Apr. 22—Saluting the overachievers, the quiet leaders and the often overlooked athletes in local high school sports.
BRENDAN WHELANHaverhill Track
TALENTED MENTORWhelan is a talented thrower (40-0.5 personal best) and caring teammate.
"He's been a great mentor to our young throwers," said coach Mike Maguire.
The 5-9, 220-pounder also plays baseball for the Hillies. He's a groundskeeper at Garrison Golf Center. A dedicated student, Brendan takes some classes at Northern Essex and is a member of National Honor Society. Whelan is deciding between UNH and UMass Amherst.
His sister, freshman Riley Whelan, is a cheerleader and a soccer player. The Whelans have a dog, a Puggle named Shamrock, and a bearded dragon lizard named Spike. He enjoys fishing and caught a 3-pound bass at Plug Pond.
His favorite teacher was Sean Reardon at Consentino School.
JARED SMALLGr. Lawrence Cross Country
HUMBLE, HARD WORKINGJared is a four-year letterman and a two-year captain for the Reggies. The honor roll student also does outdoor track.
The 5-6 senior has a co-op job as an electrician with Phoenix Electrical of Wilmington and plans to stay with the company after graduation.Coach Rob Niceforo said, "He's humble, hard working and a great team player."
His brother Josh was a Reggie runner, sister Julia plays ice hockey at Vermont Academy and sister Victoria attends Northeastern. Dad, Frank Small, played soccer at St. John's Prep.
Small enjoys skiing and has three dogs: Bruin, Reba and Cayman.His favorites include math teacher-coach Rob Niceforo, "Home Alone," steak and "Impractical Jokers."
KATIE MacDONALDCentral Catholic Swimming
CENTRAL CATHOLIC FAMILYKatie is from a long line of Central scholar-athletes including dad, Chip MacDonald, and brother, Daniel. Both later played football at Tufts.
Coach Carlton Cronin said, "In our last meet, she was spectacular in the 200 freestyle. She went out fast and hung on. It was the best swim from our team this season."
The senior scholar from Andover also is a synchronized swimmer. She won the Dartmouth Book Award and has been accepted to several top schools including UCLA, Cal-Berkeley, NYU and Tufts. She works at Whole Foods and has two beagles (Susie and Willow).
During the pandemic, Katie taught herself how to play guitar.Her favorite teacher is English teacher Michael Clements.
AIDAN CORCORANHaverhill Track
HARD WORK PAYS OFFAidan's dad, James, and his siblings Moira, Catherine, Lizzie and Dan, were all Hillie runners. Mom, Tiffany (Patriquin), also attended HHS and Aidan's sister, Brenna, is a freshman runner.
Aidan had ACL surgery from a summer soccer injury. He was still there all season supporting the soccer team and recently took third in the mile in a dual meet.
Track coach Mike Maguire said, "He's proof that hard work pays off."
The 5-9 senior is ranked 23rd in a class of 487. He works at Bradford Country Club and plans to study environmental engineering at UMass Lowell or UNH.
Corcoran's favorite teacher was Consentino math teacher Rana Elfakih.
Coaches or ADs should send nominations to Unsung Heroes writer Michael Muldoon at firstname.lastname@example.org.