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McGAIR: It's been "Sommer Time" as former Cumberland High girls' tennis standout continues to shine at RIC

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Cumberland native and Rhode Island College tennis player Amiah Sommer has posted an undefeated record as part of the Anchorwomen’s No. 3 doubles team.

A little of this, a little of that …

• Cumberland High product Amiah Sommer is perfect on the season for a women’s college team that’s also riding a hot streak of perfection.

Competing at No. 3 doubles for Rhode Island College, Sommer will carry a 13-0 record into Saturday’s home match against UMass Boston. The unblemished mark is equaled by a group of Anchorwomen who clinched at least a share of the Little East Conference regular-season title this past Tuesday. Sommer played a hand in the clincher as she teamed up with doubles partner Amara Devine (via Smithfield) to post an 8-1 win over their opponents from UMass Dartmouth.

Listed as a freshman on the 2021 roster, Sommer appeared in one match for RIC during this past spring’s rescheduled season. She’s been able to meet the challenge of taking on a greater workload for a program that’s closing in on seven straight LEC regular-season crowns.

“Amiah has really blossomed as both a player and teammate. Her enthusiasm and support for her squad is exceptional. She’s also really meshed well with Amara. They’re both super competitive and love to bring positive energy to every match they play in,” said RIC head coach Adam Spring. “In all, Amiah has put together a superlative season.”

A four-year starter who graduated from Cumberland in 2020, Sommer rose to become the Clippers’ No. 1 singles player as well as team captain. She’s pursuing a degree in sociology.

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• Taking on a new job outside of public education will prohibit Paul Jacques from continuing as varsity baseball head coach and varsity boys/girls indoor track head coach at Mount St. Charles. Jacques notified the local media earlier this week that he would be stepping down from both posts.

This concludes a memorable 17-year coaching run at Mount that for Jacques also included a seven-year stint as the school’s varsity boys soccer head coach. Breaking down the championship success per sport at MSC, Jacques presided over the 2019 baseball team that captured the Division II title and was an assistant for back-to-back D-II title runs in 2009-10. The 2015 D-II boys soccer title is still hailed as a miracle run, while girls indoor track produced three small class championships and two division titles.

Before taking over as MSC’s baseball head coach in 2017, Jacques served as the school’s boys/girls outdoor track head coach for two seasons. In 2016, he took former Mountie running star C.J. Berg to the nationals for indoor track and the Penn Relays. To this day, Berg remains the only Mountie runner to attend both indoor nationals and the historic Penn Relays.

“The past 17 years I spent within the MSC athletic community not only has made me a better person but is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. People will ask if the multiple state, class, or division championships were the best parts of the job. I will tell them no. It was the positive relationships I have built with all the coaches I have worked alongside with and coached against, the news media, parents, student body, and most importantly the talented student athletes that I was so fortunate to coach,” said Jacques. “As the saying goes, ‘Once a Mountie, always a Mountie.’”

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• The search is on for a new athletic director at Cumberland High School after Eric Blanchard accepted a position to become Rhode Island College’s Assistant Athletic Director for Recreation. Blanchard started at Cumberland in Dec. 2019 after coming from RIC where he worked in the athletic department after graduating from the Little East Conference school in 2012.

“I am extremely excited to return to Rhode Island College as assistant athletic director for recreation,” Blanchard said in a statement as part of the announcement made this past Tuesday. “Rhode Island College has a long history of tradition and I am excited to help contribute to the success of my alma mater.”

Blanchard will remain at Cumberland for the next month. Looking ahead to the winter, the Clippers still need to hire varsity head coaches in girls’ basketball and girls’ indoor track. The position for Blanchard’s successor is already being advertised on schoolspring.com. The school is promoting the job as a full-time position.

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• With more than a few local ties, the Providence Pirates of the American Basketball Association fall under the “Worth Watching” category in advance of the season opener that’s scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 30 at the West Warwick Civic Center against the Worcester Majors.

The 2021-22 roster for the Pirates includes Pawtucket native and Shea High alum Shane DaRosa, a six-foot guard who’s played overseas in Portugal and Spain. DaRosa has also hooped for the Cape Verde National Select Team. Listed by the Pirates under the supporting players category is Jaelin Jackson, a 5-foot-8 guard who played at Woonsocket High and graduated from there in 2018.

The Pirates coaching staff includes two individuals who are jumping from the Rhode Island Interscholastic League ranks. Eli Itkin was previously an assistant at Shea High while Jason Blouin comes aboard after serving as an assistant at Blackstone Valley Prep.

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• The word is clearly out on Pawtucket native/Tolman High product Tedrick Wilcox. In conjunction with its annual college basketball preview magazine, Lindy’s Sports selected Wilcox as NEC Newcomer of the Year. Wilcox is gearing up for his first season as a Division I participant with St. Francis (NY).

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• Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones stepped to the podium Wednesday in sneakers that said No Bull on them. Apparently, there is an actual company that goes by that name. In that case, someone should ship a pair of No Bull sneakers to Kyrie Irving.

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• Admit it, you didn’t think the Red Sox would still be playing with just over two weeks to go before Halloween. If you did, bless your eternal optimistic heart.

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• In the spirt of the WooSox opening their ballpark for Red Sox playoff viewing parties, I keep waiting for the email to declare McCoy Stadium as a site for a Soxtober gathering.

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• This column would have been longer, but it’s time to go shopping for a Halloween costume. Any suggestions?

Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03. Check out the “Ocean State Sidelines” podcast that appears on www.pawtuckettimes.com and www.woonsocketcall.com

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