Blogs | Eric Benevides

Cleaning these notes off my desk

I’ve been wanting to join the blogosphere at the Valley Breeze for quite some time now. I’ve also been wanting to do something with all the valuable post-its, scribbles from my notepad, emails, and other things that never made it into print, but collected on my desk.

Well, here’s a chance to kill two birds with one stone ...

• Once in a while, a reader will share a "blast from the past" picture with me, and while I get a kick out of them, at the bottom of this blog is the best I've received so far this year. It's a youth hockey picture of a team named Desjarlais Excavating taken sometime in the late 1960s at Adelard Arena. Can you name the head coach in the picture? Bonus points if you can name the boy in the front row who's not paying attention to the photographer. (Answers are near the end of this blog.)

• The Rhode Island Interscholastic League has released the brackets for this weekend’s state wrestling championships at Providence Career & Technical Academy, and unlike the past few years, this part of the state could be seeing more than its fair share of grapplers in the finals of their respective weight classes.

Here are 17 names who could be wrestling for championship glory sometime after 6:30 p.m. on Saturday: Ponaganset’s Richard Andrews (138), Sam Lynch (145), Cole McGill (152), Lucas Peckham (160), Brandon Macomber (170), and Tyler Riggs (182), Cumberland’s Dom Passanante (113), Jeremy Batista (132), Noah Tougas (152), Malik Sangare (160), Jack Hayes (170), Jaylen Reynolds (215), and Aaron Wilcox (285), Lincoln’s Tyler Balon (182) and Jack Brayall (285), North Providence’s Josh Wheeler (120), and Woonsocket’s Elijah McDowell (126).

A few predictions? McGill and Tougas will have an entertaining title match at 152, as will Peckham and Sangare in the 160-pound finals and Riggs and Balon in the 182-pound semifinals. At least six of the 17 wrestlers mentioned will win state championships, and either Ponaganset or Cumberland will capture the state team championship.

• Two more local girls’ soccer players recently announced where they will continue their academic and athletic careers: North Smithfield resident Emily Sheridan, a student at the Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson, Conn., and Blackstone-Millville Regional midfielder Alexis Glode.

Sheridan will attend Division III Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. Sheridan netted 100 goals and 55 assists – 31 goals and 17 assists last year – in a career that saw her help lead MPS to three straight SENE (Southeastern New England) championships and land N.E. Player of the Year honors in 2015. Glode signed a National Letter of Intent to play at D-II Millersville University. She was a two-time First-Team pick on the Dual Valley Conference all-star team, and last season, she also landed on the Central Mass. Soccer Coaches’ Division III all-star team.

• The Scituate High baseball team will again play a home game this season at Dodd Stadium, the home of the Connecticut Tigers (the short-season Single-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers), at Norwich, Conn. The Division II Spartans, who played Tolman High in a Division II-North game at “The Dodd” two years ago, will host D-I Central High in a non-league game on Saturday, April 15, at 10 a.m. Interesting note about this game: Scituate head coach Dave Hanson will match wits against his father, Knights head coach Dave Hanson, Sr.

• The head coach in the above picture is none other than legendary Mount Saint Charles Academy 1,000-game winner Bill Belisle. His son and co-Mount coach, Dave Belisle, is the player in the front row looking down; another son, John Belisle, is standing second from the left, and standing between John and Bill is Mark Riley, who was kind enough to share this picture with me.

• Two local collegiate athletes set three school records last weekend in their respective league meets. Smithfield’s Stephanie Mattson, a sophomore on the Division II Bentley University indoor track and field team, broke records in the long jump (18-2.25), 500 meters (1:07.19), and triple jump (36-7.5) at the Northeast-10 Conference Championships, and Cumberland’s Jack Bauer, a senior on the D-III Worcester Polytechnic Institute men’s swim team, established new marks in the 100-yard butterfly (48.88 seconds), 50-yard backstroke (22.87), and 100-yard backstroke (49.26) at the NEWMAC (New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference) Championships.

• Mount Saint Charles Academy head boys’ soccer coach Paul Jacques was recently named his sport’s NFHS Coaches Association’s 2015-16 R.I. Coach of the Year. The school was officially notified of his honor on Feb. 14 – 15 months after Jacques and the Mounties won the Division II championship.

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