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Bigelow blooms as a hurdler at UMass Amherst

Stephen Bigelow has steadily improved in his time at UMass.

Stephen Bigelow has steadily improved in his time at UMass.

Bigelow blooms as a hurdler at UMass Amherst

Like his father, Stephen Bigelow was a late bloomer athletically.

Bob Bigelow (Winchester High, class of ’71) played four years in the National Basketball Association after being drafted 13th overall out of the University of Pennsylvania in 1975.

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His youngest son capped his hurdling career at the University of Massachusetts Amherst by being named the school’s 2014 male spring scholar-athlete.

It was a startling turnaround from four years earlier.

“Stephen tried out for the team as a walk-on his freshman year and was cut,” said David Jackson , who is in his fifth year as an assistant track coach at UMass. “He was a pretty good all-around athlete . . . but in high school he ran track as a training process for soccer.

Jackson added: “But he came back the next year a lot more determined . . . over the three years he competed for us he grew significantly. He dropped almost a full second off his competing time. In a sprinting event of 110 meters to drop almost a full second off of your hurdle time is pretty significant.”

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound senior cocaptain, who graduated on May 9, was particularly stellar over his final three months.

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In early March at the indoor New England Championships at Boston University, the 21-year-old Bigelow ran the program’s second-fastest 60-meter hurdle time (8.07) ever.

On April 19 at an outdoor meet at Holy Cross, the Winchester High grad finished the 110-meter hurdles in 14.37. He later beat his personal record and clocked UMass’s second-fastest time ever — posting 14.36 — on May 17 in the IC4A Championship semifinals at Princeton University.

For Bigelow, who first started competing on the track during his freshman year of high school merely because his parents did not want him watching television, his growth was indicative of his rigorous training and mental fortitude.

“Freshman and sophomore year was nothing too spectacular,” Bigelow said. “But last year, junior year, I started to get a little better. And this year, I was a lot better.”

His son’s improvement — which Bob Bigelow described as “Stephen becoming the man sophomore year” — prompted his father to exclaim, “Who the hell is this kid? He’s pretty fast; he’s pretty good,” when he saw his son run. It was not unlike his own hardwood experience 43 years earlier.

“Towards the end of my junior year I was getting lots of 30-point and 25-rebound-type games,” said the elder Bigelow. “My development was somewhat delayed. But I was tall — 6-foot-7 and 215 pounds — and I was coordinated. It was just a matter of figuring it out. And you have to remember, I didn’t start playing organized basketball until my freshman year of high school.”

Eventually, he was accepted at Penn. But after a four-year professional career, including part of the 1978 season with the Boston Celtics, Bigelow retired, instead opting to get a master’s in business administration at Babson College. He returned to Winchester, started a family, and since 1993 has dedicated himself to improving youth sports.

As for the youngest Bigelow, a summer internship with Mike Boyle’s Strength and Conditioning awaits, though his future is unclear. He said he suspects sports will somehow factor into his career. “I’ve really been getting into strength and conditioning,” he said. “I’m very excited for the internship . . . I’m not 100 percent sure where it will take me, but it would be cool to own some sort of private strength and conditioning company. And if not that, I’d love to be a track coach at school while also doing strength and conditioning at the same college.”

If that were to happen, he could turn to his mom — 32-year Tufts University swimming coach Nancy Bigelow — for advice.

Boxford’s Godett is an ‘unsung hero’ at BU

Sydney Godett learned via Twitter.

Just hours after graduating from Boston University last Sunday, the Masconomet Regional graduate from Boxford and four-year letter winner on the Terriers lacrosse team found out via 140-characters that she was chosen as one of five finalists for the 2014 Yeardley Reynolds Love Unsung Hero Award.

Recognizing the accomplishments of student-athletes who help their team achieve success in ways not measured by statistics, the 21-year-old senior tricaptain led BU to a 9-11 record while demonstrating an unrelenting work ethic and enthusiasm. She also served on BU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and as a board member of the Thomas E. Smith Let’s Just Cure Paralysis Foundation.

“I’d never heard anything about the award before,” Godett said. “But the more I learned I immediately felt so honored . . . seeing who has won it in the past is just so impressive.”

The award honors the former University of Virginia lacrosse standout killed in 2010. The winner will be named Saturday.

Around and about

Saint Michael’s College freshman pitcher Dylan Lavery (Billerica) was named to the NE-10 Conference all-rookie baseball team. Lavery struck out a team-high 33 batters in 35.2 innings and yielded a staff-low .221 opposing batting average. . . . On May 20, Sean Enos , a junior captain on the track-and-field team at Bates College, was named the Division 3 New England Men’s Field Athlete of the Year. The St. John’s Prep grad from Lynnfield is a three-time All-American in the shot put, discus, and hammer. . . . Lamarre Rey, a righthanded pitcher from Lynn and a Pingree School grad, signed with the Frontier Greys, based in Highland, Ill., of the Frontier League, an independent league in the Midwest. Rey, 24, played for Bentley from 2010-13. . . . Wheaton College senior Ashante Little (Seabrook, N.H.), a nine-time All-American and the reigning 400 meter outdoor national champion, was named the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association outdoor Division 3 New England region women’s track athlete of the year. . . . Trinity College senior tricaptain defender Lyndsey Shepard of Hamilton was selected to the IWLCA Division 3 All-American first-team in lacrosse and the NESCAC All-Conference first-team. Her teammate, sophomore midfielder Martha Griffin (Exeter, N.H.) earned IWLCA Division 3 All-Berkshire region first-team honors. . . . Burlington High will hold its hall of fame banquet on Oct. 9. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the athletic department at 781-270-1867 or 781-273-7077. . . . Bentley University graduate student Amanda Le of Chelmsford, a member of the Falcons’ swimming and diving team, was selected to the 2014 Capital One NCAA Division 2 Academic All-District 1 women’s at-large team. . . . Colby College junior Jason Buco (Methuen) earned NESCAC baseball All-Conference first-team honors, while Bates College senior Kevin Davis (North Andover) and Bowdoin College sophomore Chad Martin (Rowley) were named to the second team.

Paul Lazdowski can be reached at pmlazdowski@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @plazdow.

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