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McGAIR: Kirkbrae Country Club ready to host R.I. Amateur

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Kirkbrae

The 2021 R.I. Amateur golf tournament is taking place at Kirkbrae Country Club.

A little of this, a little of that …

• The time has come for Kirkbrae Country Club to put on its Sunday Best and roll out the red carpet for the state’s top golfers. The 2021 edition of the R.I. Amateur tees off beginning Monday and concludes next Saturday.

Just up the road from Lincoln High School, Kirkbrae CC will welcome an Amateur field that includes 13 participants who are members of a course that plays to a par 72 and measures 6,647 yards from the back tees. That’s a lot of players who have local knowledge of every slopping hill and tight fairway that make up the 18-hole track that’s hosting the R.I. Amateur for the first time since 2005.

“It feels like we’ve been talking about [this year’s Amateur] ever since we got off the green at Pawtucket [Country Club] last year,” said Michael Hamilton, Kirkbrae member and Lincoln High graduate.

Hamilton is one of two Kirkbrae members who last year advanced from the 36-hole qualifier to the quarterfinals of the R.I. Amateur. The hope is that the Kirkbrae flag is well-represented after the dust settles following two days of qualifying action.

“I don’t think they’ll be pressure of an expectation of doing well at your home course. If guys play like they’re supposed to, it wouldn’t surprise me to see seven or eight make it to the Round of 32,” said Hamilton. “Once you get [to the match play format], it’s all about matchups. The match play part is where [the Kirkbrae members] have a big advantage. They’re going to put the pins in harder spots and play from tees where others haven’t played from.

“If we get that many guys into match play, there’s definitely the possibility of some guys making a run,” Hamilton added.

Another layer of intrigue figures to come should two Kirkbrae members square off in match play. Talk about the chance to own some bragging rights within the country club’s hallways.

“They’ll be a lot of friendly competition. As much as the guys want to beat each other, everyone is pretty encouraging and rooting for each other,” said Hamilton. “Obviously you can’t root for the guy if you’re playing him, but we’ll see how the week unfolds.”

Besides Hamilton, the list of R.I. Amateur participants from Kirkbrae includes Brad Valois, Alan Lao, Derek Audette, Doug Caniglia, John Auclair, Larry Lafauci, Nick Salvatore, Pat Healey, Samuel Lombardi, Sebastian Tonkovich, Steve Holmes, and Tom McCormick.

Per Dalton Balthaser, RIGA Manager of Communications & Technology, there have been 19 occasions where the winner of the R.I. Amateur did so when the tournament took place at his home club. The last time it happened was 2003 when Mike Soucy held serve at Valley Country Club.

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• Jonathan Bergin played three sports during his time his at Burrillville High (basketball, football, baseball). Ditto for Molly Brown (basketball, lacrosse, volleyball). Both 2021 graduates were named Bronco recipients of the Babe Mousseau Outstanding Athlete Award that’s presented to one male and one female.

Receiving Burrillville’s Tom Eccleston Outstanding Student-Athlete Award was Jack Corrao on the male side and Abigayle McNamara on the female side. The Roger Hall Outstanding Sportsmanship Award went to Conor Driscoll (male) and Samantha Mansolf (female).

Staying with the Broncos, John Libby was recognized with the George Ducharme Special Achievement Award. Recipients of the Eddie Williams/Walter DaCosta True Blue Bronco Award were Riley Chamberlin (male) and Emily Weekly (female).

The Skee Carter Award went to the following: Colby Bouzan, Collin Boisvert, Weekly, and Bergin.

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• At Cumberland High, Jackson Walsh and Kelsey Carr were the male/female honorees of the Clippers’ Student-Athlete Award that’s presented to a senior who demonstrates excellent leadership skills and sportsmanship along with involvement in the school community outside of athletics.

The Frank Geiselman Most Versatile Student-Athlete Award that’s given to a senior male and senior female student-athlete based solely on athletic performance was presented to Adam Barboza (male) and Madison Zancan (female).

Ryan Larson took home the Richard Gregoire Football Award that’s in honor and recognition of a young Cumberland High School Student-Athlete who passed suddenly on the football practice field in 1962. The recipient must be a senior who was involved with the football program for at least two years. They must display key areas of sportsmanship, loyalty, courage, dedication, cooperation, and enthusiasm on a regular basis while participating on the team. 

