Year in review: Around the world to the top of Mount Everest
Islanders made their sports fantasies come true in 2011 by sea, by land and atop the world’s highest mountain. From circumnavigating the world to sinking a hole-inone, Jamestown residents left their mark on all manner of sports this year.
The year started on a disappointing note as locals, who had hoped to see the America’s Cup return to Newport, reacted to the Oracle Race Team’s decision to defend the America’s Cup in waters off San Francisco, despite an eleventh hour effort to wrestle the Cup back to the City by the Sea.
Later in 2011, though, Newport was selected to host one of the 2012 America’s Cup World Series events. Meanwhile, islander Scott Ferguson, a naval architect, is again working with Oracle Racing on the boat design.
On May 1, Julia Taylor and David Goss completed their aroundthe world trip aboard their boat Macy, seven years after they had departed. The pair traveled “the milk route” through the Panama Canal on the 40-foot wooden boat and survived a couple of tense moments. They had to fight through a gale that whipped up the seas between Morocco and the Canary Islands, and also battled a thick fog on the return home.
Another island sailing feat was accomplished on June 16 when Stephen Devoe’s Swan 45 yacht, Devocean, finished in first place in the IRC class at the New York Yacht Club’s 157th annual regatta. And later in the month, 32 yachts with 190-foot tall masts tried to win the Transatlantic Race 2011, a nearly 3,000-mile race from Newport harbor to South Cornwall in the United Kingdom. Jamestown residents Patti Young and Paul Hamilton sailed the course aboard the Maltese Falcon.
Sailing wasn’t the only water sport that Jamestowners excelled at this year. Diann Uustal, 64, had a good day and a good year in 2011. Competing at a Maryland meet in a U.S. Masters swimming event, she broke three world backstroke records on the same day. Staying with swimming, 18 islanders participated in a record field of 475 swimmers in the 35th annual 1.7-mile crossing from Newport to Jamestown.
Also on the water, Carol Browning won a gold medal in the Head of the Charles Regatta’s Women Over 50 Senior Masters Four Event, while three islanders finished in the top 10 in a field of 36 teams at the U.S. Sailing Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship on Lake Ontario in September. Jamestown’s Cory Sertl won the event. Her daughter, Katja Sertl, finished in eighth place, and Carol Cronin was fourth.
One of the more rare feats took place on May 24, when Dr. Louis J. Mariorenzi reached the summit of Mount Everest. He spent 10 weeks scaling the world’s highest mountain, working through a series of smaller climbs and accustoming his body to hiking in extreme cold and at high altitudes until he reached 26,000 feet above sea level, the point where the body cannot acclimatize further. The fi- nal ascent began in a blizzard. The top of the world, he said, is serene, beautiful and barren, with the only sounds coming from the snow “crunching under your boots” and the wind whispering in your ears.
Islanders also made their marks on the golf course. URI’s Andrew Fiorenzano won the Yale Invitational on April 2 and followed up with a respectable showing at the Navy Spring International on April 16-17. Some 100 golfers competed in that event, and Fiorenzano, then a freshman, wound up tied for 29th place with Graham Lawyer of George Washington University. In recognition of their achievement, both shared the Atlantic 10 Conference’s Rookie of the Week honors.
Owen Heath, 16, a North Kingstown High junior, finished fourth overall in the state at the R.I. Interscholastic League golf championships. He led the team to a tie for second place.
And at the Jamestown Golf Course, Ning Gotauco defied all odds when she drained three holes-in-one at the fifth hole within a 12-month span.
At the high school ranks, Sarah Smith, one of three senior tennis team captains for the NKHS varsity tennis team, helped the Skippers make it into the Division I state championships for the first time in school history. The junior varsity team also made the playoffs and capped their undefeated season by winning the state title. Jamestown’s Amina Brown, 15, led the team with outstanding doubles play.
Amina also shined on the ice. Until this fall when The Storm – a new co-op girls’ ice hockey team for players from Narragansett, South Kingstown and North Kingstown – started play, Jamestown public high school girls who wanted to play high school ice hockey had to compete with boys for a spot on the co-ed team. Amina is the only islander playing with The Storm, and although she’s relatively new to the sport, she is already a starter.
As for the boys’ team, the Skippers won the state championship two years ago, but last year, the team turned in a losing record and some starters have fled for junior league teams. Robert Finelli, the new head coach, says this is a rebuilding year but one that will offer opportunities for underclassmen to play. Jamestown’s Charlie Tregenza found himself with an opportunity in the season opener. He scored the game-winning goal in the 3-2 test against Burrillville- Ponaganset.
The North Kingstown High School junior varsity volleyball team won the state championship behind Jamestown’s Garrett Bucklin, the tournament MVP. Katie Marquis, in her final year as centerfi elder with the Skippers’ softball team, won the Bruce Brown Unsung Hero Award. Earlier, North Kingstown High also recognized her efforts by honoring her with the Principal’s Sportsmanship Award.
Away from NKHS, Fergus O’Farrell, 17, helped the Portsmouth Abbey varsity soccer team to the Eastern Independent League championship for the first time in school history. The Ravens also broke a school record that had stood since 1947 by winning the most matches in a single season. Also, Kayleigh Rooney of Providence Country Day played in the New England Prep School Women’s Lacrosse All-Star game at Harvard Stadium.
At the collegiate level, Emily Abbood, midfielder for the University of California women’s lacrosse team, tore her ACL but hoped to rebound for her final year with the Golden Bears. Emily is redshirted in 2011 and is recovering from surgery. Her team went through an emotional roller coaster ride dealing with a teammate’s serious illness, temporary elimination of the school’s lacrosse program and finally, personal injury.
Megan Green, in her freshman year at Manhattanville, was locked in a duel for scoring leader. She lost that title but came away with rookie of the year honors. Jeff Cammans, a University of Rhode Island redshirt junior, was named to the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association’s All New- England Second Team, Andrew Waddington was tapped by the New England Revolution to play with its U-18 development team. The Loyola University student completed the season before heading to college.
Also, Eric Cirella, assistant baseball coach at URI, was inducted into the Salve Regina Athletic Hall of Fame in October.
At the National Duckpin Youth Championship in July, Ashley Shaw, a seventh-grader at Lawn Avenue School, bowled a personal best of 116 to help her team take first place at the 38th annual tournament in Maryland. Her father, Tom, is the team’s coach.
Jamestown’s youth soccer also made headlines. Jake Froberg was the individual winner in the U-10 boys’ division at the Super Liga Soccer Skills Challenge, and the U-12 soccer team was named Super Liga’s Sportsmanship Team of the Year. It was chosen from 520 teams playing spring soccer.
And for the first time this year, both bridges that lead to Jamestown opened themselves up to runners. On April 23, the first ever road race across the Jamestown Verrazanno Bridge took place, and on Nov. 13, the other bridge was crossed by runners for the inaugural Citizens Bank Newport Pell Bridge Run.