Saluting the overachievers, the quiet leaders and the often overlooked athletes in local high school sports.
Coaches or ADs should send nominations to Unsung Heroes writer Michael Muldoon at email@example.com.
Methuen Field Hockey
Top 1 percent
Ranger coach Karen McLaughlin said of Bruneau: “She’s a junior leader who plays every minute of every game.”
There is no rest for the weary when she gets home. Bruneau cracks the books. She’s ranked No. 4 in a class of 420.
She also runs winter track, plays lacrosse, serves on student council and is a peer leader and member of SADD. She still finds time to work the rides at Canobie Lake with the Corkscrew and Canobie 500 her specialties.
Also a talented cook with an artistic flair, her friends rave about her birthday cake in the shape of a cat. Bruneau, who answers to Nutmet or Megnog, plans to study architecture or engineering.
Her favorite teacher is Miss (Esperanza) Lalinde for AP chemistry.
Getsim Gets It
The 5-6 outside hitter from Haverhill never thought she could make varsity. But her hard work has paid off as she’s a returning starter and a co-captain.
She’s also an award-winning debater. There’s no debate that she’s one of coach Deb Littlefield’s favorites.
“She leads by example, always putting the team first,” said Littlefield. “Her attitude and effort are always beyond reproach.”
Getsim is proud of her Greek heritage. She visited Greece in 2006 and the health occupations major says her father’s souvlaki is to die for. Her favorites include 1980s music (Michael Jackson, Def Leppard, KC and the Sunshine Band) and math teacher Miss (Maggie) McDonald.
Hannah, who is a CNA at Penacook Place nursing home, hopes to study to become a dental hygienist at Endicott College or Middlesex Community College.
King of Pena
From humble beginnings, Pena has earned a starting position.
Coach Rob Pike said, “He has worked hard for four years to make himself a better football player. He’s a tireless worker in the weight room. He’s the definition of a self-made player.”
His brother, Juan Pena, and cousin, Jason Martinez, also play for Salem.
Gabe, a 5-8, 185-pound fullback/linebacker, hopes to play next year for Plymouth State or Castleton State.
He plays drums for his church, IBH in Lawrence, and also competes in winter and spring track.
Pena’s favorite athlete is Adrian Peterson and his favorite teacher is Mr. (Rob) McLaughlin for business. His career highlight was his two sacks this season against Memorial.
John Denison Nevin V is following in his father’s footsteps with his name and with his career plans.
He hopes to study engineering at Virginia Tech, James Madison, UNH or UMass.
Coach E.J. Perry called the 5-9, 165-pounder “the lead man on the defensive scout team.”
Nevin said, “I’m not the biggest, fastest or strongest but I love it.”
John also is a thrower on the winter and spring track teams. His identical twin, Julius, runs cross country, winter track and spring track.
Nevin enjoys fishing for striper and a few years back caught a 26-incher in the Merrimack River on the family boat “The Schnupp.”
A talented musician, he plays guitar, piano and clarinet and is learning the violin.
Andover Cross Country
Coach Leo Lafond said, “Cate is a great kid. She is a very focused and mentally tough runner who always gives 100 percent.”
That was certainly the case against North Andover, when the junior, a returning MVC All-Star, closed strong to help clinch the win for the Golden Warriors. She was Andover’s No. 3 runner.
The 5-foot-2 Donovan is a second-generation Golden Warrior. Her father, Daniel Donovan, played soccer for Andover.
Donovan loves running for the Blue and Gold. “The people are awesome,” she said.
The former gymnast is a year-round runner who enjoys reading and hiking. Cate has climbed Mount Washington, among other places.