EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 1, 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.

AMANDA WILLIAMS

Central Catholic Basketball

Raider Rebounder

“She embraces her role, lots of offensive rebounds and putbacks,” said Central coach Sue Downer. “She’s made a difference for us.”

The 5-11 junior forward from North Andover also puts her athletic ability to good use as an All-MVC volleyball player.

Williams has been a familiar face at Central games for years. Her brother, Kyle (CC ‘12), was a two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star hockey goalie.

“I’d be shaking and jumping around. He has no idea how proud I am of him,” said Amanda.

Williams, who may do track for the first time this spring, lists as career highlights playing in the state volleyball finals as a sophomore and the basketball team beating two much higher seeds in last year’s state tourney.

CHANCE PATRICK

Whittier Wrestling

Refocused Wrestler

The lanky 5-11 sophomore 138-pounder was in a midseason slump but battled through it.

“He refocused. He just started working harder and winning matches,” said Whittier coach Harry Takesian. “He’s a good kid to have around. I’m looking forward to the next couple years with him.”

Patrick described himself as “pretty good at takedowns” and “more of a defensive wrestler.”

He was most pleased that a tough Shawsheen wrestler who previously beat him 15-2 had to push himself to the limit to squeak out a win in the rematch.

Patrick, who enjoys four-wheeling, is studying HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling). He hopes to become a policeman some day.

A dishwasher at the Hungry Traveler in his hometown of Salisbury, Chance is saving up to buy a Monte Carlo.

MIKE IASCONE

Salem Wrestling

Exemplary Attitude

Although he missed most of the season with a broken shoulder suffered in an August football practice, Iascone didn’t miss a single practice this winter.

“He did conditioning and everything he could,” said Blue Devils coach Wes Decker. “It was very inspirational. He showed a tremendous amount of leadership.”

Iascone explained, “I just wanted to get better and wanted to win.”

The 5-4 sophomore, who wrestles at 132 pounds, came back Jan. 20 and promises to have a bright future.

Iascone is Mike III. His father, Michael Jr., played football at Everett High.

Young Mike calls his career highlight scoring his first goal in lacrosse as an 8th grader. His favorites include the movie The Town, Patriots star Wes Welker, actor Adam Sandler, Dodge Challengers, SportsCenter and his mother’s spaghetti and meatballs.

CHANELLE GARCIA

PMA Basketball

Junior Achiever

Garcia averaged 1.6 charges a game and her defensive efforts earned her the nickname “Godzilla.” Not bad for someone who was cut as a freshman.

Garcia was one of two juniors on a senior-less club.

“Chanelle filled that ‘on the court’ void during practice and games,” said PMA coach Joe DeBlois. “In only her third season of playing basketball, she became our defensive anchor.”

Godzilla, who lives in Lawrence, also plays softball. Her brother, Jay Garcia, plays football at Austin Prep.

She’s a member of the PMA chorus and takes great pride in her academics. “I’m striving for National Honor Society,” she said.

Her favorite subject is French and her favorite teacher is French teacher Olga Kostousova.

LUKA SLJIVIC

North Andover Skiing

Exchange Rate

The senior exchange student from Pale, a suburb 10 minutes from the Bosnian capital, is living with the McFadden family in town.

“It’s excellent so far,” he said of his American experience. “I adapted quickly. It’s different and better.”

Luka made a smooth transition to America helped by the fact he’s been taking English since grade school. He jokes his nickname is “Crazy Bosnian Kid.”

As a skier, he’s blessed. His hometown is near Sarajevo, host of the 1984 Winter Olympics.

He hasn’t missed his favorite dishes from home too much as the Market Basket in Chelsea sells Bosnian food. He keeps in touch with his family via Skype.

When his time with the Rotarian Youth Exchange Program is over, he might attend college in the U.S.

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