Brevin McCool not only is a fierce competitor in baseball, but for most of his educational career he has also been in competition for the Hobbs High salutatorian or valedictorian spot with classmate Shelly Driskill.
Even though competition plays a big part in his day-to-day life, service to others also takes center stage often, though he humbly doesn’t like to tout his accomplishments.
Brevin is an executive officer in the National Honor Society, is active in the student council and is the vice president of the Speak Love, anti-bullying program — which he has been a part of since his sophomore year. In addition he takes on community service projects and volunteers with school nurses and participates in the Scrubby Bear elementary school hygiene program.
Being self motivated has not only helped Brevin in his chase of academic excellence, but also in other areas of his life, including baseball.
“It makes me feel good to work hard and see myself succeed because of my hard work,” Brevin told the News-Sun. “I put myself in a position to earn what I’ve got, rather than just having it given to me.”
On the diamond, Brevin plays shortstop, which is generally considered to be a leadership position on the field — something he doesn’t take lightly.
“You have to be willing to be a leader as a shortstop,” he said. “Being in that position puts me right in the middle of the field and lead the team as best I can.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously colored the past two school years, but Brevin said he has made the best of the situation.
“I don’t think any of it is anything we could have ever expected, but once it got here, it kind of became the norm,” Brevin said, noting he was still able to play baseball in the summer.
“I played a bunch of baseball in the summer, so traveling around was a little different and we weren’t able to play in some of the places we normally were (able to play),” Brevin said. “Then, starting back up at school, the season usually starts at the end of February, but we didn’t get to start until mid to late April, so that was definitely different. It really threw off everything — some of the traditions we have as a sports team we haven’t been able to do.”
As far as recruitment for baseball, that has been thrown off too, Brevin said.
“It’s made everything quite a bit more of a mess than it would have been,” he said. “(COVID has definitely made a big impact on every aspect of it.”
Although he loves playing baseball, Brevin intends to pursue a career in medicine — most likely sports medicine, and is looking forward to his education in that field. He has offers on the table or been in talks with several universities, including Baylor, Lubbock Christian, the University of Iowa, and the University of the Incarnate Word and weighs the academic portion as heavily as baseball in any decision.
“I’m definitely looking at the academics of all of them and not just basing my decision solely on baseball,” Brevin said.
Whatever university Brevin chooses, he is in a unique position. He is the recipient of a JF Maddox distinguished scholarship that will allow him to attend any school of his choice.
While he hasn’t committed to a particular university at this point, the University of Iowa is in his top prospects. Not only because they can offer Brevin a chance to play baseball but they also have a nationally recognized medical program.
“At this point, they’ve shown pretty significant baseball interest in me and expressed interest in me going to see (the campus),” Brevin said. “They have the second biggest medical school in the country. That’s a big deal to me and I think it would be a good fit. … I think it puts me in a good situation, as do the others. It’s an academic decision for whatever is going to put me in the best position.”
While he is a naturally gifted baseball player, it is also something important to him that he loves. This year he has batting average of around .738, with a high school career batting average of about .340. He also leads the team in runs batted in and has an on base percentage of around .500.
Baseball also has many metaphor for life Brevin takes to heart.
“After my sophomore season of high school, I had Tommy John surgery on my elbow,” Brevin said of a surgery that usually has a long recovery time of 12-18 months. “I took that as a challenge and I worked as hard as I could and I made it back in eight months on the dot. Overcoming that adversity was an eye opener and showed me that whether it is academics, or sports, or having a job in the future, work ethic is what’s going to separate me and put me in the best position I can be in.”
The race for valedictorian was so close it came down to the wire right at graduation — much like a baseball game going to the bottom of the ninth inning. For the senior class of 2021, Brevin has garnered the salutatorian position in the class by the thin margin of .075 of a grade point average. Brevin’s GPA of 105.101 was barely outpaced by Shelly’s 105.176 GPA.
Still the race for who would ultimately claim what title has played a back seat to what Brevin has tried to accomplish in his academic career.
“Both of us aren’t really motivated by each other, it’s more of a self-motivation we each have to keep our grades up for ourselves and prepare ourselves for the future,” Brevin humbly said before placings were announced. “It’s been nice to have someone right there who has been pushing me, but at the same time, I don’t think that’s why either of us have been (competing for the top class spot).”
Shelly said the competition between Brevin and herself has always been friendly.
“We’ve gone to school together forever. We went to the same elementary school, same middle school, same high school. We’ve literally always been in school together.” Shelly said. “It’s been a really long healthy competition, it’s always been neck-and-neck. But, there was never any animosity, we were always friends. … Congratulations to both of us, we’ve both done well.”
“I think it’s really a testament to both of our work ethic,” Brevin said.