---- — 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Timberlane Field Hockey
The senior varsity newcomer refused to be denied.
“She’s worked to improve her skills and has been a solid contributor,” said coach Mim Ryan.
Work has never been an issue for Novaris, who is ranked 21st in a class of 386. She plays the melophone in the marching band, is a member of the National Honor Society and works at Chunky’s Cinema in Haverhill.
The Plaistow resident plans to study biomedical engineering in college and specialize in orthotics and prosthetics.
Her favorite teacher is Mr. (Mark) Cerniglia for physics and other favorites include pasta, “Pretty Little Liars” and singer Jack Johnson.
Novaris is nicknamed Princess because she was a bit wimpy the first time she went kayaking.
Haverhill Cross Country
The Mighty Quinnan
Hillie coach Mike Maguire is never surprised at how devoted Erin Quinnan is to her running. He’s seen the same thing in the classroom.
“I really appreciated how hard she worked when I had her in AP economics,” he said. “In cross country and track, she works equally as hard.”
The year-round runner’s hard work paid off when she improved her time by 75 seconds in the season-opening Clipper Relays.
It would be difficult to improve much academically. Quinnan has scored a four on four AP tests, is ranked seventh in a class of about 400 and scored a 2,130 on her SATs. When she’s not running or studying, she’s often working as a cashier at the Riverside Market Basket.
Quinnan, who might become a lawyer, says her favorite teacher is Mr. (Rob) Pike in Constitutional Law.
Central Catholic Swimming
The 5-8 senior from Pelham only took up swimming last year so she was fired up after winning the 100 backstroke against Lowell for her first career win.
“She is an exceptional young lady,” said coach Carlton Cronin.
A former soccer player, Alicia also plays lacrosse. Her older brother, John, was a standout in football and lacrosse for the Raiders.
Bilsky, a member of the National Honor Society, is taking AP Psychology. She’s a peer leader and student ambassador and a volunteer swim coach at the Lawrence Y. She also works at the Aerie Outlet at the Mall at Rockingham Park.
Her favorites include General Gao Chicken, Grey’s Anatomy, actress Cameron Diaz and English teacher Mr. (Joe) Welch.
The senior fullback from Sandown is playing with a heavy heart. His brother, David, died in an auto accident in August 2012.
“I say a prayer for him before every game and I point to the sky,” said Andrew.
Owls coach Kevin Fitzgerald said, “The perseverance, courage and resolve he has demonstrated is remarkable.”
A gifted leader, Andrew was a two-year class president who hopes to study film production at Keene State.
Augusta, who last year won the coveted Mr. Timberlane title thanks to his Garth Brooks lip-synching skills, enjoys fishing with teammates Kenny Malcolm and Shawn Grenier. He once caught a 6-pound largemouth bass at Phillips Pond.
His favorite food is his mother Christine Augusta’s famous spaghetti and meatballs.
King of the Hillyer
“She was elected a captain this year and it couldn’t have been more fitting,” said coach Jill Bartlett. “She is a leader by pure example of doing what it takes.”
Hillyer said of the captaincy: “That was really great.”
The 5-2 reserve outside hitter also plays softball. She’s ranked 12th in a senior class of 170, is a member of the National Honor Society and president of the Math Honor Society. The top schools on her wish list are Northeastern and Boston College.
Hillyer, who moved from Wilmington to Windham in fourth grade, is a huge Katy Perry fan. Her other favorites include scary movies, spaghetti and meatballs, Modern Family, and psychology and ethics teacher Mr. (Greg) Racki.
Her sister, freshman Jordan, is a promising softball player.