By Ron P. Coderre
This week’s RPC shoutout is sent along to Massachusetts resident Larry Doucette.  A graduate of Putnam High School, Doucette recently returned to his hometown for his 50th class reunion.  Does it feel like 50 years Larry?
John and Drew Aitken, twin brothers who attend Killingly High School’s Vocational Agricultural program, have been playing golf since a very young age.  Their love of golf has been nurtured by the twin’s stepfather, Jim West, the golf professional at Connecticut National Golf Club in Putnam.  Anyone who’s played at Connecticut National has witnessed the transition that’s taken place as the twins have grown from little boys to mature and courteous young men.
As they’ve grown in maturity their golf game has also grown and flourished.  The growth in their game can’t only be attributed to natural talent.  Both John and Drew are golfers who put in the time on improving their game.  During the summer, the twins who are also equally talented in the classroom, can be found at the golf course very early in the morning and are usually around well after the sun sets.  When it’s dark they often practice under the lights and during inclement or winter weather they continue working on their indoor stuff to improve and hone their skills.
The hard work and determination along with the support of West and their mother Jenn, is now paying rich dividends as the twins are seniors at Killingly.  On Thursday, November 12 the brothers fulfilled a lifelong dream when they signed National Letters of Intent to attend Central Connecticut University in New Britain on a golf scholarship.
Although those who have followed their careers thought they might end up playing college golf in warm sunny climes were perplexed by the decision, there were good reasons for the selection.  Central Connecticut is close to home, which appealed to the boys and the family.  The Blue Devils are an NCAA Division I program that’s made a commitment to bringing more notoriety to golf.  And Central is coached by Kyle Gallo.  Most importantly for the twins they’ll be together, something that they’ve cherished since they were born.
Although Drew Aitken was being pursued by other bigger name Division I schools, he wasn’t going anywhere unless his brother went with him.  Coach Gallo was another incentive.  He and Jim West played and traveled together for eight years when they played on some of the minor professional tours.  In fact, Gallo played on the Nationwide Tour, one step below the PGA Tour, in 2005 and 2006.
Now that the college selection’s been finalized the twins want to concentrate on their senior year with the Killingly Redmen of coach Kevin Marcoux.  Competing in the Eastern Connecticut Conference, Killingly led by the Aitken brothers, has captured the crown for the past three seasons.  They’re looking forward to picking up conference title number four in the spring of 2016 but their biggest goal is to bring a State Championship to Killingly.
Although a long winter looms before the high school golf season begins, it’s a safe bet that John and Drew Aitken and the other members of the Killingly team will be having regular indoor sessions throughout the cold and dark days as they prepare for the spring and the quest for the State title.
College Commitments Abound
Announcements from Woodstock Academy and Pomfret School indicated that athletes from both institutions have made commitments to continue their athletic careers on the college level.
Rylee Hehir, a senior softball standout at Woodstock, made her selection recently when she signed a National Letter of Intent to attend NCAA Division II Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Penn.  Hehir, who began her high school softball career at Marianapolis, has been a pitching and hitting standout for the Centaurs since arriving on the campus.  In joining the Griffins of Seton Hill she’ll compete in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.  She’s the daughter of Chris and Dawn Hehir.
Basketball standout Gerald Blount, a 6-foot, 7-inch power forward at Pomfret School signed his National Letter of Intent to attend St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.  Blount, who is from Bayonne, N.J., has been the Golden Griffins leading scorer since arriving on the Pomfret campus.  The St. Joseph’s Hawks are coached by the popular Phil Martelli and play in the rugged Atlantic-10 Conference.  The Hawks are an NCAA Division I program.  According to Pomfret basketball coach Joe Kremer, Blount’s signing is an indication of the quality student/athlete that Pomfret School produces.
CSC Names Net Stars
The Constitution State Conference East Division announced its volleyball all stars for the recently concluded fall season.  Putnam High School placed two players on the First Team.  Selected were Gabrielle Simpson and Lindsay Roberts.  Named to the second team were Monet Smith and Kirsten Light of Ellis Tech.
 Former Redgal Scores Big Time
Devin Hill, whose basketball career seems to have been resurrected at Rhode Island College under coach Glenn Senecal, led the Anchorwomen to an early season tournament championship.  Hill, who had an up and down career at Killingly High School because of a series of knee injuries, is still not quite 100 percent but is improving quickly.
In the 18th Annual USJ Tip-Off Classic at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, Hill rose to the occasion in leading her mates to the title.  In the championship contest, she poured in 33 points in leading RIC to a 71-45 victory over Western New England University.  Hill was named the tournament Most Valuable Player for her outstanding performance on the hardwood.  Rhode Island College plays in the Little East Conference.
1000-Yard Ground Gainers
When Killingly High School squares off against the Quinebaug Valley Pride on Thanksgiving Day morning two 1,000-yard runners will be on the field.  The Redmen will feature Austin Caffrey, who is almost unstoppable.  He’s gained 1,538 yards in the first nine games for the 8-1 Killingly Redmen.  Caffrey has 20 touchdowns rushing this season.
The Pride will feature its own 1000-yard ground gainer in the person of Jeremee “Buddha” Perez.   He’s rolled up 1,001 yards for the 6-3 Pride.  Perez has 11 rushing touchdowns to his credit.  Both players also play the linebacker position on defense for their respective squads.
Both the Pride and Redmen also feature premier receivers.  Saige Louis of the Pride leads the area with seven touchdown receptions and 379 receiving yards, while Killingly’s Vasileios Politis has six TD receptions.
Becher Watch
Throughout the fall RPC has followed the soccer fortunes of Emily Becher of Eastern Connecticut State University.  Becher has been a scoring machine for the Lady Warriors.  The former Woodstock Academy standout was rewarded for her outstanding play, being named to the All- Little East Conference first team.  This is the second year in a row that the sophomore Becher has achieved this honor.  She’s the second player in ECSU women’s soccer history to gain this distinction.  She ended the season as the league’s top scorer with 15 goals.
RPC’s Closing Thought For The Day: When times are tough, turn the stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
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