ORONO – He starred in the highlight that made ESPN’s Top 10 plays.

But when Chris Treister is finally done with the University of Maine, he will have much more like a master of business administration degree.

Treister, a senior from Cape Elizabeth, and a Portland High alum, has put in maximum effort on campus, in the classroom and with football.

Not everything has worked out the way he’d like, but Treister will walk away a success.

“He’s done all the things. Attention in the meetings, intensity, practice habits, leadership, performance,” Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove said. “It’s a tribute to the kid. He’s been like this ever since he’s been here. Rock-solid student-athlete and young man. We’re fortunate to have him.”

Unfortunately for Treister, the Black Bears also have Warren Smith, who transferred to Maine in 2009 after his school, Iona, dropped football.

The two have battled for the starting quarterback job the last two years, with Smith winning out, barely, each time.

“This whole quarterback thing was as close and difficult a decision as you could have imagined,” Cosgrove said. “I’d like to think if it went the other way, we’d still have the same success.

“When the decision was made, it didn’t taste very good for him, I’m sure.”

No, it didn’t. But Treister had experience with disappointment. He learned from it.

“Something I’ve been through for a few years now,” Treister said. “Being a veteran on the team, I knew it couldn’t affect me in a negative way, like it has in the past.

“I had to take my role and go with it, continue to work hard and do the things I’ve done since I’ve been here. Take my opportunities when they come.”

So far this season, those opportunities have come on special teams as the holder for field goals and extra points. Three times, Maine has run fakes that have resulted in scores.

The most dramatic one came on Oct. 8, in overtime against James Madison. JMU scored first in OT to take a 24-17 lead. The Black Bears responded with a touchdown, closing to 24-23.

On the conversion, the Black Bears lined up in their “muddle formation” with the offensive linemen set to the far left of the center, and Treister standing in the backfield, as if to receive a long hike.

Normally such formations end up with the linemen returning to their usual spots and the team kicking the ball.

But Treister had options.

“The ball can be snapped to the left, to a running back for a running play,” explained Treister. “Or we can shift (to a regular formation), kick the ball and tie the game.

“Or, the third thing, which I did, was roll out with a run/pass option.”

Screaming out the play in an extremely loud JMU stadium, Treister received the shotgun, rolled right and then charged to the end zone. He was hit hard at the 2. He flipped, twirling like a helicopter blade, and landed in the end zone — winning the game 25-24 and making the ESPN highlights.

That game may turn out to be the key to the Black Bears (7-2) reaching the NCAA playoffs.

Treister is a redshirt senior, which means he sat out a season and has had five years to complete his degree. Treister knew right away he wanted to use those five years.

“A lot of people, unfortunately, don’t take advantage of the opportunities, academically, that are presented here,” Treister said.

Having earned a bachelor’s in international affairs last spring, Treister enrolled in an MBA program this fall.

He’ll continue to be ready on the sidelines if Smith is injured, or if a special play on special teams is needed.

And more notably, Treister will have two degrees when he leaves campus.

 

UMAINE HOCKEY will try to rebound from a pair of losses last weekend, with home games against UMass-Lowell tonight and Saturday.

The River Hawks (3-3, 1-2 in Hockey East) were swept by Boston College two weeks ago but rebounded last Saturday with a 7-1 thumping of Boston University.

Maine (3-4-1, 3-3) looked overmatched against BC last Friday in a 5-1 loss, then improved Saturday but still lost to New Hampshire, 3-2.

 

UMAINE WOMEN’S basketball opens its season at 7 p.m. tonight at Central Connecticut State.

The Blue Devils, a 62-57 winner at Maine last year, are coming off a 19-11 season but lost all five starters.

Maine is in an even more of a rebuilding effort under first-year coach Richard Barron, who has taken over a team that went 4-25 last season.

Samantha Wheeler, a 6-foot senior and an America East all-conference selection in 2009-10, is still out indefinitely, dealing with the effects of a concussion suffered last November.

Rachele Burns, a 5-6 junior guard from Gorham, will likely not see playing time right away while she recovers from her fourth knee surgery.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH