Lewiston senior Natalie Beaudoin, front row, second from left, signed Wednesday to play basketball for the University of Vermont. Family and friends with Beaudoin at the signing at Lewiston High School: seated at the table are her father, Brooks Beaudoin, left, mother, Janet, and sister Brooklyn. Standing behind her are her grandmother, Michelle Escobar, Adiola Davids, her AAU coach, Lauren Rousseau, Cooper Beaulieu and Craig Jipson, the former Lewiston girls basketball coach. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Two Lewiston High School students signed National Letters of Intent to play NCAA Division I sports Wednesday. Natalie Beaudoin is headed to the University of Vermont to play basketball and Makenna Drouin is headed to Elon University to run track.

Both athletes said they knew their respective choices were right after visiting the campuses and meeting their soon-to-be teammates and coaching staffs.

“They’re just so supportive, and they’re just awesome,” Beaudoin said. “Also, Vermont’s was very similar to Maine, and I love living in Maine, so it was a pretty easy decision.”

Drouin said that she talked with several schools’ coaching staffs during her recruitment process and while some were “OK,” Elon was just “meant to be,” based on their conversations.

Vermont was Beaudoin’s first offer, which she accepted immediately. She said she didn’t need to hold our for more, because she knew Burlington was the right place.

Neither Lewiston track and field and cross country coach Craig John nor former Lewiston girls basketball coach Craig Jipson were surprised the two were headed to D-I schools and credited their work ethics and roles as team players. Jipson coached Beaudoin for three years, from her freshman year to junior year at Lewiston.


“She’s worked really hard for it,” Jipson said. “She looks the part; she’s a tall kid and she can absolutely light it up. We went to a couple team camps and a lot of the D-II coaches at the team camp thought she’s really a D-I kid. She’s got the ability, and she really put a lot of time into basketball. She traveled all over the country and played against the best competition, and I’m happy for her.”

John said he was pretty choked up during the ceremony, both because of his pride in Drouin and his familial connection to Elon, as he has a niece who is an alumna and many family friends who currently attend school there.

“Elon’s lucky to be getting her,” John said. “She’s going to work really hard. She’s going to do really well. I’m going to be going down there to see her in a meet or two, for sure.”

Lewiston senior Makenna Drouin, center, signed Wednesday to compete for Elon University in track and field. Joining her at the signing in the Lewiston High School gym were her mother, Julie Drouin, and her father David Langelier. Also in attendance was the family dog, Korbin. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Abiola Davids, the coach of Beaudoin’s AAU team, the Maine Firecrackers, said it was “absolutely unbelievable” to watch Beaudoin sign her letter of intent after supporting her during her entire recruiting process. He coached her this spring and has been her trainer for the past three years.

“Last March, if you told me she was going to get an offer from UVM in April, I’d probably say, no she’s about six months away from that happening,” Davids said. “The first day I saw her to that weekend in April, where she just took off, and got the attention of not just UVM, but a lot of other schools in the country.”

Davids said the ability to play at the highest level was always within Beaudoin, but the resiliency and mental toughness that she developed during the most recent season propelled her level of play to where it is now. He also made sure to credit her long-term AAU coach, Chris Fitzpatrick, who coached Natalie since she was young.


Davids said Beaudoin excelled competing in Select 40, which he said is which is “a national, renowned tournament circuit.”

“Being able to play on that stage against some of the best players in the country, and Natalie to be able to hold her own and knock down shots and be the amazing athlete, shooter, teammate, passer, rebounder that she was, it was just awesome to see,” Davids said.

Drouin’s support system included current coaches, family members and even her kindergarten teacher. She said she’s excited to move to warmer weather in the Carolinas, and thinks her mom will get an apartment in the area, since they’re very close. Most notably was her self-proclaimed best friend, her dog Corbin, who was at Wednesday’s signing ceremony and was wearing an Elon University sweatshirt that said “my sister is DI material.”

Drouin has won Class A titles in the 300-meter titles in each of her three years of track, and she won the 100 hurdles titles in the past two state meets. She also holds school records in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles.

When asked which events she’ll run for Elon, Drouin simply said, “all of them.” She said she is excited to have competitors at the higher level, as her biggest competition in Maine has since graduated (Bangor’s Anna Connors, who is now on the University of Connecticut track and field team), leaving Drouin with her toughest competition — herself.

“I’m excited to get more competition than I do around here,” Drouin said. “I traveled some over the summer to get some competition and that was good for girls I went against. They don’t get much either.”

For Beaudoin’s senior season, Jispon said he thinks she will be one of the best players in Maine. As a junior, she averaged 14.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. She made 25 3-pointers, was a 74% free-throw shooter and tallied 35 steals. She played every position on the court in high school, being the tallest player at 6 feet, but she said she was recruited by the Catamounts as a shooting guard.

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