Adam Connell was tabbed the best fit for the Stanley Leukiewicz Hockey Memorial Award that’s in honor of a Cumberland High School Student-Athlete who played on the hockey team from 1969-1970 and 1971-1972. Leukiewicz passed away from a motorcycle accident in 1972 after graduating from Cumberland. He was known to be dedicated, cooperative, loyal, courageous, and displayed the utmost level of sportsmanship. This student must be a boys’ hockey player who has inspired his teammates and displayed great sportsmanship, dedication, cooperation, enthusiasm, loyalty, and courage. They are considered to be the hockey team’s unsung hero.

Owen Molis and Olivia Belt were the male and female honorees for the James Hall Memorial Award that was created in honor of a Cumberland High graduate who ran for the school’s cross country, indoor/outdoor track teams from 1972-1976. He was killed in the spring of 1978 in a hit-and-run automobile accident. This award is given to a male and female student-athlete from either cross county, indoor track, or outdoor track. These student-athletes have inspired their teammates while upholding the standards of sportsmanship, dedication, cooperation, loyalty, courage, and enthusiasm for their teammates throughout the season.

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• Dylan Balon and Riley Specht were the choices as Lincoln High’s top athletes from the Class of 2021. Balon was honored with the Charles Hien Most Outstanding Male Athlete. Specht was named the Katherine Tiberri Most Outstanding Female Athlete.

Balon was the male recipient of the Richard E. White Student-Athlete Award with Emily Ariza holding the female claim of said award. Balon was the choice for the Peter L. Moreau Scholarship while Kevin Degnan was tabbed with the Richard Elderkin Memorial Scholarship & Special Award.

The Lincoln Athletic Council Scholarship went to Jenna Burlingame (female recipient) and Austin Balon (male recipient). The Michael J. Monteleone Sportsmanship Award went to Elizabeth Hien (female recipient) and Lyric Logan (male recipient). The choices for the Marissa A. Lorea Scholarship were Domenica DaCosta, Tayla Salome, Abigail Gill, and Dylan Balon.

Fourteen members of Lincoln High’s graduating class were recognized for winning at least seven varsity letters. The list includes Angelina Bairos, Dylan Balon, Caroline Bucacci, Hayley Chartier, Domenica DaCosta, Kevin Degnan, Abigail Gill, Aidan Gould, Elizabeth Hien, Lyric Logan, Melissa Pierce, Lauren Rose, Riley Specht, Drew Swanson.

For leading Lincoln to the 2020 Division II field hockey title, Lea Miguel was named Lincoln High’s Coach of the Year.

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• Ceejay Laquerre and Alli Melnychuk made the grade as the male and female choices for Mount St. Charles’ Athlete of the Year. Mount’s Sportsmanship Award winners were Brendan Donahue (male) and Lauren Cunanan (female). The Scholar Athlete award went to Ryan Slaney (male) and Talia Fernandes (female).

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• At Shea High, Kenny Silva was the pick for the Winston Dodge Male Athlete of the Year Award, while Allison Dos Santos received the Carolyn Nactrieb Female Athlete of the Year Award.

Additionally, Henrique Duarte was the Raiders’ choice for the Neil Shackett “Pride and Desire” Award, while Mariama Jaiteh was given the Russell Comire Meritorious Service Award. Jayden Rodrigues was tabbed with the Thomas J. Duffy “Unsung Hero” Award, while Natanael Gonzalez Ortiz was presented with the Jason Beaulieu Award.

Alexander Alvizures walked away with the Bill Brady Award, while Charlisa Kollie was presented with the Steven Paul Shaffer Student-Athlete Award. Tony Morgan was the choice for the Brian C. Hayward Memorial Award. Leonardo Soares Lopes was presented with the Athletic Director’s Special Award while Bitenga Namusse was given the Principal’s Special Athletic Award.

Kaylisse Depina was the choice for the Shea Raider Special Recognition Award.

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• Leandro DePina and Hanatha Konte were deemed the male and female choices for Tolman High’s Outstanding Athlete. A nine-time varsity letter recipient, Konte was also presented with the Female Student-Athlete of the Year award and the Edward “Ted” McConnon Memorial Scholarship.

DePina along with Justin DeCosta were honored with the Gig Pariseau Memorial Scholarship. Jeremy Clark was a two-time recipient as he was Tolman’s choice for Male Student-Athlete of the Year. He was also awarded with the James W. Donaldson Memorial Scholarship.

Other Tolman recipients include Abby O’Connell for the Lori Ann Poulin Memorial Scholarship, Aliou Sissoko for the Daniel Sullivan Memorial Scholarship, and Nelton Semedo for the Ronald Araujo Memorial Scholarship.

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• As a reminder, the website pawsox.com is still operational.

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• This column would have been longer, but I just saw some guy named Noah with a few animals in tow float by my house in an ark. Investing in one might not be such a bad idea considering the amount of rain around here this past week.

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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