EG Athletic Hall of Fame Takes Place May 5

Among this year’s honorees are Bob Corr, Chris Della Grotta, Stephanie Gloria and Kristen Manson.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The East Greenwich Athletic Hall of Fame will honor its 2018 slate of inductees as well as present special awards and the two Ucci Award scholarship recipients at its annual banquet Saturday, May 5, at the Quonset “O” Club.

In this year’s class are Bob Corr, Class of 1976; Allen Pritchard, Class of 1978; Chris Della Grotta, 1983; Stephanie (Balkcom) Gloria, 1989; Mike Kamin, 1991; Steve DiIuro, 1992; and Kristen Manson, 1995.

Michael Kamin, Class of 1991: A four-year varsity track and three-year basketball star, Kamin was a three-time All State shot put champion and javelin thrower. He holds school records in both events.

In basketball he was All State leading team to a State title and was a Street & Smith Honorable Mention All America. He helped EG to 1991 Class B State hoop title and was a Providence Journal Honor Roll Nominee.

At the University of Illinois he was a two-time letter winner in javelin and is one of the Illini’s top ten throwers of All-Time. In 1992 he was Top Male Student-Athlete and was All Academic Big Ten three times, also winning U of I’s prestigious George Huff Award.

Stephanie Balkcom Gloria, Class of 1989: Played four sports at EGHS. Cross Country, Basketball, Soccer and Track. She established five school records in three sports – track, basketball and soccer. Steph earned first team All Division honors 9 times and All State Honorable Mention 4x.

In college Balcom played club basketball one year and club soccer one year but made her mark running varsity cross country and track for the Fordham Rams. She was named All Patriot League in 1992 and placed in the PL’s top 15 Indoor track times for the Mile and the 3000. Her running sparked Fordham’s Patriot League title in 1990 and Metropolitan crown in 1992.

Stephanie Balkcom Gloria continues her running to this day and took a first place in the Don Davis Memorial 5K. She has also been a high finisher in several other Road Races in the Ocean State.

Robert J. Corr, Class of 1976: A first team All Class B selection in football at EGHS. Also a member of the track team. Next, at Governor Dummer Academy he played football and lacrosse and was named 2nd team Boston Globe Independent Prep Team as running back.

At Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, Bob was a four-year starter in Lacrosse and a three-year starter in football. He came to EGHS as a Freshman football coach and also did JV and assistant varsity before taking over the reins in 2002. As Head Varsity Coach he turned out an undefeated regular season team in 2004, which lost in playoff semi-finals. In 2005 EG lost in semis again, but in 2006 Bob piloted the Division iii Super Bowl champions. 2007 saw them rush into the semi-finals again before losing.

Corr founded the East Greenwich Alumni Football Association, which started the now traditional Annual Thanksgiving Eve Pasta Dinner.

Chris Della Grotta, Class of 1983: A four-year hockey standout for the Ice Avengers, he graduated in the top 10 of his class. Made the Phi Beta Kaplan Society and was first team All Division. Selected to RI All Star team, which won the 1983 New England Yankee Conference Tournament. He played in 127 games at EG and had 80 goals and 138 assists, giving him the All Time scoring record at 218 points. He was named MVP twice and his teams won Met B crowns three times.

At Bentley College he played four years of hockey getting two hat tricks as a freshman, with seven overall there and garnering six game-winning goals. He ended up as Bentley’s 9th All Time scorer by the time he graduated cum laude with a degree in accounting.

Allen Pritchard, Class of 1978: A four-year starter in both football and baseball and a three-year starter in wrestling, Pritchard was All Conference as an Outfielder (JR) and as a pitcher (SR) and was co-MVP. In wrestling he came in fourth in state at 185 as a senior.

He was one of two people ever outside of Warwick to be asked to play for Warwick’s American Legion Shields Post #43. At Elon College he was best pitcher in ’80 and ’81 and was #2 in the NAIA in ERA. He also won NAIA All District and All Conference honors and had school honors in victories and ERA marks.

He was elected to the Elon College Sports Hall of Fame and chosen to throw out the first pitch when Elon celebrated 100 years of baseball in a game versus Brown. He was invited to the St. Louis Cardinals for a tryout and played for the Johnson City Cardinals minor league team.

Stephen DiIuro, Class of 1992: Wrestling, football and baseball at EGHS, while playing soccer for EGSA travel teams during that period. DiIuro was a Wrestling All Stater and the 145-pound champion, also making All League. He was the Class B Sectional Champion. The team’s captain he was chosen as a Providence Journal Bulletin Winter All Star.

