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January 1, 2013

Derry's Dattilo, North Andover's Whitley named Athletes of the Year

There are always a slew of top candidates for the Eagle-Tribune’s major annual sports awards.

It was no different in 2012. Our region boasted professional football, baseball, hockey and golf athletes. There were too many high school individual and team state champions to count and several high school All-Americans.

Records and milestones which had lasted for years even decades were smashed.

Here is a look at the best of the best from a memorable 2012.

MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Dattilo went from Derry to the pros

Bobby Dattilo wrapped up quite a four-year lacrosse career last spring at Division 1 Hobart.

The 5-7, 175-pound midfielder, a three-time MVP at Hobart, was a third-team USILA All-American (top 43 players in Division 1) and one of 76 players in all divisions named a USILA Scholar All-America.

Last spring the former Eagle-Tribune MVP from Derry was second in the country in Division I in faceoff percentage (.648, 88 of 162) and ground balls (7.75 a game).

Since the program moved to Division 1 in 1995, the biology major holds career records for faceoffs won (590), faceoff percentage (.603), and ground balls (284).

Dattilo also was one of 20 semifinalists for the prestigious national Class Award for excelling on and off the field.

A fourth round pick by the Rochester Rattlers of the MLL, he appeared in four games.

He’s achieved all this while battling Tourette syndrome.

Dattilo is now working as a physical therapist assistant at Northeast Rehab in Salem.

“He’s a blue-collar player who went to work every day,” said Hobart coach T.W. Johnson. “We loved him. He’s a true student-athlete as a biology major. It’s not like that’s an easy subject.”

Dattilo wasn’t on Hobart’s radar until Johnson saw him before his senior year at a tourney in New Jersey.

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