WEST NEWBURY — Gus Flaherty always looked up to his older cousin Pat Beaton. He grew up watching the former Pentucket three-sport standout star in football, basketball and baseball, and upon reaching high school he largely followed in Beaton’s footsteps.
After Beaton graduated from Pentucket in 2015, he went on to do a post-grad year at Williston Northampton before committing to play baseball at Bates College. Now, after wrapping up a stellar high school career of his own, Flaherty plans to emulate his cousin one more time by doing his own post-grad year to hone his athletic talents further before college.
“He’s like a brother to me, I’ve always looked up to him and that had a huge influence on me eventually doing that,” Flaherty said. “He gave me the ins and outs and I thought the extra year would be good for me to mature and improve in all those aspects.”
Flaherty will attend Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, located shortly west of Fitchburg in north central Massachusetts. Though not initially the school he expected to land at, Flaherty said he contacted by coach Ryan Suchanek, who coaches the school’s football and baseball teams, and was sold after visiting the campus.
“He reached out to my dad during football, so that wasn’t the first school we looked at and it’s definitely not where I thought I’d end up going, but once I got to campus I loved it,” Flaherty said. “The people there were awesome, and when I had to make a decision it was a no brainer.”
A longtime three-sport athlete, Flaherty enjoyed a terrific senior year at Pentucket. He was the starting quarterback for Pentucket football and led the Sachems to the Division 5 North semifinals, was one of the Cape Ann League’s top point guards in basketball, and earned Daily News All-Star honors as Pentucket baseball’s starting shortstop. His teams won or shared CAL championships in all three sports.
Upon reaching Cushing, Flaherty plans to continue playing all three sports for as long as he’s able. He expects to primarily play football and baseball, though he hopes to stay involved in basketball even though he’s realistic about his ability to make the school’s high-powered varsity squad.
“They bring in a lot of kids bound for Division 1, so maybe I could get a spot on a team and work with those guys, and that would make me a lot better,” he said. “But football and baseball are the main sports.”
This summer Flaherty has been working hard to prepare for Cushing, spending a lot of time in the weight room to gear up for football. He’s also playing legion baseball with the Newburyport Post 150 team, and later this month intends to attend a baseball showcase at UMass Boston that he hopes will help get him exposed to more college coaches.
He’s also working a summer job with JumpStart Youth Connection, a local camp for underprivileged kids, alongside a handful of other recent Pentucket graduates.
Down the road, Flaherty expects he’ll probably narrow his focus to baseball for college, saying it’s the most realistic option and was always his first love. He expects to play Division 3, and though he hasn’t toured any colleges yet, he can see himself landing at a NESCAC school.
“Obviously that’s what my cousin ended up doing and it’s probably where I could get my best education too,” he said.