EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 28, 2013

Memory Lane: Cena's meteoric rise to the top of the wrestling world

Memory Lane
Chuck Frye

---- — Late in 2001, John Cena strode into a wrestling ring in Louisville, Ky., to do battle. Four fans were in attendance.

Fast forward to this week in 2003 and the West Newbury native was hurtling into the stratosphere of World Wrestling Entertainment, headlining three matches over four days in Worcester, Burlington, Vt., and Manchester.

“It’s an incredible coincidence and I’m ready to take advantage of it,” said Cena. “This is crazy, dog. The biggest match of my life, in my hometown.”

The “Doctor of Thugonomix” took on Brock Lesnar for the WWE Smackdown Championship, a meteoric rise considering he hadn’t even spent a year with WWE at the time.

“A lot of it is luck,” said Cena. “You’re only given certain opportunities, like in life. It’s up to you to do what you can to take advantage of them.”

Cena’s love of hip-hop and his rapping prowess got him noticed, starting out as “Vanilla Ice” on a Halloween card, growing rapidly into the international star he has now become.

But in 2003, Cena was “cruising in minivans and crashing at Super 8. Like a lot of guys in this company, I’m busting my (hump), but it’s only because we love what we do.”

Because of his persistence, and success, better things did come John Cena’s way. And quickly.

10 years ago: Hits hard to come by against local trio

Pitchers are usually ahead of hitters in April play, but this was ridiculous.

Ten years ago, a trio of area hurlers were lights out.

Salem’s Krista Michalczyk, who had already committed to play at UConn next season, tossed a perfect game at Winnacunnet then, seven days later, duplicated the feat against Memorial.

“It’s an incredible feat,” said Blue Devil head coach Harold Sachs. “I told her after the game that its probably something I’ll never see again in my coaching career.”

Lindsay Farmer had a perfect game going into the seventh inning before yielding a pair of walks, but both runners were erased as the freshman faced the minimum 21 Inter-Lakes batters in Sanborn’s 3-0 victory.

In baseball, Haverhill’s Ryan Mooradian threw seven hitless innings against Methuen before departing in an eventual 2-1, eight-inning victory over Methuen. He then took the hill against Lawrence and threw seven more innings of no-hit ball.

The Lancers used two walks, an error and a sacrifice fly to send the game into extra innings, but an error on Axel Flecha’s single scored Andrew Ryan in the eighth and Flecha worked a perfect bottom of the frame to close out the community no-hitter.

10 years ago: Wentworth dazzles for Knights

Jon Wentworth shut out Rockport on six hits in North Andover’s 1-0 victory. … After a 3-19 season the year before, Andover used the speed and bunting skills of freshman Paul Malaguti to defeat Central Catholic, 7-3, and move to 4-2. … Jesse Jimenez held Minuteman to just one hit and delivered three of his own as Greater Lawrence won its fourth straight, 8-0. … Nick Reusch drove in four runs with a single and double as Methuen edged Lowell, 9-8. … Drew Vetere’s three-run double made the difference in Pentucket’s 9-7 win over Newburyport. … Brian Lewis fanned 11 as North Reading snuck past Masconomet, 3-1. … Terry Doyle shackled Memorial to just one hit, earning his third victory as Salem took the 2-0 decision. …

Ashley Williams’s two-out, seventh-inning double scored Whittier’s winning run in a 8-7 decision over Hamilton-Wenham. … Joan Polanco and Marlenny Mejia drove in two runs apiece in Greater Lawrence’s 13-11 win over Minuteman. … Winning pitcher Megan O’Connor, Michelle Polys and Sarah Swales homered as Georgetown routed Hamilton-Wenham, 11-0. … Renee Clavette gave up one hit as Timberlane blanked Winnacunnet, 5-0. …

Andover scored the game’s first two goals before North Andover stormed back behind Jim Connolly (7 goals, 2 assists) to roll, 17-7. …

Huge saves from Jennie Williams allowed Andover to subdue Algonquin, 11-8 and move to 7-0 on the season. …

Gillian Mundry won three events to help Central Catholic beat Billerica 84-52. …

Cameron Day had 13 kills and was 12 of 13 serving in Andover’s 30-25, 30-22 win over Lawrence. …

The Cape Ann League and Northeastern Conference come one step closer to merging for boys ice hockey, creating a three-tiered league. … After accepting what he believed was a “temporary position” 35 years before, Georgetown athletic director Al Haddad announced his retirement.

20 years ago: Solomon, Lawrence win big

Andrea Solomon allowed just three hits over six innings as Lawrence beat Haverhill, 7-1. … Sanborn pounded out 24 hits to defeat Timberlane, 32-15, in a six-inning, mercy-rule contest. Wendy Wojtkowski and Sarah Mills drove in five runs each for the Indians. …

With several big league scouts in attendance, Justin Hesenius gave them something to watch as he tossed five innings of three-hit, eight-strikeout ball in Andover’s 11-0 win over Haverhill. The Hillies bounced back on Chris Twombly’s complete-game, 12-strikeout effort on the mound and four-hit, four-RBI plate production, routing Dracut, 13-4. … Mike Greaney held Masconomet to three hits, fanning 13 in Pentucket’s 10-0 blowout. … With three RBIs from Alan Blackington and two more from Pat Flaherty, Central Catholic beat Billerica 14-6. … Greg Bean’s bases-loaded double locked up Georgetown’s 11-5 win against North Reading. … Mike King struck out 11 Sanborn batters, giving up two hits as Timberlane rolled to a 5-2 victory. …

Steve Shepard won the triple jump (43-2) and 200 (23.5) to lead Andover to the Haverhill Invitational track championship. Ipswich’s Brett Budzinski, who now lives in North Andover, set a new meet record in the 400, covering the distance in 49.7 seconds.

40 years ago: Lowell Tech hires Stone

Atkinson’s Jim Stone was named the new athletic director at Lowell Technological Institute, replacing the retiring Rusty Yarnell after 46 years. ...

Two hits apiece from Bob Carey and Ken Gosselin sent Pentucket to its second win in three starts, 7-2 over North Andover. … Steve Hamel’s grand slam was the key blow in Georgetown’s 9-3 verdict over Manchester. … Tom Hartery homered in North Reading’s 5-4 win over Amesbury. … Jerry Robinson struck out 14 and pounded out four hits as Sanborn blew out St. Marie, 12-2. …

Behind three hits each from Marlene Kendall, Ross Millard, Ann Goyette and Kathy Schneider, Timberlane blitzed Alvirne, 26-4. … Nancy Harriman rapped out three hits while Karen Chabot, Debbie Deveau and Sharon Lynch added a pair apiece as Haverhill got past Lynn English, 8-6. …

Matt Crompton set two new Timberlane school track records, winning the 120-yard high hurdles (15.4) and 180-yard low hurdles (20.8) in a Southern N.H. meet. … Bob Strout led a Haverhill sweep in the 880 as the Hillies dismantled Lynn English, 107-16. …

Pat McGonagle had a medalist even-par 36 as Haverhill defeated Central Catholic in golf, 6½-2½.