EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 3, 2013

Saluting our area's Unsung Heroes


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — CHRIS DESJARDINS

Whittier Lacrosse

Fabulous Freshman

The freshman is the surprising Wildcats’ third leading scorer. He hit the ground running with five goals in his first three games. His top move, as the Commonwealth Conference is finding out the hard way, is a face dodge.

“He brings a lot of energy and positivity,” said Whittier coach Ryan Richards. “He’s a great kid. He’s very dedicated.”

The 5-6, 130-pounder from Haverhill is a running back/defensive back in football. His brothers, junior Brandon Desjardins and graduated Corey Walker, both played football for the Wildcats, too.

Desjardins is studying machine tech. His favorites include “Saving Private Ryan,” Tom Brady, Eminem and Ferraris.

In his free time you can find Desjardins hanging out by the fireplace playing Xbox.

ANDY MONTILLA

Central Catholic Baseball

Double Trouble

Montilla’s career highlight was ripping a bases-clearing double in his first varsity at-bat.

“It was like a blur. The next thing I know I was running!” he said.

“He comes to practice each day trying to better his skill set while setting an example of hard work for all our players,” said Raider coach Marc Pelletier.

Montilla is old school on and off the diamond. The senior from Methuen’s favorites include Wu Tang Clan, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and the 1979 movie “The Warriors.” His favorite teacher is math teacher Sully Grella and his favorite food is the steak and cheese calzone at Supreme Pizza.

The former wrestler ran indoor track this winter. In the fall he’ll be attending Curry College.

AMANDA MORIN

Presentation Track

Vast Improvement

The sophomore from Methuen was encouraged to compete this spring by her uncle, Tom Klein, who coaches at Winchester High.

Thankfully, she heeded his advice. Morin already is throwing the javelin 73 feet and also is a consistent scorer in the shot put.

“She’s an extremely hard worker,” said PMA coach Brian Martin. “She’s always looking to technically assist the underclassmen.”

Morin, who her friends call Mander, also plays volleyball and basketball. She’s a stage manager for the school play and a member of the chorus.

Her favorites include “The Blind Side,” strawberries, “Criminal Minds” and the Bruins’ Zdeno Chara.

EMMA YATES

Haverhill Track

Smart and Talented

Yates is ranked No. 2 in the junior class and scored 2,050 on her SATs. She’s also emerging as a key member of the Hillie track team.

The year-round runner overcame an ACL surgery early in her career. Now the versatile Yates runs on the 4x100 team, does the long jump and the 800.

“It took her some time to get into running but she always had a good work ethic and attitude,” said Hillie coach Mike Maguire.

Her tap dancing prowess helped Pattavina’s Dance Academy in Bradford win Elite Platinum honors. She’s also on the student council and works at Skip’s in Merrimac.

Her freshman brother, Ethan, is a swimmer and like his sister a top scholar.

CONNOR NORTON

Central Catholic Baseball

Fabulous Freshman

“He’s the first to help in any capacity and loves the game of baseball,” said his coach, Marc Pelletier. “I love him.”

There was never any doubt the Methuenite would become a Raider. His grandfather, Joseph Norton; father, Steven Norton; and uncles Tim and Mike Norton are all Central grads.

The 5-10, 200-pounder’s younger brother Aidan helped lead Methuen American to the Ripken Division 2 district title last spring.

Norton, who hopes to play at Westfield State, is a former guitarist. He’s a bus boy at the Phoenician in Haverhill, a model in the Catwalk 4 Cancer fundraiser, a student ambassador and a peer leader. His friends say he makes a mean spaghetti sauce.

Norton calls his career highlight pitching 2.1 strong innings in relief last year to beat Andover.