EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 22, 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.

KELSEY COLLINS

Salem Gymnastics

Refreshing Attitude

Salem coach Kyle Redmond said, “Kelsey’s great. She may not be our highest scorer, but she comes in every day ready to work. She never gives up and never stops improving. It’s so refreshing, she really makes the team the top priority.”

The 4-foot-11 sophomore is also a varsity field hockey player and hopes to make varsity lacrosse this spring.

“Gymnastics is definitely my favorite, though,” said Collins, whose sister Allie was a senior captain on the Blue Devils’ 2007 championship team.

“I was always hoping one day I’d be as good as her,” said Kelsey.

Collins’ favorite song is “When You Put Your Heart In It.” That, not coincidentally, was Salem’s theme song.

TAYLER WRIGHT

Pinkerton Track

Tayler-Made

Astros coach Becka Noe said, “Tayler is a motivated student who pushes her teammates to be their best. She is always looking to make the team better by recruiting other athletes, teaching them technique, and being a positive influence. She finds time to help out with record keeping, outside training, and academics.”

Wright said the highlight of her season was when a girl who had low self-esteem flourished and she told Tayler she inspired her.

Wright, who also does spring track, works at Rig A’ Tony’s Restaurant in Derry. The senior shotputter is a member of HOSA and by the end of the school year will be a certified nursing assistant.

The Red Sox fanatic will be attending Mass. College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston to study nursing.

KIANA GUADALUPE

Whittier Basketball

Super Substitute

The 5-foot-6 sophomore sixth man from Bradford has helped the Wildcats to a 19-3 record through Wednesday.

“She makes things happen,” said coach Kevin Bradley. “She could be a starter, but she’s more valuable off the bench. She does a great job on offense and defense.”

Her career highlight was a late free throw to beat the Brockton JV team last winter.

Guadalupe’s inspiration is her mother, Eunice Valdez.

“She’s a single mother. She’s really pushed me to work hard,” said Guadalupe, who goes by the nickname Kiki.

The hard work has paid off. Guadalupe, who aspires to be a registered nurse, is being inducted into the National Technical Honor Society.

HARRY SHIELDS

Timberlane Swimming

Wild About Harry

Timberlane coach Stacy Roberts loves the winning attitude Shields always brings to the pool.

“Harry is Mr. Positive,” she said. “He brightens everyone’s day.”

Shields, who took up swimming at age 10, also plays tennis for the Owls.

The Shields family has a long history with Timberlane athletics.

Harry’s father, Steve Shields, played on the Owls’ 1981 and 1982 championship basketball teams. His older sister, Annie, was a cheerleader for the Owls and younger sister Maggie, a sophomore, plays volleyball and tennis.

Harry works at Market Basket in Plaistow and is an active volunteer in the community. When the Atkinson resident has some free time, he loves the outdoors. His favorite activities include kayaking, skiing and hiking.

MELISSA RING

Salem Gymnastics

Golden Ring

The 5-3 senior has the Midas touch as she has helped Salem to state titles in volleyball (she was a top reserve) and now gymnastics.

“She’s a real leader,” said Salem gymnastics coach Kyle Redmond. “She acts like an additional coach. She gives guidance in gymnastics and in everything. She puts everyone before herself.

Ring said the highlight of her season was former coach Ginnie LaVallo unexpectedly coming back from Florida to be at States.

Ring, a member of HOSA, is ranked in the top quarter of her class. Still undecided on a school, she’s been accepted to Hartford, UVM, UNH, University of New England and Utica.

Her brother, Salem freshman Alex Ring, is one of the area’s top young hockey players.

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