For Northeast High School senior Howard Lynn, sports have always seemed to come as second nature.
From the time he was a young lad of 6, playing Little League baseball for Fox Rok, Lynn knew early on that sports were a productive way to become a team player on the field while also connecting with adoring fans and alumni of a school chock-full of athletic tradition.
Now approaching his final weeks at Northeast High, Lynn, a multi-sport athlete, has much to be proud of. Much to reflect upon, too.
He has won prestigious All-City and All-Public League honors from both the Daily News and the league’s coaches for his role as kicker on Northeast’s football team. Lynn also earned All-Second Team city honors as the goalie on the Vikings’ soccer team, accomplishing what few high school student-athletes can even fathom: being a two-sport standout within the same athletic season.
After a winter away from the field, Lynn is back as the captain and first baseman/pitcher for Northeast’s baseball team, which has sprinted to a dynamite 7-1 Public League start following last year’s dismal 2-12 season. Much of the squad’s unexpected success has come because of the talent and leadership of the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Lynn, a well-rounded player who continues to reach higher and higher for his goals, never getting complacent with his athletic accomplishments.
“I’ve made many achievements and hope to have left an imprint on my time here at Northeast High,” Lynn said. “But at the same time I always remain humble and gracious toward my supporters and make sure I always give my best when I’m out on the field, never resting on my laurels.”
Of course, an athlete like Lynn can only be as good as the training he has received from his elders, and head baseball coach Sam Feldman is due much recognition for helping to develop his star player. When asked what Lynn has meant to the baseball program at Northeast, Feldman emphatically responded, “Everything.”
Having coached baseball at Northeast since 1999, and on the varsity level since 2001, Feldman has had his share of players to develop on the diamond.
“Lynn brings with him a sense of excitement and hope never before seen in this community,” Feldman said. “He is the consummate team leader and has a radiant, take-charge personality. He is a protector and spokesman for our team; he is definitely a person that wants to be heard and has a lot to say. As an athlete, he always backs it up on the field.”
It may seem like a lot of responsibility for a teenager to take on, but Lynn simply takes it all in stride as a regular, everyday routine. Feldman also beams with pride when discussing Lynn’s vocal personality within the Northeast community. Having been featured as one of the main subjects of the short-lived A&E reality-television show “Teach” starring Tony Danza, Lynn has shown the ability to spread that poetic charm everywhere he goes, even off the field when cameras are not rolling.
His presence on the field certainly has helped the Vikings’ baseball team form postseason aspirations despite heading into the 2012 season expecting a “rebuilding” campaign, as Feldman forecast in late March. With players falling to injury and others not invited back to the program for various reasons, the Vikings have stormed to a 7-1 start in Public League B Division play and were just a half-game behind frontrunner Prep Charter when the Times went to press this week.
The move to Division B clearly helped Northeast from a competitive standpoint, but without players like Lynn, as well as younger players like juniors Daquan Bohannon, Shahir Gates, Steve Martinez and Manny Duran, whom Lynn has helped mentor, the Vikings would be facing another lost season rather than be staring down the possibility of becoming a Public League champion.
“Coming from a losing season last year, it really put us in a bind and made us more determined than ever to come back this year stronger than ever.” Feldman said.
So far so good for the Vikings, who in their eight league games have outscored their opponents by a 95-46 margin. Lynn has been a key cog in the Northeast offensive machine, posting a .545 batting average thus far to go along with eight extra-base hits in eight games. Lynn also plays a stellar first base for the Vikings; he made a handful of sprawling catches in foul ground during Friday’s 23-8 victory over Franklin Learning Center.
When he finishes his time at Northeast, Lynn will pursue a degree in business management at Lock Haven University in central Pennsylvania.
“I want to make sure that I leave a legacy behind, that I tried my best to bring a rebuilding and turnaround for the sports I played, particularly baseball,” Lynn said. “It is my dream to take this team to the championship and bring home the winning trophy. I know we can do it, we just need to work as a team and help encourage each other and build each other up.” ••EndFragment