Boston Globe: "White's Run Ends With Top Honor"

Boston Globe:  "White's Run Ends With Top Honor"

White's run ends with top honor

May 22, 2011

By John Vellante, Globe Correspondent

Soccer, not running, was his focus in his first 3 1/2 years at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Jon White played well enough on the pitch to earn all-conference honors in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference and an invitation to the New England Inter-Regional Game at Harvard. The Lynnfield native was also elected a team captain as a junior and senior.

But with his college soccer career complete last fall, and at the urging of his friends on the academy’s track and field team, White decided to run competitively for the first time since high school. He did not expect to be a pace setter in the 400 meters, but he would deliver an honest effort in every race.

White never won a race, but his gritty performances meet in and meet out earned the admiration of his teammates and coaches.

White’s effort this spring, coupled with his superb play as a defender on the soccer team last fall, earned him Male Athlete of the Year honors from the academy.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized in this way,’’ said the 22-year-old White, an All-Cape Ann League soccer player his junior and senior years at Lynnfield High.

“There were others who deserved it much more than I did,’’ White said, “others that won conference championships and were on all-conference teams. I know they all gave their best, as did I, and any one of them could have won it. I tried to do what it takes to make myself and my teammates better and because of that feel I gained the respect of my teammates and coaches.’’

As a freshman and sophomore, White said he never considered running track. And last spring, he was in China, studying at Shanghai University.

Mass. Maritime track coach Cathy Lohse-Whitelaw said White was a natural from day one.

“It’s too bad his rookie season was also his senior season, because he showed great potential,’’ said Lohse-Whitelaw. “He really never stopped running because he did a lot of that playing soccer. When it came to workouts, he gave 100 percent, and in competitions, he doubled that effort. He never gave anything but his best. Playing soccer was a big benefit to him because he had so much endurance.’’

In his final performance, White finished 10th overall in the 400 (53.25 seconds) at the MASCAC championship meet, an achievement he ranks equal to the men’s soccer team knocking off Bridgewater State for the first time in 19 years.

“Track wasn’t even on my radar a few months ago, so finishing 10th for me was an absolute thrill,’’ he said. “My goals were to make it to the championships, not finish last, and not to embarrass my team. I met them all. There might have been nine other runners in front of me, but there were just as many behind me.’’

Mass. Maritime coach Greg Perry said White is probably one of the “most mature, polite, conscientious individuals I have ever met on and off the field.

“Probably not the most talented, but everything he did was top notch on the practice field and on the game field. He was a leader, and from a coaching standpoint, he made my life a lot easier.’’

After graduating June 18, White will work for a Beverly-based shipping company and return to China, building ships.

Campus corner:  Massachusetts Maritime Academy has named soccer and softball cocaptain Katie Maynard of Chelmsford winner of the Foundation Award, presented to a student-athlete who “best exemplifies the true spirit and philosophy of Division 3 athletics.’’ Mass. Maritime also awarded ECAC Merit Medals to baseball captain Neil Patnaude of North Andover and rifle sharpshooter Kevin Geisel of Gloucester. . . .