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Dorrie Varley-Barrett, Pietra Sweeney prepared to go the distance in Boston Marathon

Dorrie Varley-Barrett (left) and Pietra Sweeney (right) will attempt to run their first Boston Marathon together on Monday.
Dorrie Varley-Barrett (left) and Pietra Sweeney (right) will attempt to run their first Boston Marathon together on Monday.(Pietra Sweeney)

Training for a marathon is excruciating, both mentally and physically taxing. As Division 1 soccer players at Boston University, Dorrie Varley-Barrett and Pietra Sweeney withstood plenty of athletic challenges over the past four years. They have one more to complete before graduating this spring.

When their college careers came to a close this past fall, the standout defenders needed something to occupy their time. The 22-year-old roommates found training for the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston suited their craving for competition.

“I needed something to kind of occupy myself when soccer was over, keep me busy, something to train for and work towards,” said Sweeney, an Acton native and former Globe All-Scholastic soccer player who will don bib No. 25916. “I realized I needed something to take my mind off soccer being over . . . a perfect transition away from soccer.”

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A Chelmsford native and Groton School graduate, Varley-Barrett capped her career with her third Patriot League All-Conference selection, earning a nod to the All-Patriot League First Team as well as a United Soccer Coaches All-North Region Third Team honor.

There were a few similarities in preparing for the marathon and a soccer season. Long training runs served a familiar feeling, Varley-Barrett said, like a soccer “game day.”

Dorrie Varley-Barrett recalled being “out of commission for like two days” after a BU soccer game “and that’s how it  is with a long run,” she said.
Dorrie Varley-Barrett recalled being “out of commission for like two days” after a BU soccer game “and that’s how it is with a long run,” she said.(Pietra Sweeney)

“After a soccer game I would be out of commission for like two days, and that’s how it is with a long run,” said Varley-Barrett, who will compete in bib No. 26427. “It’s almost like several game days throughout the week. It was as physically demanding as I expected, and it’s also a big time commitment.”

Varley-Barrett said the time commitment was the biggest surprise in her training. She said she decided to run the marathon while watching last year’s race. She researched charity teams that night and immediately took interest in the Tufts MC Team that benefits the Tufts Medical Center and Tufts Floating Hospital for Children.

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“I knew that I had wanted to run for a hospital or medical foundation,” Varley-Barrett said. “I ended up seeing that Tufts was one of the Hancock charities and I have personal connections, I work there now and some of my family members have been treated here. As soon as I saw them on the list I applied.”

Pietra Sweeney (right) will be running for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester. She and ex-BU soccer teammate Dorrie Varley-Barrett have raised over $23,000 in pledges and donations.
Pietra Sweeney (right) will be running for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester. She and ex-BU soccer teammate Dorrie Varley-Barrett have raised over $23,000 in pledges and donations.(Pietra Sweeney)

Sweeney is running for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, and the duo who combined to raise over $23,000.

“I just really like the whole aspect of them helping the inner city kids and the families, giving the kids a place to go after school and get them off the streets, giving them opportunities that they otherwise would not have,” Sweeney said.

Prior to beginning their training, neither had run more than five or six miles. They only completed two training runs together, usually running with their charity teams and coaches, but they are looking forward to seeing each other at the finish line.

“It’ll be the best moment ever,” Varley-Barrett said.

Odds and ends

■  BC High’s 40-year baseball coach, Norm Walsh, became the eighth coach in Massachusetts history to record 600 career wins when his Eagles topped Malden Catholic, 2-1, on Wednesday evening.

■  The Brookline boys’ volleyball team won the Little Rhody Invitational at East Greenwich High School. The Warriors went 3-1 in pool play, beating Tolman (R.I.) and Brockton and splitting with West Warwick (R.I.). Brookline then played in three one-set playoff matches East Providence (25-15), St. John’s-Shrewsbury (25-21) and Pilgrim, R.I. (25-22) in the championship. Senior Eric Chabon was named tournament MVP.

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■  Medway Public Schools and athletic department announced Wednesday the hiring of Anthony Mazzola as the new head football coach. Mazzola was the head coach at Tri-County for the past nine seasons, where his team appeared in two vocational Super Bowls and finished as semifinalists in 2018. Under Mazzola, Tri-County was named the Mayflower conference Sportsmanship Award winner six times.

Prior to coaching at Tri-County, where he works as a special education teacher, Mazzola worked with the Bay State renegades and North East Knights minor league clubs and coached two season at North Middlesex Regional.

■ Bishop Feehan announced Friday longtime girls basketball assistant coach Amy Dolores will take over as the head coach. Former coach Mike Deady stepped down in March after 21 years at the head of the program.

Dolores, who has coached at Bishop Feehan for 10 seasons as the freshman coach, junior varsity coach and varsity assistant, captained the 1999 LaSalle Academy (Providence) state champion basketball team and attended Villanova. She is currently a math teacher at Bishop Feehan.

“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to work with our student-athletes to create an environment where they can reach their potential both as basketball players and as young women,” Dolores said in a statement.

■  The Jack Grinold/Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation announced its 2019 scholar-athletes Wednesday. The 33 high school seniors were selected based on their academic and football success and will be honored at the chapter’s annual banquet. Former Dighton-Rehoboth coach Dave Driscoll and WBZ sportscaster Steve Burton will also be recognized at the event, which takes place May 19 at the Boston-Newton Marriott. For more information, visit grinoldchapter.com.

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The scholar athletes are as follows:

Andover: Ethan Coyle, Nick Zalanskas; Arlington: Adam Bowler; Austin Prep: Dylan Cann; BC High: Kaleb Moody; Belmont Hill: Shane Rockett; Boston Latin: Devin Vasquez; Buckingham Browne & Nichols: Justin Allbee, Tommy Maloney; Central Catholic: Joe Howshan ; Dexter Southfield: Joe Flinn; Duxbury: Michael McMutcheon, Quinlan Murphy; Foxborough: Hunter Williams; Hingham: Spencer Cassell; Holliston: Scott Elliott; Lincoln-Sudbury: Cal Kenney, Braden O’Connell; Lynn English: Mathieu Severance; Mansfield: Aidan Sacco; Masconomet: Jay Theriault; Methuen: Aaron Searth; Milton: Smith Charles; Milton Academy: E ddie Duggan, Jiho Mun; North Reading: Mike Mikula; Stoneham: Christos Argyropoulos; St. John’s Prep: Charlie Giunta, Wes Rockett; St. Sebastian’s: Alex Cherry, Bill Seidl; Xaverian: Cooper DeVeau, Lucas Ferraro .


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