EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 26, 2012

Saluting the Unsung Heroes in area sports

Michael Muldoon
The Eagle-Tribune

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

Brian Whinery

PMA Cross Country

Always On The Go

Whinery is constantly on the go. He plans to play basketball this winter and he also enjoys soccer, karate, swimming, hiking, biking, skating, boogie boarding and snowboarding.

So why cross country?

“Mrs. Paula O’Dea, the principal of my previous school, thought I’d be good at it,” said Whinery, a graduate of St. Augustine’s in Andover.

Coach Brian Martin said, “Brian is a talented athlete, extremely coachable, and an even nicer young man. He only knows one way, and that’s to give 110 percent effort every time.”

Of course the freshman from Tewksbury is tough. His father is an Army Reservist and his mother is an Army veteran.

Whinery would like to become an engineer.

Coral Robinson

Greater Lawrence Tech Soccer

Perfect 10

Robinson, a senior defender from Methuen, is ranked 10th in a class of 310. She’s captain of the girls soccer team and the swim team. Sophomore year she played on the Greater Lawrence boys soccer team.

Robinson has been out the last few days with an unusual injury. After giving blood, she fainted and suffered a concussion.

Robinson loves to read. She estimates she reads about 40 books a year and particularly enjoys the author Ellen Hopkins. Coral also is a prolific writer including songs.

Robinson, a Reggie Leader and member of the National Honor Society, works at Canobie Lake.

Emily Mallard

Pelham Cross Country

Defies the Odds

Last Sunday, which was three years to the day after a bad hip injury (torn labrum) nearly ended her running career, Mallard ran a half-marathon.

“It’s amazing,” said Mallard, “Now I’m beating times I ran before the injury.”

Like her two older brothers Ben and Tim were, Emily is a year-round runner.

She does well in the classroom — ranked 35th in a class of 140 — and has been an active participant in student government all four years.

Emily’s love is horses. The equestrian rides and trains “Jazzy” and works at Patch Wood Farm in Sandown and Wignall Animal Hospital in Dracut. She plans on pursuing pre-veterinary studies at UNH or Colby-Sawyer.

Logan Sherwood

Pentucket Soccer

Logan’s Run

Sherwood went from sophomore starter in net to a junior reserve this year with nary a complaint.

“He’s always pushing himself and the starter to get better,” said Sachem coach Christian Langlois.

The tennis team obviously recognizes leadership skills. Sherwood is captain-elect despite playing JV last year.

Logan has done the school’s morning announcements the last two years, always making sure to include his Snapple Fun Fact of the Day. He also is in the school theater and has volunteered at the Emmaus House homeless shelter in Haverhill since seventh grade. He’s close to earning Eagle Scout honors.

Not surprisingly, the personable Merrimac resident plans to study communications in college.

Steven Gieng

Greater Lawrence Football

Two-Way Threat

“He leads by example,” said coach Tony Sarkis. “He’s the first guy at practice. He always takes the leadership role. He’s a real unselfish kid. He’s always the first one to help out.”

The 5-7, 200-pounder from Lawrence is a first-year starter and he’s starting at center and middle linebacker.

A top student, Gieng is ranked 22nd in a class of about 400. He’s a mathlete, a member of the National Honor Society and a Reggie Leader peer leader.

He’s studying automotive technology and during the summer he helped out at his father’s company, Phu Hardwood Floorings.

Gieng is applying to Merrimack, BC and a few technical schools. He hopes to study mechanical engineering.

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