EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 16, 2013

Saluting our area's Unsung Heroes

Michael Muldoon
The Eagle-Tribune

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

MADDIE FOTINO

Tewksbury-Methuen Hockey

Back on the Ice

The Methuen High sophomore started playing hockey at age 7 but gave it up for years before taking it up again this year.

“I’m glad I decided to play,” said Fotino, who lists her career highlight as her first career point, a Jan. 19 assist against Andover.

Tewksbury-Methuen coach Kim Bruff said, “She’s improved drastically in her skating ability. She always puts in her best effort.”

Her sister, junior Brianna Fotino, is sitting out the season with a concussion. Their mother, Amy (Ross) Fotino, is a former hockey player and their brother, 7th grader Jake, also plays hockey.

Maddie was the JV soccer captain in the fall. She’s a member of the Key Club and admits to “Tweeting up a storm.”

ANYA HOUSIANITIS

Central Catholic Track

Raider Mentor

Housianitis is a busy young woman and one of her passions has been serving the last two years as student coordinator of the Marist Mentoring program.

She calls 9-year-old Elvin Rosa of Lawrence’s Parthum School “the little brother I never had.”

Track coach Katie Andrade praised her for recruiting numerous track athletes to participate in the program.

The senior shotputter scored a 29 on her ACT and has been accepted to Georgia Tech. She’s still waiting on Clemson, her top choice. She hopes to be an industrial engineer.

Housianitis, a lacrosse tri-captain, grew up in Stratham, N.H., but moved to Haverhill last year. She has an unusual hobby, slot car racing. Her uncle is Central history teacher John Housianitis.

GIOIA KROVITZ

North Andover Gymnastics

Always Ready

“She’s an extremely hard worker and always ready when needed,” said coach Jenn Mangano. “Even without warming up she can vault. I truly love having her on the team.”

Krovitz has an advantage on the competition as she has a trapeze bar in her basement.

The Krovitz girls are all performers: mom Nancy was a cheerleader at Bridgewater State and Gioia’s younger sister, Kori, is a competitive dancer.

Gioia, a 5-1 freshman, also runs cross country and plays tennis. Her first name is pronounced Joy-a but her friends call her Goya Beans.

Krovitz’s hobbies include cooking (her specialty is making pizza from scratch) playing the piano, OptiGolf indoor golf in Middleton, and she loves the movie Mean Girls, the TV show NCIS and the singer Bruno Mars.

AYLA ROWELL

Salem Basketball

Air Rowell

The ambitious senior hopes to study environmental studies and be part of Air Force ROTC, leading to a career as a pilot in the Air Force.

She’s currently the commander of a Junior ROTC color guard, which will be competing in Nationals in March. Next year she hopes to prep at Worcester Academy.

Coach Annie Alosa said, “Ayla is the team builder, encouraging her teammates and helping the younger players stay up and focused.”

Her mother, Missy Rowell, is a well known local swimming coach but Ayla gave up the sport for basketball and track. Ayla started her career at Pinkerton and her brother, Jake, is a distance runner for the Astros.

A voracious reader, she said she read four books last week. She’s also a cashier at Market Basket in Londonderry.

JULEECE DeJESUS

Greater Lawrence Basketball

Reggie to the Core

The 5-4 senior is out for the season with a knee injury, which will also keep her out of softball.

“She still comes to all our games and all our practices,” said Reggie coach Tara Mansour-Neilon. “It’s a breath of fresh air to come in Sunday at 8 a.m. and she’s there. She’s our honorary captain.”

So why does DeJesus do it?

“I love basketball,” said Juleece, a Lawrencian since birth. “The team means a lot to me. We have that bond.”

DeJesus plans to study dental hygiene at Middlesex Community College. Her favorite restaurant is Golden House Chinese Restaurant in South Lawrence, her favorite singer is J. Cole and her favorite athlete is Rajon Rondo.

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