A little of this, a little of that …
• A year ago, McGovern Brown was locked into an every-other-week routine when it came to competitive swimming. Like many changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Lincoln High graduate saw his time in the pool get scaled back dramatically.
“It was tough to get into a rhythm. [Training] has been on and off. I would get a few weeks in and something would happen with COVID,” said Brown.
A freshman at Providence College, Brown was finally allowed to let the competitive juices flow for the first time in 12 months. He made his college swim debut this past Saturday and marked the occasion by setting a Friar record in the 100-meter backstroke. His time of 58.19 seconds broke the previous mark set in 2014 by John Fatigati (59.37).
Overall, Brown placed second in the 100 backstroke as PC fell to Bryant, 169-119. The former Lion standout also contributed points with his second-place finish in the 50-meter backstroke (26.92).
“It was a little weird at first. I had been used to racing against the people who had been at practice with me,” said Brown. “Seeing new faces and having competition, that was fun.”
Brown says his PC teammates were the ones who informed him of the Friar swim history he made. The meet at Taylor Natatorium wasn’t live-streamed, hence Brown held the honor of relaying word to his parents, Timothy and Beth.
“It was pretty cool to hear that. College-wise, it was my first meet in over a year,” said Brown. “My parents were shocked to hear that I got a record. They had no idea until I told them.”
The Friars received their 2021 swim schedule back in December but only began training in earnest over the past four weeks after the program was on pause for COVID reasons.
“You feel good in the water and think you’re going fast, then you have to start all over again,” said Brown.
Brown and the Friars head to UConn this Saturday and also have meets scheduled against Maine (March 7) and Holy Cross (March 21). The Big East Championships are set for April 7-10 in Ohio.
“Right now, it’s been going well. Hopefully, we get all the meets in,” said Brown. “There could be a shut down in a week or two, but I’ve got to keep going and try my best to stay in the water.”
• The decision was made to stay within the St. Raphael boys soccer family and bump up Javier Centeno from assistant to become the program’s next head coach. Known for his extensive work around the region through his association with the soccer-enriching Project GOAL, Centeno grew up in Central Falls and played professionally before turning his attention to the coaching/development sector.
• May the fairways continue to treat Mike Masterson well in his post-Mount St. Charles golf coaching career. A 1971 graduate of Mount who taught there for close to 40 years, Masterson felt it was time to move on and live the retired life after leading the Mountie linksmen and women for 26 years. A longtime high school basketball official, Masterson also elected to step away from that duty as well.
• With high school football games receiving clearance, expect Woonsocket High head coach Charlie Bibeault to bounce around the state in support of his sideline peers should it be permissible from an observer standpoint. It was reported earlier this week that Woonsocket decided to opt out of the upcoming Fall 2 season.
“I have plenty of friends who are coaches and plenty of friends whose kids play around the state,” said Bibeault. “As long as there’s a season, I’ll be around.”
• It’s been customary for high school baseball teams to play a handful of games inside McCoy Stadium, also the longstanding host of the RIIL baseball championship series. With the PawSox no longer the primary tenant at McCoy and the site continuing to serve as a COVID-19 testing hub, inquiries about taking the field once springtime rolls around are likely to go through Pawtucket’s Public Works Department.
“Depending on where we stand once it’s appropriate, we’ll see how we can work with the schools to make that happen,” said City of Pawtucket spokesperson Wilder Arboleda. “While it’s something we haven’t touched at this time, it’s definitely something that will be considered if it’s possible.”
• The continued presence of COVID-19 didn’t impede the Mount St. Charles girls basketball team from staging their annual Pink Out game. Despite no fans for the Feb. 12 game against Block Island, the program donated over $200 to the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation.
• Nice moment this past Wednesday with the St. Raphael girls basketball team honoring Deb Allen as part of their Senior Night festivities. For the past 15 years, Allen has been the official home-and-away-games scorer for SRA boys and girls hoops. As an aside, she makes the best cookies, and we’re talking not just chocolate chip.
• On the trails, this past Sunday saw Cumberland native Cole Cayer open his sophomore cross country season at the University Hartford with a personal-best time of 25:29.50. Cayer graduated from Cumberland High in 2019.
• Since 1995, a thorough accounting has been kept for state meet records for RIIL freshmen girls via indoor track. That brings us to what St. Raphael ninth grader Gemma D’Orazio accomplished at last Sunday’s RIIL Freshmen Indoor Track & Field Championships. By claiming the shot put with a throw of 25 feet, 11½ inches, D’Orazio became the fourth all-time “frosh” state champion in SRA girls’ history and the first to do so in a field discipline.
• It’s great that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are all-stars. If you’re Celtics boss Danny Ainge, do you look into trading one of your young stars and build around the one you elect to keep?
• I’m not opposed to the Patriots bringing back Cam Newton as long as Bill Belichick makes substantial upgrades to the pass-catching groups.
• This column would have been longer, but I’ve got to find my hard hat that figures to come in handy during Saturday’s RIIL indoor track state meet when the time comes for Woonsocket High teammates Logan Coles and Tarik Robinson-O’Hagan to duke it out in the boys’ weight throw. Per hshammer.com, Coles and Robinson-O’Hagan continue to rank first and second, respectively, in the national rankings.