“She’s a natural talent,” said Rocha. “Heather is a runner, and I knew at some point in her career she’d have to move up to longer distances so she’ll probably do the 800 in the spring. She does anything I ask her to, and her strong finish didn’t surprise me.
“She’s a great kid, and I’ve been telling college coaches about her. Hopefully, one will invest in her. I held her back at Northfield a couple of weeks ago because that course wasn’t conducive for her. She’s a mentally tough young lady and very coachable. She listens to everything we ask her to do. You get somebody like her every once in a while.”
Peabody resident Kerry Phelan has done it again, leading Merrimack to a 9th place finish out of 28 teams at the NCAA Regional. Phelan, a former Hamilton-Wenham star, set a new school record on the 6K course at Nashua, NH and was 14th overall (22:22). The freshman was named NE-10 Rookie of the Week for the second time this season, and also garnered league Rookie of the Year honors.
For the Merrimack men, freshman Nick Christensen (53rd) and captain John Lawrence (72nd), both former Peabody High standouts, helped the team finish 10th.
Malden Catholic’s Tim Guinee of Topsfield blocked the final St. John’s Prep extra point attempt last Friday night in the Eagles 41-0 victory. Guinee’s older brother Will is a former Lancer captain, who now plays for Dartmouth. It is interesting to note that the meeting between the Prep and BC High this week marks the 35th anniversary of the 32-32 tie between the two teams.
Former Patriot players Patrick Pass, Jermaine Wiggins, Vernon Crawford, and Max Lane will all be part of the newly formed professional Boston Freedom Fighters coaching staff. Co-owner of the Freedom Fighters is Sean Stellato. The staff will evaluate talent on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Malden High School football field with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. for the National Spring Football League.
Jean DePlacido is a longtime correspondent for The Salem News. You can contact her at JMDeplacido@aol.com.