EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

January 24, 2013

Haverhill High looks to add rowing, girls ice hockey team

Senior leads effort to add crew to sports program

HAVERHILL — Haverhill High senior Emily Lawler took up rowing when she was a freshman and now considers it to be a major part of her life.

To compete with her rowing crew, she travels to the Greater Lawrence Rowing Club in South Lawrence, where she’s the only rower from Haverhill.

Despite Haverhill’s location on the Merrimack River, the city’s high school has never had a crew team. Plans are the works to change that, however.

Lawler, 18, is leading the effort.

She gave a presentation in her classical academy class last week on how to start a crew program. The Haverhill High classical academy offers high-level classes to challenge students. Athletic Director Tom O’Brien and Superintendent James Scully sat in on Lawler’s presentation — and not just for fun.

“It’s another thing students can use for scholarships and to get into college,” Scully said at a recently School Committee meeting, while briefing members on the district’s interest in establishing a rowing program.

O’Brien said the high school is hoping to launch not only a rowing program next year, but also girls ice hockey.

“We haven’t expanded the athletic program since we started lacrosse about eight years ago,” O’Brien said. “We already have the two most important ingredients for a successful rowing and girls ice hockey program — a river and an ice rink at the high school.”

The city’s Veterans Memorial Rink is behind Haverhill High. The school’s boys team and teams from other area high schools practice and play games there.

O’Brien said students and parents have been clamoring for girls ice hockey for some time. There’s already a girl on the well-established boys team, he said.

“There’s a lot of interest in girls ice hockey, and we’d like to offer it next year,” O’Brien said, adding the Hillies might partner with Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School or North Andover High to put a girls team on the ice.

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