In football he was second team All State, first team All League, the Thanksgiving Day MVP and his team’s MVP. Steve was also named the Dr. Uno Uustal Award winner and EGHS Most Outstanding Male Athlete Award winner. He also served as student council president for two years. He graduated from URI with a B.S. in Management Science and Information Systems.

Kristen Manson, Class of 1995: A field hockey, basketball and softball star at East G., Manson went on to star in field hockey at James Madison University and coach at Central Michigan and then back at JMU. In field hockey she was All Division twice and All State twice while leading her team to state titles. She made All Tournament  and was the defensive MVP in the state All Star game. She also served as the Avenger captain.

In basketball she made All Division twice and was also Honorable Mention All State.

At James Madison, Kristen grabbed All Conference honors and was a NCAA Regional All American second teamer. She was the Lady Dukes team captain, team MVP and played in the North-South Senior All Star Game. In her time at JMU they were CAA Champs, an NCAA Final Four team, and were ranked in the top ten.

As an Assistant Coach at Central Michigan, she helped the Lady Chips take the 2002 MAC Field Hockey Championship.

The EGAHOF will also be honoring three local residents with special awards – Kerri Withrow Valentine, who will receive the Special Recognition Award; and Fred “BeBe” MacDonald and Bruce Roberts, will be presented with Golden Avenger Awards.

The Special Recognition Award goes to an Individual who has given of themselves selflessly in supports of athletics in the Town of East Greenwich and whose efforts are integral in perpetuating the town’s athletic tradition.

The Golden Avenger Awards are given to individual, who grew up in the town, had success

in athletics and have given back to the EG community throughout their lives, and, whose efforts have laid the groundwork for the town’s athletic tradition.

Kerri Withrow Valentine was a four-year field hockey standout at EGHS and captained the team her senior year. She returned the next year as an Assistant Coach and was part of the program, which won four state and seven division titles.

In 2004 she became EGYFH president, a program that has grown and grown under her direction. The EGYFH runs spring clinics, leagues and summer camps. It sponsors a high school summer league and a fall program.

In 2017, Valentine was nominated for the NFHCA Junior Hockey Award.

Fred “BeBe” MacDonald graduated from East Greenwich High School in 1950. As an Avenger he played four years of baseball, four years of football, four years of baseball, managed the basketball team and also was on the wrestling club team.

He served in the Korean War and, while in the service, also played baseball for his base team.

A lifelong quahaugger, MacDonald is still bullraking at the age of 86. He managed the Shell Fishermen’s Co-Op, Eastern Seafood, started Independent Fishermen’s Co-Op and built 10 condos on his property off Forge Road. To give back to his community, “BeBe” started a scholarship program for the children of quahauggers.

Bruce Roberts played for East Greenwich High School in the 1960s. He jokes that he had an intimate relationship with future Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri, as Roberts was the center and Carcieri the quarterback. Bruce also played for the excellent EG Townie teams of the early to mid ‘60s. Those teams won both the Rhode Island Semi-Pro Championship with an unbeaten season, and the next year took the Southeastern Massachusetts title with a 9-1 record.

After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Bruce coached lacrosse at schools out of state before moving back to East Greenwich and joining the LAX staff at East Greenwich High School, where he has been a valuable contributor to the success that Avenger teams have had on the lacrosse pitch.

Ucci Award Winners

Andrew Blessing, a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, baseball, plus a few others, and Jennifer Imbriglio, a four-sport athlete, have been chosen as the 2018 Ucci Award winners. They are both from East Greenwich High School.

Blessing was on the football team for three years and was the quarterback and captain. He also played basketball for three years and baseball for two. In between he played golf and was on the track and cross country teams.

Very active in the school, he was on the student council, Prom Committee and the Future Business Leaders of America. He helps out in the community by working with the EG Youth Basketball Association and is a camp counselor for Safety Town of East Greenwich, and is a standard bearer for the CVS Charity Golf Classic. He also served as a counselor for the East Greenwich Parks and Recreation and ran a pet-sitting business.

Andrew is a National Honor Society Member, a Rhode Island Scholar-Athlete Award winner, was second team All Division in football and made the All Academic team.

Blessing was a National Leadership Conference Qualifier for FBLA and helped EGHS to the freshman state title in cross country as a freshman. He was also named a Rhode Island Scholar Athlete in football.

