As the snow fades from the lawns of Rhode Island and the leaves slowly return to the trees, the Huskies of Mt. Hope High School are gearing up for the spring sports season.
This spring, Mt. Hope will field nine varsity athletic teams — baseball, softball, girls’ and boys’ lacrosse, girls’ and boys’ outdoor track and field, boys’ tennis, boys’ golf, and unified basketball.
“Once the fields are ready, all our teams are going to roll out right away,” says Mt. Hope Athletic Director Christy Belisle. “I’m really excited to be here, excited to see what we can accomplish this spring.”
Belisle is entering her first spring season as athletic director at Mt. Hope. She previously worked at the collegiate level, serving as head coach of women’s soccer and coordinator of academic support for the athletic department over a 12-year career at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.
“[Collegiate and high school athletics] are totally different worlds,” she says. “There are so many nuances that come specifically with working with high school student athletes, but I am excited to see what the spring will hold.”
One major initiative Belisle is working on is developing a strong summer athletic and leadership program for the high school and community. Partnered with Olympic Physical Therapy, she hopes the summer initiative will have great success and flourish into an annual program.
“As an [athletic director], I have to be one season ahead,” she says. “The leadership program is in the works; we’re working on funding and sponsers, but our goal is to get as many Huskies out there as possible.”
Here’s a look at the upcoming seasons for each Mt. Hope team:
The baseball team looks to rebound from a 2012 season in which they went 7-12 overall, getting eliminated in the first round of the Division II playoffs by Johnston and Mt. Pleasant.
“On the baseball side, we have some good veteran pitching mixed with some young talent,” says Belisle.
The 2013 squad will be led by head coach Robert Millard and assistant coach Bruce Marshall, along with seniors Derek Burke, Josh Castigliego, Louis Costa, Corey Gendreau, Josh Hunt, Bruce Marshall, and Jeremy Securo. They open up the season Thursday, April 4, at Ponaganset High School.
The softball team will come back from a season in which they missed the Division II playoffs. One bright spot for head coach Steven Zina’s team is senior Jessica Delawder, who will be playing her first season at Mt. Hope after her family moved to Rhode Island from Arizona.
“We are picking up a player who [comes from an area where she] can play year-round,” says Belisle. “She has already committed to Central Connecticut [University]; I have seen her energy in practice and she is a natural leader.”
The softball team starts out their campaign Thursday, March 28, at home against Warwick Veterans High School.
The team, led by seniors Adam Almeida, Jason Flanagan, Sean Killeavy, Aaron Merritt, William Moclair, Ron Robert, Trevor Sousa, Alan St. Vincent, Byron Thibaudeau, and junior captain Ross Hogan, will look to avenge their 2012 season in which they went 5-9 overall and were eliminated in the first round of the Division II playoffs by South Kingstown.
“Boys’ lacrosse looks very strong,” says Belisle. “We are drawing more interest from first-time players; we have a lot of strong athletes getting on board.”
Head coach Scot Clark and assistant coach Jay Spina lead the Huskies this year, which will open their season at Cumberland High School on Tuesday, April 2.
The team, coming off an 0-13 campaign in 2012, look to return to glory as they return to Division II after spending the 2012 season in Division I.
“The girls had a lot of success over the years, which led to them moving up to Division I last year,” says Belisle. “They unfortunately had a tough time against some much bigger schools in that division, but they are back down to D-II this season and are looking to get right back at it.”
The 2013 squad will be led by seniors Alex Hill, Carmen Hogan, Angie Mascena, Taylor Souza, and Alex Threadgill, along with head coach Kerri Ferreira and assistant coach Shayla Walden. The Huskies open their campaign Monday, April 1, at Portsmouth High School.
The outdoor track and field teams look to put out even stronger seasons than they had in the winter, in which the boys team came in 12th place at the Class B Championship, with senior Jacob Silva qualifying for the State Championship meet in the 55 meter hurdles.
“Outdoor track should do well; they have a lot of runners who they pull from cross country or do other sports in the fall,” says Belisle. “There’s a nice core group that always comes in and does well.”
The girls team had more success indoors, finishing 14th at the state championship, in which freshman Karina Tavares finished third in the 3,000 meters, and the 4 x 400 meter relay team of seniors Megan Vento, senior Nicole Rusin, junior Kylie McPherson, and junior Hazel Baldwin-Kress, took fourth place to qualify for the New England Championship.
The track teams, coached by head coach Andrew Sabourin, assistant coach Jeffrey Blanchet, and volunteer coach Kevin Medeiros, begin their season Monday, April 1, with a quad meet at home against St. Mary/Bay View, Shea High School, and Tollman High School.
The boys’ tennis team is coming off of a 2012 campaign in which they went 1-10-1 and missed the RIIL playoffs. Coached by Geoffrey Keegan, the team will include Duane Adkins, Tom Amaral, John Farias, Jevin Fortin, Ryan Franco, Adam Hamel, Chris Kern, Matt McGee, Zach Minior, Scott O’Hare, Cody Perry, Stephen Riendeau, Tao Sevigny, and Dan Simonds. Their first match of the season is Tuesday, April 2, at home against Warwick Veterans High School.
The boys’ golf team, coached by head coach Chris Munzert, finished 10-4 in 2012, qualifying for the state tournament, in which Justin Correia was named to the East Division All-State Second Team, and Brett DeCosta and Ryan Dame were named to the third team, as the Huskies finished 14th in the state tournament.
Unified basketball has already begun their season, beating Middletown and Tiverton in their first two games of the spring.
After a loss to Central Falls in the Division II Championship last season, head coach Tom Fullen and volunteer coach Sue Carlson hope to coach their squad back to the top of the state.
The team is led by seniors Matt Coccio, Andrea Pereira, and Randy Pullen.