Saluting the overachievers, the quiet leaders and the often overlooked athletes in local high school sports.

RYAN MCCARTHY

Whittier Football

Won’t Be Denied

When McCarthy can’t get a ride to school or practice, he still makes it. He’ll ride his bike the three miles.

Coach Kevin Bradley said, “We talked him into coming out junior year. He worked hard at it from Day 1.”

He was even named a captain. The 6-2, 245-pound starting center from Haverhill is studying marketing and business technology. He hopes to attend Northern Essex.

He also throws the shot put, javelin and discus in track. He’s a member of the Interactive Club and SkillsUSA. Ryan, who attended Hunking Middle School, works at Romano’s Pizza in Haverhill.

McCarthy’s favorites include bacon cheeseburgers, the TV show “The Resident,” Whittier history teacher James Donahue Jr., the movie “London Has Fallen,” Larry Bird and rapper Travis Scott.

KATHERINE MCGOWAN

Timberlane Volleyball

Relentlessly Positive

Coach Sean Hogan said, “Kat always has a relentlessly positive attitude and outlook, and is often able to provide needed comedic relief. Her efforts for our program will have a lasting effect, and her late-season efforts on the court prove just how hard work and a good attitude can pay off.”McGowan, a 5-foot-3 senior from Atkinson, is ranked 35th in a class of 305. Next fall, she hopes to attend Norwich or enlist in the Air Force. She also does spring track and skis recreationally in the winter. Last summer she worked at Canobie Lake. Dad, Jeff McGowan, played hockey at Greater Lawrence Tech.

Katherine’s favorites include mozzarella sticks, Bruins star Zdeno Chara, Timberlane art teacher Kristina Currier and singer Marilyn Manson.

IAN AULBACH

Andover Football

The Comeback Kid

Coach E.J. Perry said, “He played football as a freshman and then hurt his back and lost two years. He came to see me and wanted to know if he could return. I said absolutely. His back still flares up, but he hasn’t missed a practice all season.”

Well, just one ... to be inducted into the National Honor Society!

The 5-9, 205-pound lineman has started two games. He also plays lacrosse. His sophomore brother, Erik, plays football and lax and their older brother, Kyle, played soccer at AHS. Dad is president of the Andover Junior Football League.

Ian has a Golden Retriever named Jessie and scored a 1,440 on his SATs. He plans to study nursing. His favorite teachers are Caitlin Mitchell (English) and Betty Iannuccilli (chemistry).

JACLYN DEHNEY

Central Cross Country

A Real Pit Bull

Dehney is quite a competitor in cross country and wrestling. It’s no coincidence that she’s a big fan of pit bulls. The family has five of them: Ziserion, Bella, Delilah, Cleo and Tank, and a German Shepherd named Augie.

Coach Colette Madore said, “She has brought a competitive spirit that is contagious.”

The 5-foot-4 freshman from Pelham is the daughter of Tom Dehney, a star defensive end on Dracut High’s 1988 EMass. Division 2 Super Bowl championship team. Mom, Chrissy, ran for Bishop Guertin.

Dehney, who attended Lowell Catholic for middle school, was a consistent top-5 finisher this fall. She just made the 123-pound finals of the Super 32 girls wrestling tourney in North Carolina and plans to wrestle for Central.

JULIA MAGUIRE

North Andover Cross Country

Winning Personality

Coach Rick DelleChiaie said, “Her infectious smile and bubbly personality make practice a great place to be for her teammates and coaches.”

The 5-foot-5 sophomore also does winter and spring track. A gifted singer, she’s a member of the chorus and for years has sung the national anthem at area track meets.

Her dad is Mass. State Coaches Hall of Fame track coach Mike Maguire of Haverhill. Her grandparents, Dick and Margaret Maguire, are longtime Hillie Boosters. Her sister, 5th grader Eliza, is also a three-sport athlete.

Julia has a dog, a Bichon Frise named Frisco. She worked last summer at the Brooks School Camp.

Her favorites include the Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen and NAHS Spanish teacher Ashley Gravel.

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Coaches or ADs should send nominations to Unsung Heroes writer Michael Muldoon at mmuldoon@eagletribune.com.

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