Andrew is deciding between Bentley (for football), Holy Cross and Fordham (where he might walk on) and Boston College (for school only).

Imbriglio is equally accomplished. She played field hockey for four years, ran outdoor track for four and ice hockey for three with one year in indoor track.

She was on student council for four years, and the same with International Club, EG AfterProm, Airband and The Crimson Yearbook. To a lesser degree she was also involved with Avengers for Animals, Prom Committee, and the marching band.

In the community, Jennifer has participated in the R.I. National Guard Military Family Program, the Women & Infants Hospital Teen Volunteer Program, Our Lady of Mercy’s Vacation Bible Camp, OLM Bread Lines Volunteer and Junior Legion of Mary. She also coaches first to third graders in EG Youth Field Hockey, gives out toys, hats and gloves to children in West Bay Community Action, coordinates birthday parties at Aim High Academy, works at Wild Harvest Bakery and serves as an EGHS Tour Guide, was an original organizing member of Roomz Without Walls.

Imbriglio has also been nominated for the coveted annual SLTP Student Leader of the Year Award 2016-17, is a national Honor Society member, earned an Honorable Mention for the Premio de Plata (National Spanish Exam), was an AP Scholar, won the George Eastman Young Leaders Award and the Rhode Island Scholar Athlete Award.

Jennifer will attend Quinnipiac University in the fall and will play either club field hockey or varsity ice hockey.

The banquet – at the Quonset “O” Club, 200 Lt. James Brown Road, North Kingstown – begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25. For tickets and more information, contact Jeff Santos at 884-3515 or jsantoseg@verizon.net, or Guy Asadorian at 884-4143 or guyasa821@gmail.com.

A note: The format for the Anthony “Tar Tar” Ucci Awards will change slightly for next year. A new application has been formulated and it will be distributed and announced at East Greenwich High School in early January. There will be a two-month period to apply and the applications will be submitted to Anthony Ucci, who will head a committee of Vincent and Joseph Ucci, David Ucci Sr. and Bruce Mastracchio, all nephews of East Greenwich’s true athletic legend. Winners receive a dinner, a plaque and a monetary scholarship award.

EG Athletes Who Have Gone on to College Sports, Dec. 2017 Edition

EGHS alum Brandon Eckles is in his senior year playing basketball for Springfield College.

Editor’s Note: If you know someone who is competing for a college team who is either an EGHS graduate or an EG resident and would like them to be included in future columns, please contact Chris Cobain, Athletic Director at EGHS (398-1562 or ccobain@egsd.net) or email  Bruce Mastracchio at thebrooker23@yahoo.com.

Sam Atkins – Sophomore at Rhode Island College. Plays second base for the baseball team. As a freshman he played in 12 games. Started in five. He had a .923 fielding percentage.

Jackson Cronin – Freshman at George Washington University runs distance for cross country and track teams. In X-C, Cronin had a best of 19:16.71 in 6K at the William & Mary Invitational. Posted an 8K time of 26:19 at the George Mason Invitational. Ran a 32:20.80 10K at NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional.

Tommy Sommers – Sophomore at American University. Also runs X-C, indoor and outdoor track. In X-C had a best of 16:39.40 in 5000M. Indoors he ran a 1500M 4:13.63; a 3000M time of 8:44.37. Outdoors he did the 3000M in 8:44.82 for a fourth place finish at the Maryland Invitational, and also had 5000M time of 15:35.42 and 10K time of 31:47.32.

Graham Chapski – Bentley Junior ran a mile best of 4:22.26 in the Terrier Invite. At Greater Boston Track Club Invitational, he clocked a 1000M score of 2:36.30 for a second place finish. Ran a 3000M time of 8:48.62 at Northeast 10 Indoor Championships and ran a 1500 in 4:04.38 at the Stonehill Skyhawk Invitational.

Kaley McMullen – A junior at Fairfield University, McMullen walked on to the field hockey team and has started to make her mark. Last year as a sophomore she played in all 21 games, starting 15. Had 3 goals and 4 assists and was named an MAAC ALL ACADEMIC.

Matt Sylvia – Freshman wide receiver at Salve Regina, appeared in 3 games this year for the Seahawks.

Eleanor Fulghum – Sophomore at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., is a member of the Crusader tennis team.

Courtney McMullen – A freshman, also at COHC, is on the Crusader field hockey team.

Laura Cooper – Sophomore at Bowdoin, another EGHS graduate of the field hockey program, is up in Maine on the Polar Bears squad.

