Cory Bright took a road less traveled through his athletic career at Bishop Fenwick. A string of injuries forced Bright, a two-sport athlete in baseball and football, to stare adversity in the eye as he watched his teammates battle without him in both sports.
But he made it through that chapter of his life and, more importantly, learned from it.
Now Bright’s on to his next endeavor at The Winchendon School, where he’ll do a postgraduate year in hopes of landing a baseball scholarship.
“Baseball has been my best and favorite sport,” Bright, a Melrose native who played the infield in baseball and quarterback in football, said. “Because of the injuries I suffered sophomore and junior year, those seasons were taken from me. I didn’t have many opportunities to continue playing at the next level after senior year. I wanted to give myself another opportunity to improve and see what happens.”
Bright made his decision official in February after speaking with Winchendon School baseball coach John Toffey. Like Bright, other players have joined the team at Winchendon hoping to make a name for themselves while catching the eyes of college coaches.
“I talked to Coach Toffey a lot,” Bright said. “He gave me an understanding of what the team’s like and the culture. I know a couple of kids going in with the same situation. Just being able to give guys another crack at it during the postgraduate year’s very important.”
At Winchendon, Bright will team up with his cousin, Jackson, who pitches and plays the outfield. The two have never been teammates.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Bright said. “This summer was the first time I saw him play. I think I’m going to room with Jackson when we get there. He lives in Rhode Island so we’re not as close as we’d like to be. It’s going to be an unbelievable experience. We’re similar kids, we both value academics and athletics. It’ll be really cool to continue to build our relationship.”
Bright’s high school football and baseball careers were plagued by injuries. He missed his entire sophomore and junior baseball seasons. On the gridiron, Bright was sidelined for the majority of his junior season and missed five games during his senior campaign. He underwent wrist surgery as a sophomore, tore his ACL during his junior year and separated his shoulder midway through his senior football season.
Through the ups and downs, Bright learned from his experiences.
“Facing that adversity you have to look in the mirror and get a good look at who you are,” Bright said. “I saw myself and said, ‘I need to get back.’ That’s been a motivating factor for me. There’s nothing like a team experience. There’s nothing like being able to contribute on the field and build relationships with your teammates.”
Bright made his way into the history books as one of Fenwick’s best quarterbacks of all time. His 4,185 career passing yards are a school record and his 5,647 career all-purpose yards rank him third in program history. He helped Fenwick reach the Division 6 North semifinal during his senior season.
“We had a good year,” Bright said. “I only played six games but I felt I made the most of it. We competed every single game. It was fun to get back. Just sitting back was killing me. My main goal was to get back and contribute, and I feel I accomplished that.”
After missing two seasons, Bright rejoined the baseball team as a senior in time for one of the program’s best postseason runs. In a memorable send-off for his high school sports career, Bright and the Crusaders came two wins away from winning the Division 3 state championship.
“That was awesome,” Bright said. “Especially with baseball, I still stuck with the team. I wanted to be around the guys. Baseball’s my favorite sport. That’s where my passion’s at. Being able to get back and making a run with the team, it was awesome to be a part of. There’s nothing worse than sitting back and saying, ‘I wish I could be in the game right now.'”
For everything Bright accomplished in athletics, his academic achievements were just as impressive. He graduated this past spring with a 4.43 GPA and was a Moynihan Lumber Student-Athlete of the Month award winner last October.
“My parents have always taught me that academics always come first and athletics come second,” Bright said. “I take that into account in my schooling. My sister was always a good student. I try to get grades that are just as good as hers, if not better. I try to push myself in the classroom.”
Fenwick baseball coach Russ Steeves is confident that Bright’s well-suited to succeed at Winchendon.
“Cory has been a pleasure to coach,” Steeves said. “He has been a great leader to the younger players on and off the field. He’s a grinder, that’s a great way to describe Cory. He’s willing to do whatever the team needs and play wherever the team needs him.”