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Sports

October 29, 2012

Talented mentor

Senior O'Donnell helping groom Methuen's youngsters

Like any true competitor, Methuen standout Mike O’Donnell has plenty of individual goals for his senior season in cross country.

And, the way he’s been running, there’s at least a fair chance that he’ll reach them in the next few weeks.

”I know it’ll be hard, but I really want to win the (Division 1) Eastern Mass. Meet and I’d like to finish in the top three at All-State,” said O’Donnell, who was fourth in Eastern Mass. last year,

Yet, what really gets him motivated is, as the only senior on a varsity with five sophomores and a freshman in the top seven, trying to lead the team through Eastern Mass. as a qualifier for All-State.

“It’d be great to get to All-State as a team,” said O’Donnell. “It’d be like when I was a sophomore. We had a lot of injuries and hadn’t done that well and then we surprised everyone by finishing third in Eastern Mass. and making All-State.”

If the Rangers continue their remarkable run of qualifying for All-State, Methuen coach Bill James will give much of the credit to O’Donnell.

“Mike has been a great role model for our young runners,” said James. “His talent obviously helps us, but his leadership has been instrumental in the development of this group of sophomores to help lead us.

”He has a great attitude and all of the younger runners admire and respect him. His love of the sport rubs off on the other runners.”

For his part, O’Donnell relishes his leadership role and remembers when he was a young runner for the Rangers.

“It’s kind of cool to get to know them and I tell them the kind of strategies (former star) Jared Reddy used to tell me when I was a freshman in track and he was a senior,” said O’Donnell. “Now I’m telling Jeff (Reddy, a freshman) the same things.

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