Brooke Fennel – Is at URI and a member of the tennis squad representing the URI Blue and White.

Aleksandra Drljaca – A member of tennis team at Connecticut College, she plays for the Lady Camel netters.

Peri Sheinen – A freshman at Brown, she is waiting for season to start so she can make her mark on the courts for the Lady Bears.

Margaret McCaffrey – Junior at Rhode Island College runs all three seasons for the Anchorwomen. She posted a best time this fall with a 20:13.63 run at The Little East Championships.

Isabella Gentil – A freshman at the University of Miami in Florida, Gentil is a member of the Green & Orange track team, where she will be competing in the sprints.

Brandon Eckles – A Springfield College senior, Eckles has had quite a nice run playing basketball for The Pride. As freshman he played in 26 games averaging 4.6 points and 3.4 rebounds with a best of 18 points and 9 rebounds in a win against Vassar. Sophomore year he started 19 of 25 games averaging 7.0 points and 3.8 rebounds a game, with a career best of 20 points versus Western New England. As a junior, Brandon started 15 of 27 games averaging 22 minutes per game. Again he averaged 7 points a contest and pulled down 4.9 boards. His senior season just started, and through two games he is averaging 10 points per outing and 5 rebounds. The 6’7”, 235 lb. Eckles is majoring in communications and sports journalism.

DII Semifinals: North Kingstown 56, East Greenwich 7

Text and Photos By Mary MacIntosh

EG was no match for dominant NK skippers in the DII semifinals to Friday night. North Kingstown Skippers will play the Moses Brown Quakers (who inched out the Westerly Bulldogs 17-13 in their semifinal game Friday) in the Division II Superbowl on Dec. 3.

NK celebrates semifinal win.

This isn’t the end of play for the Avengers, however. The traditional non-league Thanksgiving Day game will be played Thursday at 10 a.m. against Exeter-West Greenwich on EGHS Carcieri Field.

Undefeated Skippers Blow Out Avengers 51-7

North Kingstown breaks up reception for EG’s Jack Holgren (15), Corey Gavin (81).

It was Senior Night at Carcieri Field Friday but the extra hometown love wasn’t enough to help the Avenger football team muster a defense against the undefeated North Kingstown Skippers. The Skippers won 51-7.

 

 

NK’s Nick Iden (5) blocks pass from EG quarterback Andrew Blessing (8).

Thanks to Mary MacIntosh for the photos.

Avengers Bests Mount Pleasant Kilties, 14-8

Photos and text by Mary MacIntosh

The Avengers scored in the first and third quarters coming into the fourth quarter ahead 14-0.  The Kelties came back in the last quarter with a touchdown and 2 point conversion bringing the score to 14-8.  EG’s defense was able to hold the Kelties back from scoring, bringing the team an overall record of 5-2 for the season.

 

EGLL Challenger Team Takes Field at Fenway

Matt Carasotto (left) and Matt Thayer with Wally. Photo: Tim Thayer

Sadly, the Red Sox season is over, but for a bunch of kids from the East Greenwich Little League Challenger baseball team, 2017 will always be a special year. That’s because it’s the year they got to take some swings at home plate at Fenway Park.

It started when team coach Howard Faunce learned that CVS and the Red Sox offer a program for Challenger teams. The Little League Challenger Division was created so young people with physical and/or developmental disabilities could play baseball with the help of peer buddies. John Sullivan got EGLL to add a Challenger team in East Greenwich in 2014. Faunce sent in a letter outlining the program and saying the team would love to participate. That’s all it took. They contacted Faunce and said, Come to Fenway.

Matt Carasotto, Katie Hayes, Charlie Kolb and James McNamara at Fenway Park Aug. 16.

Here’s where I need to make a confession: My son James is an EGLL Challenger athlete. When we heard about the Fenway opportunity, I figured we would be one of many teams at the park that day. Instead, it turns out we were the only team. First the athletes did a little batting practice inside. I figured, well, that’s it. Nope. Then they took everyone out to the field, athletes, buddies and awed parents alike. The kids sat in the dugout, then everyone checked out the Green Monster and then it was time for on-field batting practice. One by one, the athletes were guided to home plate for a chance to swing at a few pitches. Afterwards, it was time for lunch in the dugout where the Red Sox would be hanging out just a few hours later. Following lunch, there was a tour of Fenway.

