Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2017


BIG-LEAGUE BEGINNING Most would say Cameron Balego got his big break when the Chicago Cubs called him up during the 2017 MLB First Year Player Draft. He says it all started with the Saints. Growing up in Pittsburgh, he just didn’t ft the body type or mold that Division I schools wanted. “In high school I was always overlooked,” said Balego, 22, who graduated from Mercyhurst University in May and is currently in Arizona playing rookie ball with the Cubs. “Starting my life not having any teams interested in me… there was a purpose in that. It instilled a work ethic in me. “Every day I had a purpose,” said Balego, who put in extra time in the weight room at Mercyhurst North East and on the feld that frst year, attracting the attention of MU’s baseball program. “I knew what I wanted to do in life. I saw myself playing baseball.” CULTURE FOR GROWTH What does George Custard see when he peers through the microscope? His future. The 33-year-old Meadville resident is a student in the Medical Laboratory Technician program at Mercyhurst North East. He began the program in 2016 after being laid of from his position as a welder at GE. Initially he was just looking for an education that would lead to an in-demand, well-paying job to support his wife and three children. But his passion for pathology is multiplying with each semester.

And play he did. In 2017 Balego had a standout senior campaign with the Lakers as he helped Mercyhurst to a 38-8 overall record. He hit .367 (51-for-139) in 46 games with 14 doubles, 10 home runs, and 48 RBI. He also scored 57 runs and had a .698 slugging percentage. Balego received multiple postseason awards for his senior season, including First Team All-Atlantic Region by the American Baseball Coaches' Association (ABCA) and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA).

Cameron Balego got his start as an infelder with the Mercyhurst North East Saints. He fnished his career with the Lakers this spring and was drafted in June by the Chicago Cubs.

But it’s the brotherhood of playing at Mercyhurst that will stick with him.

“The relationships I made with the guys…they played a huge role and helped me become who I am today,” said Balego, who still wakes up in awe of playing in the organization of the 2016 World Series Champions. “I play for these guys, my family and the man upstairs.

“I’m grateful Mercyhurst and the coaches took a chance on me,” he said. “I’m forever in debt for the opportunity to work hard and make my family, my university and my community proud.”

“I wanted to work behind the scenes and help people,” said Custard, who is fascinated with the work, which involves examining cells, the abnormalities that can occur within and coming up with a diagnosis that can help a patient. “I’m constantly going over my material and trying to give it the best I can.” Custard is already looking beyond graduation in May 2018 to a bachelor’s degree in cyto technology and then a master’s to become a pathology assistant. “I think this program is going to lead to a lot more opportunities to move upwards,” he said.

George Custard is congratulated by Laurie Baker for making the Dean’s List. His goal is to get a 4.0 in the Medical Lab Technician program and go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in cyto technology.


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