SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

June 15, 2013

D'Agostino ready for US Track Championships

Jean DePlacido
The Salem News

---- — Fresh off of winning an NCAA championship in the 5000 meters, Topsfield’s Abbey D’Agostino is leaving Thursday to compete in the U.S. Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

The Dartmouth College athlete, who just completed her junior year, needs to place in the top three of the 5000 to earn a spot on the American team going to the World Championships in Russia later this summer.

“I’m thrilled to be going,” said D’Agostino. “It will be a pretty similar event to the Olympic trials last summer, with many of the same people.

“Actually, I don’t feel as much pressure this time because I’m more prepared and more seasoned as a 5K athlete. I’m excited that my parents will be there to watch.”

D’Agostino returned home from the NCAA championships in Oregon and went up to Dartmouth to see many of her friends graduate. The title claimed in the Pacific Northwest was her fourth national title; she also became the fifth woman to ever win back-to-back titles in the same event.

She had an incredible year for the Big Green in all three seasons of track.

“It was wonderful because I had a lot of traveling opportunities, and it was great to be able to learn about myself as an athlete,” she said. “Each race contributed to the next, and I’m gaining confidence.

“There are different types of races even within the same event. Running different races and using various strategies come with experience, and I believe I’ve learned a lot.”

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All-American is the latest honor to come Merrimack College softball star Tawny Palmieri’s way. The recent graduate from Peabody was named a National Fastpitch Coaches Association Third Team All-American after having a spectacular season for the Warriors.

In becoming the 15th Merrimack player so honored (and first since 2009), Palmieri batted .432 with 54 hits and 34 RBI. She is a Daktronics All-East Region Second Team selection for the second time, and made the NFCA All-Region First Team.

The third baseman put her name in the Warriors’ record book all-time top 10 in several different categories after graduating this spring, including career home runs and RBIs.

“All-American is what every college athlete dreams about,” said Palmieri, who starred at shortstop in high school for the Tanners. “The first is a World Series Championship, and if that doesn’t happen All-American honors is right behind.

“I was so excited when I found out I had been chosen. After I made the All-Region team I knew I had a good chance, but it wasn’t a sure thing.”

Palmieri’s batting average was slightly higher than the athletes chosen at third base on both the Second and First Team, respectively. She thinks the difference may have been how far their respective teams advanced.

“The numbers Tawny put up in her career here in just three seasons (after transferring in from UMass-Amherst) are extremely impressive,” said Warrior head coach Jim Cardello in a press release. “She’s as talented at the plate and at third base as any I’ve seen. She has earned and deserves this national recognition.”

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Peabody athletic director Phil Sheridan received a special award at the Peabody High Sports Awards Night last week. He was presented with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Distinguished Award by Mayor Ted Bettencourt and Peabody Superintendent Joseph Mastrocola.

“It was very nice to have the mayor present it to me,” said Sheridan. “I knew I had been nominated, but I would rather give out awards than get one. Every once in a while it’s nice to be on the receiving end, especially before a Peabody crowd.”

Sheridan received a beautiful plaque that he will put up in his office. Tanner track coach Fernando Braz said the award was well-deserved.

“The man has at least six different jobs, and honestly I don’t know how he manages,” said Braz, who was at the Moynihan Lumber North Shore Student-Athlete Awards Luncheon to see his niece, Catarina Rocha, receive the Athlete of the Year Award for the second straight time.

“Phil has been my boss for 15 years and it seems like every year he adds additional jobs, but still he is never far removed from the community or the kids. It is very rare when you find that in any person.”

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Annie Pugh hated to see her seven seniors graduate from the Marblehead High girls lacrosse team after playing such a big part in the squad’s success over the last three seasons. During that time that Pugh has coached the Magicians, they’ve gone an impressive 49-13-2 overall and reached the Division 2 North semifinals three times and the North final this spring.

Alli Hanratty, Pamela Gregory, Kiley Fischer, Meggie Collins, Cassie Rodgers, Tyler Phillips and Allie Forman are the seven seniors, five of whom will play in college. Pugh praised their dedication to the program and outstanding leadership.

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Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at jmdelacido@aol.com.