EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 20, 2013

Saluting our high schools' Unsung Heroes

Michael Muldoon
mmuldoon@eagletribune.com

---- — 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.

TOMMY COLBERT

Andover Football

Colbert Report

The 6-1, 205-pound defensive end rehabbed a broken collarbone from last season and has earned a spot on the kickoff and kickoff return teams.

Coach E.J. Perry said, “His entire career he has always put team goals ahead of his personal goals. He is one of the most well-liked seniors on the team.”

Colbert also plays on Andover’s club rugby team. His older brother, Corey, played football at Andover and his older sister, Casey, was a three-year starter in volleyball for Greater Lawrence Tech.

Tommy, whose top college choices are UMass and URI, is an outdoorsman who once caught a 45-inch striper. He enjoys saltwater bass fishing in Wells, Maine.

His favorite teacher is phys. ed teacher Dave Fazio, his favorite meal is steak and potatoes and his favorite athletic moment was getting called up to dress for the Everett playoff game his freshman year.

MADDIE ARNDT

Central Catholic Soccer

Coach’s Dream

Arndt, a senior from Merrimac, lost out to a freshman for the starting goalie position. How she reacted to the news warmed the heart of Raiders coach Casey Grange.

“The exact words out of her mouth were, ‘Coach, I respect your decision and want this team to be successful. If that means I don’t start, that’s OK,” said Grange. “She’s like a big sister to our freshman keeper. She’s a coach’s dream.”

She’s also a captain in gymnastics and her 11-3 in the pole vault ranks her No. 2 all-time in the area. Arndt is being recruited to vault by several schools including Manhattan, UMass Lowell, Holy Cross (where her sister Mackenzie is a star vaulter), Stonehill and Lafayette.

The National Honor Society member is on the Catwalk 4 Cancer chair committee, is taking two AP classes, and coaches at Interstate Gymnastics.

BEN FITZGERALD

Methuen Football

Banding Together

Fitzgerald does everything to insure Ranger fans have an enjoyable experience. It might be throwing a key block to spring the Methuen return man for a touchdown like he did against Malden or his work with the school band at halftime.

Fitzgerald plays the tenor sax in the band and is a third-generation guitar player.

“Players like Fitzy make or break your season,” said Ranger coach Tom Ryan.

Fitzy and Co. are making it. Methuen is off to a 2-0 start.

Last winter the 6-footer was the wrestling team’s starter at 182 pounds. A top student, he’s ranked 24th in his class of 462 and scored an 1,890 on his SATs. He’s high on Clemson, UMass and WPI.

Fitzgerald also works at Market Basket in Pleasant Valley. His favorites include “The Dark Knight,” pizza, “The Big Bang Theory,” Foo Fighters, Tom Brady and history teacher Mr. Brendan Cripps.

TARA BIHL

Methuen Swimming

Tough Tara

Coach Jason Smith said of his senior co-captain, “She is an extremely hard worker, a great leader whose strength is communication.”

She’s allergic to the cold, which has caused some problems.

“I push through it,” said Bihl.

The Bihls are tough. Tara is a green belt in karate and her father, Kevin Bihl, is a fifth-degree black belt.

She calls one career highlight being named captain and she’s working diligently to qualify for sectionals.

She’s a fan of sushi, “Pretty Little Liars,” country singer Luke Bryan, swimmer Michael Phelps and biology teacher Mr. Jason LaPointe.

A member of the Key Club and student council, she’s ranked 64th in a class of 462. Bihl is applying to Merrimack, Westfield State, Holy Cross and Bridgewater State.

CHANTAL KELLERD

Andover Cross Country

World Traveler

Her father was a soccer player from England but Chantal’s sport of choice is distance running. Kellerd’s late kick helped Andover pull out a tight win over North Andover.

Golden Warrior coach Leo Lafond said, “Chantal has transformed herself from a middle-of-the-pack JV runner as a freshman to become our No. 4 runner as a sophomore.”

She runs indoor track and the former tennis player intends to switch over to spring track.

Kellerd runs long distance and travels long distance. She’s already been to the Bahamas, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jordan, Iceland, England, France, Australia and Ireland.

Her favorites include mom’s apple crisp, “The Office,” the group Imagine Dragons, tennis players Venus and Serena Williams, and English teacher John Keene.