After a hectic week, it would be nice to relax and watch all the Sunday NFL games.
But Andover High senior Will Heikkinen has set some high goals for himself. He knows you don’t get into a school like Princeton, his dream school, watching the boob tube all day.
“Sometimes on Sundays, I’ll work 5-6 hours reading or doing a big project,” he said.
His big project Friday nights is equally demanding ... trying to deliver Andover a league title.
He’s more than done his part. The September Boys Moynihan Scholar-Athlete of the Month is the area’s most prolific wide receiver with 31 catches for 493 yards for the 6-0 Golden Warriors, who are ranked No. 9 in Eastern Mass.
Although Andover did a 180 and only passed eight times last weekend in a drubbing of Lawrence, the Golden Warriors are one of the most pass-happy teams in the state.
“It’s perfect,” said Heikkinen. “We didn’t throw it much when I was younger but then Coach (E.J.) Perry came in and it was awesome.”
“He may be the best receiver in the state,” said Perry.
It wasn’t always that way.
“I was never a standout,” recalled Heikkinen. “I played defensive end in eighth grade. But I knew I had athletic ability. I could always jump high.”
Being a late bloomer, he believes was beneficial.
“Once I got to high school and wasn’t a standout athlete, I wanted to have my thing,” he said.
That “thing” was academics.
The returning Eagle-Tribune All-Star scored an 1,890 on his SATs and a 3 on his AP European History exam.
Heikkinen also has some impressive athletic numbers. In addition to the receiving stats, he’s 6-1, 195 pounds, has a 34-inch vertical leap, can squat 335 pounds and he ran a 4.6-second 40-yard dash at the Princeton football camp.
For an athlete, getting into the ultra-competitive Ivy League schools requires peak performance in the classroom and on the field. Even then, it may not be enough. The wait to hear from the dream school can be harrowing.
“It’s definitely tough, I won’t lie,” said Heikkinen, who is interested in broadcast journalism and international relations. “Once you put yourself in place to succeed, that’s all you can do.”
Besides Princeton, where Perry’s brother James is the offensive coordinator, Heikkinen is also looking at Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Colby and Tufts.
About the program
The scholar-athlete program is sponsored by Moynihan Lumber and The Eagle-Tribune. ADs and coaches nominate seniors who should be all-star caliber athletes and ranked in the top 25 percent of their class. At the end of the school year, one boy and one girl are honored at a banquet and will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
Last month nominations were submitted by: Andover (football), Central Catholic (boys cross country), Greater Lawrence (football, girls soccer, girls cross country), Haverhill (girls cross country), Methuen (boys cross country, boys soccer), North Reading (football) and Pinkerton (volleyball, boys soccer).