Everyone got tickets to the game that night (8/16) – Red Sox versus Cardinals (a sweet game, ending with Mookie Betts’s walk-off home run in the 9th) – and included early admission to catch the Red Sox batting practice.  It was an

Challenger coach Howard Faunce with the Red Sox shirt given to him by the team.

extraordinary day.

“It means everything to see the smiles, the opportunity for these great kids, the buddies and the athletes, to be here for this,” said Faunce. “It’s an amazing fulfilling experience for me. The best part of it for me is just watching the kids play together.”

— Elizabeth F. McNamara

 

Lunch in the Red Sox dugout.
Challenger player Olivia Bisordi at the plate. Photo: Tim Thayer
James McNamara gets a little coaching at home plate. Photo: Tim Thayer
Tim Thayer stands below the sign that welcomes the EGLL Challenger team. Photo: Tim Thayer

Avenger College Notes: September 2017 Edition

East Greenwich High School Athletic Director Chris Cobain is not only happy with the recent success of the athletic program at EGHS (he was named AD of the Year last year), but he is also happy with the fact that athletes from the school are going on to play in college.

Some of those who have gone on and are participating on the college playing fields are:

Lauren Swanson at Northeastern University, who has a personal best in the weight throw at 53’9.75″; in the hammer at 166’2″. She is 6th All Time at NU in the Hammer and 9th All Time in the Indoor Weight throw. She also notched the highest Freshman finish at the 2016 Colonial Athletic Association Championships.

Summer Murray at Clarion University in Pennsylvania, who had an Indoor career best in the weight throw at the Mount Union Invitational with a toss of 13.72 meters. Ms. Murray also throws in the outdoor season shining in the shot put, hammer and discus.

Tommy Sommers, who runs three seasons at American University in D.C. In Cross Country he had a season’s best of 16:39.4 in the 5000 m at the DCYC Invitational. Indoors he ran a 4:13.33 at the Navy Invite, took a 5th in the mile at the Father Diamond Meet, and a 4th in the 3000 at the Last Chance Meet with a time of 8:44.37. Outdoors his top performance was a 4th at the Maryland Invitational.

Britt Estes enters his Senior year at Brown as a member of that school’s football team. He is a kicker and punter, who saw action last year and hopes to contribute this fall. He also led the JV gridders in scoring.

Matt Sylvia is a freshman wide receiver candidate for the potent Salve Regina Seahawks. Word is the former Avenger standout may garner some playing time in his initial year at the Newport school.

Katie Swanson is a member of the Union College lacrosse team. The former Avenger star is looking to make a contribution in her second year for the Dutchmen stickers.

Courtney McMullen is on the Field Hockey roster at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. The former Avenger star and Ucci Award winner is looking to duplicate the success of her sister Kaley.

Kaley McMullen, daughter of EGHS coach Deb McMullen, walked on at Fairfield University in Connecticut and appeared in all 21 games in 2016, starting 15. She scored three goals and had four assists.

Jackson Cronin, another Ucci Award winner, is starting his Freshman year at George Washington University in the D.C. area. Like Sommer he most likely will be running cross country, indoor and outdoor track.

Graham Chapski – Bentley University senior in cross country and track. Part of Falcon’s top five. Fifth among BU runners at NCAA Division II Regionals, with a 26.23.4 times. Personal best was a 26:20.7 for year. Helped set a record in 4×800 relay at 2016 New Englands as unit went 7:40. 52. Graham ran all three seasons for the Falcons, cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

John Hare – Haverford College fencing freshman, Hare had a best 19-3 record at the Vassar Invitational. Went 12-0 during the MACFA weekend tournament, and was 11-3 as the “Fords sabre squad won the MACFA title. He finished 2nd in the individual competition.

Eric Lauro – A senior, is a member of the Union College football team.

Margaret McCaffreyA sophomore at RIC is a member of both the cross country and track teams. She ran a 20:49.0 at the Pop Crowell Invitational and a 20:13.63 at the Little East X-C Championships.

Sarah Basler – Another EG runner on the Rhode Island College roster, Sarah, a freshman, clocked a best of 23:11.84 at the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational. Mr. Cobain encourages anyone who has a relative or friend performing at the next level to contact him at (401) 398-1562 or email thebrooker23@yahoo.com, and give the student’s name, college and sport being played.

Mr. Cobain encourages anyone who has a relative or friend performing at the next level to contact him at (401) 398-1562 or email thebrooker23@yahoo.com, and give the student’s name, college and sport being played.

