SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 23, 2013

High scoring Peabody lax duo have unique connection

Jean DePlacido
The Salem News

---- — Over the years the Peabody High lacrosse program has had several high-scoring combinations like Scott Marcoulier-Scott Eisemann, Sean Driscoll-Spencer Rennick, Greg Welch-Bryan Molk and Derek West-Mark D’Addario.

The latest duo of Keifer Heckman and Nick Ouellette has high hopes for their senior year of high school before both go on to play for Southern New Hampshire University.

Heckman and Ouellette want to end their careers with the same kind of lofty statistics the other duos put up. The two attackmen made the Tanner varsity as freshmen and have made a big impact ever since.

What makes this pair unique is they’re not only friends and teammates ... but also stepbrothers.

Heckman’s father and Ouellette’s mother met while watching their sons play lacrosse. Three years ago, they got married to form a blended family. Both are very active in the Peabody Lacrosse Boosters.

“Nick and I have been playing together for nine years, starting in Peabody Youth Lacrosse,” said Heckman. “Three years ago we became stepbrothers. I have an older brother, but he doesn’t live with us, and Nick has a brother and sister.”

Last season Heckman put his name in the school record books, tied for third in most points scored in a single season. That mark is held by Welch (102) while Eddie Leonard is second with 97, and Heckman and West both have 95.

They both committed to play at SNHU where Rennick, who is now an assistant coach at Peabody, had an illustrious career. He was the first in the history of the Peabody program to start as a freshman and did it in every game of his four-year career. Driscoll would have had the same distinction, but transferred to Pomfret after his junior year. Rennick went on to have an outstanding career and captained the Penmen. He is fifth on the all-time list for career assists with 70.

“A bunch of my friends from the Raptors are going there,” said Heckman. “The father of one of the kids on the team is the coach there. That’s how we first got interested, and when I went up for a visit I really loved it. We’ve got a good group going up there, and we’ve been playing together for quite a while. I can’t wait because it’s a great atmosphere, and the team expects to win.”

Heckman said he and Ouellette reached their decisions about college separately and didn’t even visit at the same time. He has his sights set on breaking the Peabody High record for most career points and is 65 points away (160). Welch also holds that record (225) followed by Rennick (213), Driscoll (204), Molk (177), and West (163). In his first three years Heckman has 89 goals and 71 assists while Ouellette registered 51 goals and 34 assists.

“I really want to break that record,” said Heckman. “I think we’re going to have a very good season. Nick and I know where we will be on the field, and we set each other up with good passes. I’m pumped for the season to begin. Coach Tony (O’Donnell) does such an amazing job. He really wants to win, and the team chemistry is great.”

Heckman will rely on Ouellette and others to give him some good passes in his quest for the record. The Tanners have a big senior class led by four captains (Andrew Najjar and Evan Connolly are also captains).

“Keifer has a very good shot at that record,” said Ouellette, who intends to major in business/marketing. “I’ll do my best to help him get it. We hope to have a really good season with a chance to make the playoffs. A year ago we had a lot of young kids, but they’re older and more experienced now.

“I went up for a visit, and I really liked the school. I think it’s a good fit for me, and it will be fun to play with Keifer. We’re getting partial scholarships that are a combination academic and athletic.”

Former Tanner Jake Clickstein is currently playing for the Penmen, and Mike Scotina was a captain and All-New England there. The Manchester, N.H., school competes in the NE-10 under veteran head coach Paul Calkins.

“Southern New Hampshire is getting two good ones in Heckman and Ouellette,” said O’Donnell. “Peabody High has had a very strong connection with the university, and it’s nice they will continue to play together. It’s similar to Welch and Molk, who both started out at Bryant University before Welch transferred.”

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Two local runners had outstanding performances at the 106th Millrose Games at the Armory in New York last weekend. Dartmouth College junior Abbey D’Agostino of Topsfield was fifth in the mile, and her time of 4:30.03 was second fastest by a collegiate runner behind Colorado’s Emma Coburn (4:29.86). D’Agostino broke her own mile record of 4:31.46 which she set earlier this winter.

Masters sprinter Diane Pomeroy of Beverly ran the leadoff leg for Mass Velocity Track Club in the mixed Masters 40-plus women and 60-plus men’s 4x400 meter relay. The 47-year-old took an early lead on the other nine women’s teams and was only a few seconds behind two of the men’s leadoff runners in the unique event.

Her 62.61 split put Mass Velocity in the lead after 400 meters, and the team finished second in 4:32.43. It’s interesting to note that the Houston Elite Track Club with leadoff runner Bill Collins set a new world’s indoor record with a time of 3:59.09. It broke the old mark of 4:03.24 that was set by a team which included Pomeroy’s coach, 68-year-old Roger Pierce of Essex.

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Mystic Valley Charter/North Shore Tech cooperative hockey team came ever so close to making the postseason tournament. Led by captain Bryan Jackson of Danvers and North Shore Tech, it all came down to a must win in the final game of the season. Unfortunately, they lost to Northeast, 7-3 and finished the season with a 7-9-4 record in the first year North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie has had a hockey program.

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Jean DePlacido is a correspondent for The Salem News. You can contact her at JMDeplacido@aol.com