EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 22, 2013

Saluting our area's Unsung Heroes

Michael Muldoon
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Saluting the overachievers, the quiet leaders and the often overlooked athletes in local high school sports.

Coaches or ADs should send nominations to Unsung Heroes writer Michael Muldoon at mmuldoon@eagletribune.com.

ROSIE RODRIGUEZ

Methuen Basketball

The Movement

“Rosie has improved immensely over the past year. She works extremely hard on the court and in the classroom,” said Rangers coach Karen McLaughlin.

Rodriguez proudly notes she made high honors for the first time last semester and hiked her class rank to 36th in a class of 451. Not too bad for someone who didn’t speak English until age 8.

Her career highlight was making the state tourney this winter and winning the tourney opener.

She’s been accepted to UMass Dartmouth, Colby-Sawyer, Anna Maria and Worcester State and hopes to play college basketball. Rodriguez is active with the group TMF: The Movement.

This spring she’ll be a co-captain in softball. She’s also a cashier at Stop and Shop.

GARRETT UPSON

North Andover Basketball

Right On

“Garrett did everything right for two years,” said North Andover coach Mike McVeigh. “Ask the starters and they will tell you nobody works harder than Garrett. Talk to him for three minutes and you’ll feel good about high school sports.”

The powerful 5-10, 177-pound guard was touched when Knight stars Derek Collins and Chris Bardwell offered to sit so he could start on Senior Night.

Upson, who is also a sprinter on the spring track team, works at Olympia Sports in Seabrook and was featured in the company magazine.

He was accepted to LaSell in Newton, Anna Maria, Endicott and Westfield St. In his free time he enjoys lifting weights and kayaking and boating with his father (Paul) and younger brother (6th-grader Christopher).

NICOLE FABER

Central Catholic Gymnastics

No. 2 Tries Harder

The sophomore from Salem is ranked second in her class. She won the Next in Merit Award and the French gold medal and scored in the top two percent on her PSATs.

Raider coach Heather Fusco said, “She’s very soft spoken but always stepped up to the plate. She’s a real team player. If we needed her for an event, we’d ask her and she did it. She’s just a really nice kid.”

Faber is a second-generation Raider. Her father, Scott Faber, and uncle attended the school and her aunt went to the old St. Mary’s in Lawrence. She’s a talented artist who is a member of the art club.

Nicole enjoys skiing at Okemo and hiking with her family. The Fabers’ most challenging climb was Mount Major in New Hampshire’s Belknap Mountains.

LUIS SEVERINO

Lawrence Wrestling

Tip-top Shape

As a freshman, Severino was 5-4, 170 pounds, and looked nothing like a wrestler. Now he’s 5-7 and wrestled at 120.

“It was just working out all the time,” explained Severino, who was one of the Lancer captains. “I’m wrestling in the offseason and eating healthy. I used to eat a lot of chocolate .... Snickers and Butterfingers.”

He was born in Puerto Rico and says his biggest challenge was learning English. He also runs the mile on the track team, is a member of Student Council and works at the Children’s Center day care in Methuen.

He has signed up for the Marine Corps and will be heading to Parris Island in late June.

“He’s respectful and hard working and will be very successful,” said coach Rob Niceforo.

RIZKY RIYANTO

Lawrence Wrestling

Rizky Business

Riyanto spent his first eight years living in Indonesia. He’s lived in Lawrence since age 10.

The senior, one of five Lancer captains, didn’t begin wrestling until sophomore year.

“My friend, Adrian Collado, told me to try out,” he said. “That maybe I could be good. I just enjoy getting my hand raised when I win. It’s so satisfying.”

He said the highlight of his season was vs. North Andover when he needed a late reversal for the comeback win. He was all set for a big performance at North Sectionals when an injury ended his season.

Riyanto works as a busboy at Thyme Japanese Cuisine in North Andover.

“He’s just an awesome kid,” said Lawrence coach Rob Niceforo.