Proving the old adage that good things often come in small packages, Susan Petullo LaRoche etched her name in both the basketball and tennis record books during a standout career at Lowell High School.
After transferring from St. Joseph’s High School after her freshman year, Susan made her mark in the Girls Basketball program. Despite her relatively short physical stature, the 5′ 2″ dynamo started at forward for Coach Bob Boehm’s Raider squad for 3 seasons (1976–1977) through 1978–79). Susan’s great hustle and determination more than made up for her relative lack of height, allowing her to pull down 408 rebounds for a career average of 7.8 rebounds per game, usually against taller opponents. This figure still ranks in the top ten on the all-time LHS list for career rebound average. Her individual game high of 17 rebounds ranks in the top ten as well.
The team’s Co-Captain as a senior, Susan’s signature moment occurred in a close contest against Greater Lowell Regional. After tying the game on a lay-up with 15 seconds remaining in regulation, Susan fired in an off-balance turnaround jumper from the foul line to win the game in overtime.
Susan was named the team’s Most Valuable Senior after the 1978–79 season.
In the spring Susan turned her talents to the tennis court. As a sophomore (1977) she teamed with Liz Poitras to finish with an 11–2 record, winning Lowell Sun All-Star honors. As a junior (1978) Susan moved to 2nd singles, finishing 8–1. Competing at 1st singles as a senior team Captain in 1979, Susan compiled an impressive record of 10–4, once again earning Lowell Sun All-Star honors. Displaying trememdous versatility on the court, her overall career record of 29–7 was an important factor for Coach Dennis Krysiak’s Raider juggernaut that compiled a 24-match undefeated string in the midst of Susan’s tenure on the squad. She won both team MVP and Coaches ‘Award honors as a fitting conclusion to her Lowell High School athletic career.
After graduation Susan attended the University of Lowell where she enjoyed a successful tennis career. She was named winner of the Cushing Award at the University as the Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year in 1982–83. Susan joined a list of Cushing Award winners that includes national champions, all-Americans, and future professional athletes.
Embarking on a career as a physical therapist after graduation, Susan eventually provided training, physical therapy and rehabilitation services for Lowell High School athletes as a physical therapist and then owner of Therafit, Inc. in Lowell, thus returning to her LHS roots.
Graduation/Class Year: 1979
LHS Sports Played: Basketball, tennis
LHS Sports Coached: Physical therapist, LHS athletes
LHS Teacher or Admin:
LHS Sport Captain: Yes
College: University of Massachusetts, Lowell/Lowell Tech/Lowell State College
Other Halls of Fame: