[Coach] Blodgett told me what it comes down to is what kind of social life you want to have. That’s what she told me in a very straightforward manner.”
Foster is fully aware balancing her academic load and trying to become a Division I athlete will be a challenge. It is one she is willing to try.
“Mentally I prepared myself, but I just need to get down there and see what it’s actually going to be like,” she said.
The slightly built Foster should have no problem handling the rigors of preseason training. She is an avid runner.
“I like running better than basketball,” said Foster, who runs a maximum of 10 miles in a day. “I get 42 miles in a week.”
Foster amassed 1,493 points, 1,027 rebounds and 442 blocked shots in her Houlton career. She has traveled to Orono a few times this summer to play pickup ball with the UMaine team.
Graham believes she has the ability to make the grade at UMaine.
“She’s been able to play against some of them, try to get a feel for things,” Graham said. “She has the talent. She’s going to give it a shot and see what the commitment is all about.”
UMaine’s Balsinde earns honor
UMaine pitcher Alejandro Balsinde is coming off an impressive summer in the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
The righthander from Miami, who will be a senior this fall, was recently selected as the NECBL’s Most Improved Player.
Pitching for the Vermont Mountaineers, Balsinde set the league record by making 26 appearances. He posted a 2-1 record with a 1.42 earned run average.
Balsinde struck out 21 and walked five, allowing only 24 hits and six runs in 25 1/3 innings. Opposing batters hit only .255 against him.
Balsinde did not allow an earned run in his last 17 appearances of the season dating back to July 4.
Last spring, the slender righty struggled to a 2-7 record with a 6.26 ERA for the Bears.
UMaine football Fan Day today
Head coach Jack Cosgrove and the UMaine football team will reach out to youngsters in the Greater Bangor community this evening when it holds its Fan Day at Alfond Stadium.
The free event, which is open to public, runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Cosgrove will conduct an hour-long football clinic, for players entering eighth grade and younger, starting at 5:30.
Fans will then be able to meet their favorite Black Bear players, get autographs and talk with members of the UMaine staff during the second hour.
Everyone who attends will receive a free 2008 UMaine football poster along with free hot dogs, soda and water.
Fans who haven’t preregistered may sign up at the event. For more information, contact Jeff Wildey at 581-4849 or Jeff.Wildey@umit.maine.edu.