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Nashua North alum Rosenberg overcomes challenges

Kevin Rosenberg was watching the Olympics last summer, wondering about his own future as a competitive athlete, when he came to a realization.

The easy way out – after back surgery and far more downs than ups as a college athlete – would be to give it up and move on to the rest of his life.

The hard work it would take, especially in the weight room, to get to the level Rosenberg believed he could reach might take away from the real reason he’s attending Northeastern University, to get an education that will set him up professionally for the rest of his life.

But as Rosenberg watched other athletes competing in London, he felt his own competitive juices begin to flow. He was ready to do whatever it took to come back.

It’s been a tough road, athletically, for the former Nashua North multisport standout, now a junior at Northeastern.

The injury problems began in high school. Working out in the weight room prior to his senior football season, he felt a twinge in his back. The next day he could barely walk.

His doctor at the time said Rosenberg shouldn’t play football again, a devastating prognosis at the time. But by the fifth week of the season, after consulting with another doctor, Rosenberg was back. He’d play for North in the championship game and be selected for the Shrine Bowl.

But where Rosenberg, who also played basketball in high school, really stood out was track and field. He holds most of the North records in the shot put and discus. He won the Division I title in the shot put in both the winter and spring seasons.

There was no reason to believe Rosenberg, once he concentrated all his efforts on throwing, wouldn’t blossom into an outstanding collegiate thrower.

But in February of his freshman year, doing the same squatting lift that resulted in his high school injury, Rosenberg hurt his back again. This time he was diagnosed with a herniated disk.

“Part of the problem was I didn’t listen to the training staff as much as I should have,’’ Rosenberg said. “I was immature and not adjusting to college that well, but it was a stupid decision on my part.’’

Rosenberg had his first cortisone shot the summer after his freshman year and experimented with yoga. It seemed to work until he started training again and had to shut things down.

He had surgery Dec. 27, 2011, then began a long regimen of physical therapy.

At the same time Rosenberg was dealing with his own medical problems, the coach who recruited him to Northeastern, Joe Donahue, was facing something much more daunting.

“During my freshman year, he (Donahue) was around all the time,’’ Rosenberg said. “Then late that summer, he said he needed a few days off because of a stomach problem. The next time I saw him was at his wake.’’

Donahue, who recruited Rosenberg and became a trusted mentor, died of pancreatic cancer Oct. 10, 2011.

“Outside of some deaths in my family,’’ Rosenberg said, “this one hit me really hard. He was a great guy who coached at Northeastern for over 40 years.’’

Rosenberg is competing again, and because of the time he missed, he’ll still have three years of athletic eligibility after this year. He’s in the middle year of a five-year program at Northeastern. He’s changed his major from nursing to criminal justice.

As part of the co-op program at Northeastern, Rosenberg spent July to December last year working with a probation officer in the Boston Municipal Court.

It was an eye-opening experience for Rosenberg, who still hopes to open some eyes on the track.

“I’m a long way from being 100 percent,’’ Rosenberg said. “But I still have the same goals, to win a Colonial Athletic Association championship, make it to the (NCAA) Regionals and quality for the Nationals.”

Rosenberg was 11th in the shot put in a multi-team meet at Harvard last weekend with a throw of 44.77 feet. It’s not where he was hoping to be at this point, but it’s a start.

Keith Lewis

Keith Lewis, of Nashua, finished second out of 11 competitors in the pentathlon this weekend at Harvard Challenge in Cambridge, Mass.

Lewis scored 4,836 points to finish behind winner Peter Rhodes of Brown (5,055).

Highlights for Lewis, a Nashua South graduate, included a win the 60-
meter dash (7.30 seconds), a second-place finish in the 60 hurdles (8.63), a third in the 1,000 (2:44.29) and a third in the high jump (6-4).

Jane White

Freshman Jane White, of Amherst, scored a career high 18 points to help the Bentley University women’s basketball team overcome a 10-point deficit with five minutes left against St. Rose and remain unbeaten at 15-0.

White, who led Souhegan to back-to-back championships, came off the bench to hit six of 10 field goal attempts, including 4 for 7 from 3-point range, helping the Falcons, ranked second nationally, to a 79-74 victory.

Rachael Carter

After missing several games with an injury, Salem State sophomore Rachael Carter, of Merrimack, seems to be back in form.

She had 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists last week in a 85-73 loss to Framingham State, then added 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists Saturday in a 76-68 loss to Bridgewater State.

Carter leads the Vikings in scoring average (15.6 per game) and total assists (55) despite missing six of her team’s 18 games.

Phil Arnone

Junior forward Phil Arnone, of Litchfield, has scored goals in each of the past four games for the Plymouth State hockey team, including a pair of shorthanded goals.

Kyle Nelson

Sophomore forward Kyle Nelson, of Milford, had a team-high 11 points last week for the Colby Sawyer men’s basketball team in an 80-42 loss to Dartmouth.

For the season, Nelson, who recently moved into the starting lineup, is averaging 7.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

Anyone with news that can be included in the College Journal should contact Gary Fitz 594-6469 or gfitz@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Fitz on Twitter (@Telegraph_GaryF).