2008-12-24 / News

High School winter sports season is underway

By Stephanie Heelan Cotsonas

Most of the North Kingstown winter sports teams are well into their seasons. Both boys' and girls' swimming and indoor track were covered in a recent edition of the Jamestown Press. Here is an early season look at the remaining winter sports.

Boys' basketball

The boys' head basketball coach is Aaron Thomas, who is entering his 12th season with the team after four years as the JV coach and four years as a JV coach in Seekonk, Mass.

This year Thomas is anticipating a team that improves throughout the season. He said he will rely on their excellent defense. "This year's team does not have a lot of varsity experience, but we have more athletic ability than I can ever remember," he said

According to Thomas, his goals for the season include improving from the start of the season to the end. He hopes to qualify for the playoffs and ultimately win the division. Overall he said, "to expect a team that plays great defense and is in tremendous shape."

The captains are Tim Quainoo, Jamale Horn and Jamestown resident Dom Anderson. North kicked off the season on Dec. 11 with a win against Portsmouth (50-43). The team will be heading to the Oyster Rive Holiday Classic in Durham, New Hampshire on Dec. 27 to 29.

Thomas received a bachelor's degree from URI and a master's in secondary education from Providence College. He works as a video technology teacher at the high school.

Boys' ice hockey

Keith Higgins has been coaching the boys' ice hockey team for all seven years of its existence and has been the head coach for the past five years. In the spring he can be found coaching the girls' lacrosse team. Higgins is feeling good heading into the hockey season and said he has "a great bunch of hard working players who are excited to compete in the league this season." He is especially excited about the newly implemented JV program.

According to Higgins the team is looking pretty good and is led by some strong seniors. A major contributor on defense will be junior and islander Tom Abbood. North's current record is 4-1 and their next game will be on Dec. 26 against Tolman.

Cheerleading

Courtney Kelley is entering her third season as the head coach of the varsity cheerleading team after spending five years as an assistant and also coaching the JV team. Kelley is optimistic and excited about this year's team and said, "We have the talent to be one of the top teams in the state once again this season. We only have three seniors and a young, yet experienced, group of athletes. The overall attitude of the team is positive and the girls seem to all share the same goals and determination for hard work."

North's competition schedule is full with local invitationals every weekend, the first being Jan. 17 at Warwick Vets.

Kelley attended Rhode Island College with a degree in Elementary and Special Education and she is currently enrolled in a master's program there. She is a Special Education teacher in the Pawtucket school system.

Girls' basketball

The girls' basketball team is led by head coach Mike Kelley. The lady Skippers currently have a record of 2-2 and will be hosting the Centerville Bank Christmas Classic on Dec 29 to 30. Sophomore Jess Brown is the sole Jamestown presence on the varsity team.

Gymnastics

The gymnastics team is led by head coach Kelli Murphy. At the state meet last season, the Skippers took second place behind La Salle who captured their sixth straight state title. Having only lost two seniors to graduation, last season's two top scorers as well as islander Caitlin Salt will be returning this season to lead the team. North will attend their first meet against Middletown, Portsmouth and La Salle at Middletown on Saturday, Jan. 3.

Wrestling

The wrestling team is led by head coach Howie Hague, who was also the co-head sailing coach last spring. Last season at the state meet the Skippers had their best team finish in history by taking second place to wrestling powerhouse Cranston West and they also won their division.

The wrestling team's season is off to a good start (2-0) with wins over Mount Hope and Barrington. Hague said, "We have had some injuries, so our lineup is moved around a bit but we should be back to normal after the holidays. We have a strong tournament team and should be in the running to make top five this year. If we work hard and can have a few things go our way in the state tournament, I think we will be contenders for the title but at this point in the season most schools would consider us an underdog." North will attend the Futures Tournament at Pilgrim High School on Saturday, Jan. 3.

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