High school state championship teams and athletes, the Cumberland American Little League all-star team’s venture to the Little League World Series, and a handful of remarkable milestones were among 2011’s many sports highlights in the Woonsocket Call area.
The year began with another memorable winter season that saw Mount St. Charles cap it by defending their state championships in both boys’ and girls’ hockey.
For the Mount boys, the dynasty continued as they claimed their fourth straight Division I championship by sweeping their best-of-three title series with Bishop Hendricken by 5-4 and 7-2 scores. The championship was the 42nd in the program’s storied history.
The Mount girls made it back-to-back titles by again downing rival Bay View Academy in the best-of-three series, doing so by scores of 2-0 and 7-1. The championship was the sixth in the nine-year history of the program and the fourth that came at the Bengals’ expense.
Another repeat state championship came from Cumberland swimming standout Courtney Kent in the 500-yard freestyle. The sophomore not only defended her title with a 5:00.55 time, but she also became a champion in an additional event, the 200-yard freestyle, in a 1:54.88 clocking.
Two significant milestones were also reached during the winter, starting in girls’ hockey, when on Jan. 22, North Smithfield senior center Kayla Kiernan became the first 100-goal scorer in RIIL history.
She scored four goals in a 5-2 win over the Cran-ston co-op team, and while her first goal set the state record for goals scored in a career (96) that was held by Mary Rogers of the Lincoln School, her fourth goal gave her the 100th of her marvelous career.
Bill Belisle then made headline news by reaching 900 victories as the Mount’s legendary boys’ hockey coach in a 4-1 win in Smithfield over the Sentinels on March 5. The 81-year-old Belisle’s 904th career victory would come two weeks later and bring the Moun-ties their state title.
The Woonsocket High girls’ basketball team also welcomed another player to its 1,000-poin club, as Ashley Dubois reached the milestone at the end of the 2011-12 campaign. That club grew to five just a week and a half ago when Kailey Fugere hit the mark.
And aother local athlete, North Smithfield’s Corinne Coia, also reached the 1,000-point mark, as well as the 1,000-rebound mark, doing so for the Lincoln School basketball team.
The story of the spring season may have been Cumberland golfer Jamison Randall, who after finishing runner-up in the 2010 state individual tournament, captured the title with a superb 36-hole total of 145 (71-74) and became the first Cumberland golfer and 22 years to accomplish this feat.
Randall also joined teammates Jack Andrade, Mike Ray, and Brendan Guerin in winning the team title with a brilliant four-player score of 312. It was the sixth title in the history of the golf program and the first since Cumberland won three straight from 1989-91.
Cumberland also received a state championship from its softball team, which after going 0-for-4 in the finals, managed to win its first state title by winning a 3-2 nine-inning thriller with Mount St. Charles.
In girls’ track and field, a pair of local standouts won state championships, as Mount St. Charles’ Ali Sayles won the 100 high hurdles in 15.86 seconds and Kaylnn Pitts claimed the triple jump with a 38-foot-1 leap.
Another 100-goal scorer was achieved in the spring, but in girls’ lacrosse, where Lincoln High junior Jillian DeSimone not only reached the mark early in the season, but also finished the season with over 100 goals! Look for her to reach the 200-goal mark with ease this spring.
While high school sports took a break in the summer, the Cumberland American all-stars were making plenty of news in winning the state and New England championships and playing in front of a world-wide audience at the World Series in Williamsport, Penn.
Cumberland lost both of its games in Pennsylvania, but took its fans on a magical ride at the New England tournament in Bristol, Conn. They held off a late-inning rally by Fairfield, Conn. to post a hard-fought 8-7 victory in the semifinals and used an eight-run uprising in the bottom of the first inning to blast Andover, Mass, 13-7, in the championship game.
State championships were also won by four other Little League all-star squads — Cumberland’s Minor and Major Division and Burrillville’s Senior Division softball teams and Lincoln’s Minor Division baseball team.
There was only one fall state championship from the Woonsocket area, the Ponaganset girls’ tennis team, which capped an unbeaten season by defeating Scituate in the Division III championship match.
And another athlete in another sport was also to reach 100 goals in her exceptional career, as Cumberland senior Stephanie Ribeiro hit the mark en route to a marvelous 39-goal season.