EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 5, 2013

Sports in a Minute

Dave Dyer
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Dodson ‘wins’ race

Former Methuen resident and running enthusias@text5:t Dan Dodson@text5:, 68, was recently the top male finisher and second finisher overall at the “Jost Van Dyke Invitational 5K” in the British Virgin Islands.

Sound suspicious? Good thinking, because there are only two runners in the race — Dodson and Holly Aulen, an Illinois resident who lives near Dodson and his wife in the winter. They started the race in good fun in 2010 and now it’s an annual two-person race.

Dodson, who can often be seen at local road races with Methuen veteran @text5:Lou Peters@text5:, was the overall winner the first year but the younger Aulen has ruled the last three years.

Big fan of Curran

Merrimack College quarterback@text5: Joe Clancy@text5:, who was the conference’s offensive Player of the Year, and will be back for a fifth season next year, gives high grades to new head coach @text5:Dan Curran.

Clancy calls Curran “a great motivator. He brings out the best in everybody. I’m very happy. You don’t meet too many people with that kind of football IQ.”

Curran, who was the team’s offensive coordinator, replaced @text5:John Perry@text5:, who left to become an assistant at Delaware.

Recruiting on pace

As of last week, Merrimack College had 17 football players committed for next year, which is a record number for this time of year, according to new football coach @text5:Dan Curran@text5:. Among the recruits is star Westford Academy’s @text5:Justin Mount@text5: (18 TDs last fall).

All-American Lawrence

Ex-Timberlane star @text5:Nick Lawrence@text5:, competing for Iowa Lakes Community College, recently finished seventh at the junior college wrestling nationals to earn All-American status. His brother, @text5:Nate@text5:, also won several matches at the tournament but was one win shy of the medal round.

Public vs. Prep

For the second year in a row, there will be a terrific All-Star wrestling dual meet between the prep school and public school New England champions (with runners-up as alternates). This year it’s scheduled at noon on Sunday, April 28 at Belmont High School.

Last year, @text5:Christian Vallis @text5:of Phillips Academy and — as a capable late substitute — North Andover’s @text5:Fritz Hoehn@text5: both participated. The meet is sponsored by the Mass. chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Crowell to nationals

Former Pinkerton standout @text5:Collin Crowell @text5:of Roger Williams University won his weight class in spectacular fashion over the weekend at the Northeast Division 3 regional to advance to nationals. His closest match was in the finals — a 13-3 major decision over a Springfield College wrestler who was third in the country last year.

Spears on defense

Pingree boys basketball head coach @text5:Steve Gibbs@text5: has been saying all winter that junior@text5: Johnny Spears@text5: of Haverhill is the best on-ball defender in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference and Saturday he proved it in the Class C prep semifinals.

On the road against No. 2 seed Wheeler School, Spears held the home team’s best player, @text5:Nick Balcom@text5:, to just one field goal as Pingree earned a 62-52 win in the New England Class C semifinals.

The two teams had played at the end of the regular season at Wheeler and the home team scored a big victory behind a big outing from Balcom, who is averaging just around 23 points per game.

SJP’s tough weekend

It was a tough weekend to be a St. John’s Prep sports fan. First, the Eagles were upset by Andover in an overtime thriller in boys basketball Friday and then Central Catholic shocked the Eagles in hockey Sunday in Super 8 action.

Things were a little better for the wrestling team at the New England Tournament Saturday until standout sophomore@text5: Ian Butterbrodt@text5: of North Andover lost his first match of the season in the 220-pound finals. Senior heavyweight@text5: Corey Jean-Jacques@text5: of Haverhill came in fifth.

NHTI falls in tourney

The New Hampshire Tech men’s basketball team, which opened the season with a hard-fought victory over Northern Essex, ended a superb season (33-5) over the weekend by falling twice in the USCAA national tournament being held in Pennsylvania. @text5:Zach Stevens @text5:of Londonderry had a fine season for the Lynx and scored 12 points in his last game.