Like any three-sport athlete, North Andover’s Kelcey Dion welcomes a break between seasons.
But it’s not welcome for long.
“It’s nice at first, but I don’t take much time off, even though the coaches want me to take longer,” said Dion. “I like to stay busy and I’ll start training for the next season. I enjoy it, so I’d rather be working out.”
She was easily one of the premier soccer players on the North Andover team, said head coach Lisa Rasanen, and only limited this past fall because the team was reduced to four games because of COVID. “We depended on her a lot — she has so much talent,” said Rasanen.
But Dion, whose twin sister Ainsley is with her as a talented partner for all three seasons, really shines in the spotlight for track and lacrosse.
It’s her approach to year-long training that has driven Dion — our 2021 Max Bishop Award winner as the Female three-sport Athlete of the Year — to excel as a captain in soccer, indoor track and lacrosse.
In indoor track, she was undefeated this year, claiming the fastest 1,000 meters time in the MVC at 3:05.54 and the second fastest 600 (1:37.8), bested only by Tewksbury All-American Mikayla Paige.
She also anchored the unbeaten 4x400 relay team and was a member last year on the 4x800 relay that set a school record with a 9:26.68.
“She is one of the finest middle distance runners I have ever coached,” said North Andover coach Rick Dellechiaie, who has been coaching indoor track for 22 years. “She is just one tough competitor.
“If she has a lead, she will refuse to give it up. If she is behind, she will do what it takes to get the lead. I have never seen her give up or give in.”
Dion only took up track as a freshman “just to do another sport and also to get in great shape for lacrosse,” but she developed a love for the sport and would often ponder running outdoor track.
But outdoor track would clash with lacrosse, which is her first love and she has been playing it since first grade. She will play lacrosse in college at Middlebury. As a midfielder, she led a strong North Andover team in goals.
“I love how it’s a team sport, it has great people and it’s so fast paced,” she said.
And in such a fast-paced sport, says North Andover head coach Katie Bourque, Dion uses her speed to her advantage.
“Her speed makes her a challenge to stop,” says Bourque. “She uses her speed to be successful at the draw, dodge defenders in our offensive end, and she uses her quickness on defense to be a tenacious defender.
“Kelcey is an incredible athlete, leader and human being. She is a coach’s dream.”
She is a coach’s dream not only because of her speed, athleticism and drive to excel, but because she is a model student-athlete.
As our May girls Moynihan Scholar/Athlete of the Month, despite a course load heavy with AP classes, Dion maintained a 4.70 GPA as one of the top-10 scholars in her class.
Moreover, she found the time for ample volunteer work at — among other places — the North Andover Youth Center and with the youth lacrosse and soccer programs.
It all adds up to a schedule that’s, within and without each season, utterly time consuming. But she’s hardly complaining.
“I definitely feel like I put in a lot of work,” said Dion in reference to both her athletics and academics. “But it’s not something I don’t enjoy.”
MAX BISHOP AWARD WINNERS
2020: Peter Cleary, Pentucket; Claudia Crowe, Methuen
THE WINNERS IN THE 2010s
2019: Jake McElroy, North Andover; Caroline Kukas, Brooks
2018: Cedric Gillette, Andover; Allie Rodrigues, North Andover
2017: Erick Duffy, North Andover; Amanda Fay, Central Catholic
2016: E.J. Perry IV, Andover; Abbie Karalis, North Andover
2015: Josh Wesolowski, Pentucket; Leah Chittick, North Andover
2014: D’Andre Drummond-Mayrie, Central; Amanda Bickford, Salem
2013: Jake Vaiknoras, Pelham; Masha Lange, Timberlane;
2012: Jerickson Fedrick, Salem; Jackie Alois, Andover;
2011: Cal Carroll, Methuen; Melissa Higgins, Salem;
2010: Zack Lattrell, Central Catholic; Candace Waldie, North Andover;
THE WINNERS IN THE 2000s
2009: Ryan Sifferlen, North Andover; Jenn Pino, North Andover
2008: KB Oshodi, Central Catholic; Bree Robinson, Pinkerton
2007: Andrew Foote, North Andover; Melissa Lucas, Central
2006: Tommy Beaton, Pentucket; Alexis Souhlaris, Pinkerton
2005: Pat Halligan, Salem; Ashley Waters, Amesbury
2004: Josh Valerio, Methuen; Ashley Waters, Amesbury
2003: Zak DeOssie, Phillips/North Andover; Jessica Cegarra, Timberlane
2002: Mike Grella, Pinkerton; Esia Johnson, Lawrence
2001: Jeff Nicholson, Methuen; Lisa Tisbert, Andover
2000: Paul Bianchi, Pentucket; Ashley Harmeling, North Reading/Phillips
THE WINNERS IN THE 1990s
1999: Niall Murphy, Central Catholic; Sarah Broadhead, North Andover/Brooks
1998: Joe Uliano, Central Catholic; Meghan Hamilton, Londonderry
1997: Andy Alsup, Haverhill; Marie Neibert, Salem
1996: Hugh Quattlebaum, Andover/Phillips; Sam Good, Haverhill
1995: Mike Jean, Pinkerton; Dianne Mowatt, Methuen
1994: Todd Harris, Andover/Phillips; Amy Broadhead, North Andover/Brooks
1993: Ethan Philpott, North Andover/Phillips Kerri Camuso, Salem
1992: Jason McCue, Andover; Sheryl Aldrich, Salem
1991: Brett Hammond, Andover; Michelle Bouldin, Salem
1990: John Thompson, Andover; Beth Pickles, Methuen
THE WINNERS IN THE 1980s
1989: Steve Puleo, Pentucket; Kristy Gleason, Amesbury
1987: Kendall Daly, Masconomet
1986: Ryan Mihalko, Pinkerton; Kendall Daly, Masconomet
1985: Tom Crowley, Masconomet; Sue Foulds, Salem
1984: Jim Lukowski, Masconomet
1983: Laurene Lazzaretti, Andover
1981: Dennis Livingston, North Reading; Paula Stashis, Masconomet
1980: David Speller, Lawrence; Nancy Szostak, Methuen
THE WINNERS IN THE 1970s
1979: Nancy Szostak, Methuen
1975: Glenn Verrette, Andover
1974: Jeff Winters, Andover
1973: Carnell Cooper, Andover
1972: Tim Napolitano, Methuen; Scott Seero, Andover
1971: Jim Kent, Lawrence
1970: Jim Kent, Lawrence and Leon Sharpe, Andover
THE WINNERS IN THE 1960s
1969: Jim Kent, Lawrence;
1967: Butch Dunham, Salem
1966: Joe Berryman, Central
1964: Greg Kent, Lawrence
1963: Bob Bateman, Lawrence
1962: Ron McRobbie, North Andover
1961: Joe Celia, Lawrence
1960: Johnny Barrett, Lawrence/St. John’s
THE WINNERS IN THE 1950s
1959: Johnny Barrett, Lawrence/St. John’s
1958: Ralph Wolfendale, Lawrence
1956: Jack Moynihan, Central
1955: George Maroun, Lawrence
1954: George Maroun, Lawrence