EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 12, 2012

Unsung Heroes: Saluting local overachievers

Michael Muldoon mmuldoon@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Mikayla Guthrie

North Andover Soccer

What’s up, Doc?

Coach Bud McCarthy gave her the nickname “Doc” because her great-grandfather was the doctor who delivered the coach! Her grandfather and aunt also are doctors.

The sophomore, unfortunately, has seen too many doctors of late. But she’s returned from a bad back injury which sidelined her in the spring and is now starring for the Knights.

McCarthy said she knows just one speed: “all out.” That’s true in track, too. She helped the Knights’ indoor 4x200 relay team reach the New Englands.

Doc is from a soccer family. Her father, David, played at Winchester High and her grandfather, Alois Brommer of Bradford, played in Germany.

Guthrie, a homecoming volunteer, loves skiing and “NCIS” and her sports idols are Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.

Kirstin Alfonso

Methuen Soccer

Midfield Menace

Coach Peter Kitsos said of Alfonso: “She is the hardest worker. She challenges for every ball. With her, we are very competitive in the middle of the field. Without her, we need to work extra hard to cover the spaces.”

Alfonso has been sidelined the last two weeks with a high ankle sprain but hopes to return soon.

The quad-captain, a four-year starter, lists as her career highlight helping Methuen make the state tourney her freshman year.

Alfonso, who spent her first eight years in Tampa, is ranked 10th academically in the senior class. The three-sport captain (soccer, indoor track, outdoor track) hopes to study kinesielogy at UConn or URI.

In her free time she enjoys hiking, watching “NCIS” and listening to country singer Luke Bryant.

Steven Wojciechowski

Greater Lawrence

Tech Cross Country

At Long Last

Reggie coaches knew “Wojo” was an athlete, but until this year the senior never did a school sport. He’s done karate (green belt) and mixed martial arts, a sport he continues to pursue.

“His times have come way down,” said cross country coach Jay Santomassino. “He’s gone from 30 to 22 minutes in the 5K.”

A workout fanatic, Wojciechowski often trains with a weighted backpack. The plumbing major can do 75 push-ups.

Wojciechowski, who lives in Methuen, said, “Cross country has been pretty fun. I’m not the best runner but I try my hardest.”

Steven, who was honored for his high MCAS scores, works at New England Seafood Restaurant in Methuen. He enjoys Bruce Lee movies and heavy metal music.

Mikaela MacKinnon

Timberlane Volleyball

Volleyball Fanatic

Mikaela is not only a key reserve for the Owls, but she also has designed the team T-shirts for the last three years and does the statistics for the freshman team.

The senior defensive specialist is a four-year letterman who has always exceeded expectations.

“(Volleyball) didn’t come easily,” said MacKinnon, who’d like to attend Quinnipiac or Endicott. “I was told I couldn’t play when I was younger. I want to prove people wrong.”

“She’s a does-everything-extra type of kid,” said coach Sean Hogan. “She’s always in the gym.”

So it makes sense that the tri-captain aspires to be a trainer/physical therapist.

MacKinnon, who also plays softball, has worked the last two years at Olympia Sports in her hometown of Plaistow.

Danielle Jillson

North Andover Field Hockey

Making

The Switch

The freshman has seamlessly made the switch from offense to defense.

“She’s played like she’s played the position for five years, not 10 games,” said Scarlet Knights coach Courtney Breen.

A former soccer player, Jillson credits North Andover Booster Club coach Georgia Whalen for helping her fall in love with the sport.

Danielle’s older brother, Alec, was a three-year starter for the Knights in baseball and her sister, Ryann, a senior, is a cheerleader.

The 5-foot-2 Jillson also enjoys basketball, but she doesn’t plan on playing for the high school team. Her favorites include Taylor Swift, “Pretty Little Liars,” Twitter and pizza.

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