NP golf team welcomes largest turnout in more than a decade

NP golf team welcomes largest turnout in more than a decade

Cougars face Johnston, Wheeler in next Monday's West Division opener at Triggs

NORTH PROVIDENCE – During the past decade, the North Providence High golf team had fielded some of the smallest rosters in the state, and no squad was smaller than the 2015 edition, which contained just four players – the bare minimum needed to compete as a team – yet went on to post 12 victories and place 13th at the RIIL Championships.

That being said, when was the last season that the Cougars sported double digits in players?

“That’s a great question,” veteran NP head coach James Isabella said. “It had to be at least 2007 or 2008 – somewhere around there – but it’s been a while.”

But this spring has been a different story for Isabella and the Cougars, who are back in action after last year’s RIIL spring season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cougars welcomed 11 players to their preseason workouts, and Nicholas Giorgi and Dante Hamel, who are back for their third seasons with the team, are the only seniors on the roster, which bodes well for the team’s future.

“It’s awesome – there’s no question about it,” Isabella said when asked about his larger-than-usual turnout. “The kids are excited about playing the game again and that’s great to see.”

Juniors Ryan Vukas, who had a strong freshman season with the Cougars in 2019, and Stephen Sequira are also back with the Cougars, and the rest of the roster contains some newcomers who could make immediate contributions for the team.

“I have two freshmen that I think have a lot of potential,” said Isabella, referring to David Evans, who is currently playing on the school’s football team, and Thomas Niosi, who boasts plenty of experience in the sport.

“I only got to see (Evans) play one day and he had a beautiful swing,” reported Isabella. “He’s an athlete, and he gets high marks from his football coaches as well.” As for Niosi, Isabella expects him to crack the starting lineup, as well as sophomore Matt Previte, “who hits the ball really well and definitely has some talent.”

Another player to watch is North Providence native Michael Houle, who is a junior at the Met School in Providence who received the green light to play for the Cougars. “He’s around the game a lot,” reported Isabella. “He’s doing some type of internship at Button Hole at well, and I expect him to be among our top six.”

Speaking of the top six, the Cougars, whose roster also includes juniors Julian Abed, Jason Davia, and Bryce DePalma, began this week by competing against each other for those coveted spots during a three-day qualifier at Triggs Memorial Golf Course, with the top six finishers playing in NP’s West Division season-opening tri-meet against Johnston and Wheeler next Monday at 1:30 p.m. at Triggs Memorial Golf Course in Providence.

“I’m looking forward to (the three-day qualifier),” Isabella said. “We’re going to have three solid days, and I think it’s going to be a competitive week. If anyone has a bad day, they can come back and have a better day.”

As for NP’s goals this spring, “it’s always to make it into the playoffs,” noted Isabella. “You always want to see at least one of your kids make it to the state tournament, but the overall goal is to make the playoffs, and then whatever happens happens. I remember one year we went to Ledgemont and upset Moses Brown and Johnston. We were supposed to come in last and we won the playoff, so anything can happen.”