– Bruce Mastracchio

EG Boys LAX Falls to Barrington 8-3 in Season Opener

boys lax 4:3:15After winning the Division 2 state championship four years in a row, the EGHS Boys LAX team is now playing in D1. The transition got off to a tough start during Thursday night’s season opener against Barrington. At the half, the Eagles were up 7-0 over the home team Avengers.

The Eagles went on to win 8-3, but EG settled down in the second half, scoring 3 goals to Barrington’s 1.

For the Avengers, Joe Madden, Cameron Cianciolo and Brendan Jordan all scored goals. Jordan and Pat Norton earned assists. Goalie Mitchell Gemma had 8 saves.

For the Eagles, Jake Slye and Mike Curry scored 2 goals apiece. The other goals were scored by Andrew Blau, Mac Curry, Nick Graham and Jake Bonney.

EG’s next game is Tuesday at Bishop Henrikson at 6 p.m.

Getting Fired Up for Cole’s Unified Basketball Season

 

Adam Scott is all in for Unified sports, as evidenced by his participation last weekend in the Rhode Island Special Olympics Unified Plunge at Salty Brine State Beach (he raised $2,282 – the most raised by any Unified Plunge participant). Then, on Friday, he organized an assembly, a pep rally of sorts, to kick off the season for the Cole Middle School Unified Basketball team.

Scott has coached soccer teams at both Cole and EGHS over his 17 years as a science teacher at Cole, but when he took over as a coach of the Cole Unified Basketball team last year, it was just a different experience.

“Our first practice, once I got into it, I absolutely fell in love with the program,” he said Friday. “I fell in love with every single thing about it.”

In Unified sports, students with intellectual and developmental disabilities play accompanied by “partners,” typically developing fellow students. The partners play a pivotal but secondary role to the athletes, setting up plays, passing the ball, encouraging the athletes. (Full disclosure: My son is a Unified athlete at EGHS.)

Unified sports are sponsored by Rhode Island Special Olympics in conjunction with R.I. Interscholastic Sports. This year, there are 17 middle school Unified Basketball teams, up from just 11 last year.

“It’s so rewarding for me to see the work I get to do with the athletes and the partners and to see how they really come together,” said Scott.

He credits adaptive physical education teacher Lisa McKay with giving him a lot of techniques to help the athletes succeed. As coach of the North Kingstown Special Olympics team, McKay knows her stuff.

“I’ve just had so much support in this building to keep this program as successful as it’s been,” Scott said.

The 15-person Cole team will play five games, including two home games (April 9 and April 30, at 3:30 p.m.). At the assembly Friday, Scott encouraged the student body to turn out for the home games – and to cheer as loudly for the opposing team as the Unified Lancers. Because that’s what Unified is all about.


Sign up for the EG News newsletter  here. You can like us on Facebook  here, or follow us on Twitter (@egreenwichnews)  here.

And, if you like what you’re reading, consider supporting East Greenwich News by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

Cole, EGHS ‘Unified’ Plungers Look For Support

The EGHS Unified Volleyball team before last year's plunge at Goddard Park.
The EGHS Unified Volleyball team before the 2014 plunge at Goddard Park.

A plunge in New England in March was never going to be billed as easy, but after the winter we’ve had, this year’s Project Unify Plunge has taken on an extra degree of difficulty. So, our local plungers are looking for all the help they can get.

Actually, the original plunge was going to be in February at Goddard Park. Sanity prevailed when the weather did not cooperate and the plunge was moved to March 21. Recently, the site of the plunge was switched to Salty Brine State Beach (with Goddard still alarmingly icy).

Athletes from the Cole Middle School Unified Basketball team and the EGHS Unified Volleyball team will be taking the plunge, as will a few intrepid adults, including Adam Scott, the Cole team’s coach (and Cole science teacher).

“For our Unified Basketball team at Cole, Special Olympics RI pays for the uniforms, officials, bus transportation to our away games and our end-of-the-year party during our 6-team round robin tournament,” said Scott recently. “We have a great group of athletes and partners on our team and I really love being involved with this team.”

Unified sports join people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. Special Olympics has fostered Unified sports both in schools and in its own sports programs.

Coach Scott has led the way in fundraising and Cole is currently the top fundraising school, for both middle and high schools in Rhode Island. You can find his page here.

Or donate to one of the EGHS athletes. You’ll find their team page here. (Confession: I am going to be plunging in place of my son James, a Unified athlete.)

If you are looking for an inspiring activity on Saturday, head down to Salty Brine State Beach. The plunge takes place at 1 p.m.