Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 06-25-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Page 15 of 63

Cumberland Lincoln Edition Sports & Recreation @ JUNE 25-JULY 1, 2020 Above, JOHN MENNA, left, shown giving advice to NICOLE LEZON during a break in the girls' high jump event at last year's RIIL Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Brown University, is retiring after spending the last 31 years as the head coach of the Lincoln High boys' cross coun- try/track and field program. Below, members of the LINCOLN HIGH BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY TEAM pose for a picture on "Menna's Mountain" on the Lions' home course at Chase Farm. Lions' Menna crosses finish line Popular head coach calls it a career after spending past 31 years leading LHS boys' cross country/track program By ERIC BENEVIDES Valley Breeze Sports Editor LINCOLN – After spending more than three decades as the head coach of the boys' cross country and indoor track and field programs at Lincoln High, John Menna is quietly calling it a career, and the reason he gave for his retirement was quite simple. "It's been a lot of years," he said last Friday. "I've been coaching at Lincoln for 35 years." Menna had planned to retire after this past outdoor track and field season, but when the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the entire spring sports scene, it also erased the final three months of Menna's outstanding career. And while the break "was nice, I certainly missed coaching that last season with the kids," he added. "As they say, it is what it is." The veteran coach eventually broke the news of his departure a couple of weeks ago, but initially told the senior captains of his cross country team, Chris Lezon and Nick Gaitanis, during an impromptu meeting at Lincoln Middle School before spreading the word to everyone else. "I kind of suspected it during cross country season," Lezon said. "He just got married, and I was like, 'He's probably going to retire soon.' I just didn't know it was going to be this year." Because Menna didn't get a chance during the spring to congratu- late his captains on their graduations and their excellent high school careers, he did so during their meeting, "and then he said, 'I'm retiring,'" Lezon said, "and he hadn't told our athletic director yet." What was it like having Menna as a coach? "It was great," said Lezon, who was also a member of the indoor track and field team and a standout on the LHS boys' volleyball team. "He's a great coach, and he's really motivational. He'll let you know if he thinks you're slacking, but he'll also let you know if you had a good workout or a good race." While Menna had been on the school's coaching staff for the past 35 years, most folks around town forget that his first four years were spent as an assistant coach on the football team under legendary head coach Howard Catley. Menna, who was raised in Cranston, was an All-State football player at Cranston West who graduated from the high school in 1971, and he continued his gridiron career at Central Connecticut Continues on next page Matanmi, Rubio are Davies' top athletes LINCOLN – Temilola Matanmi and Alaynah Rubio, who were senior three-sport standouts at Davies Tech, were recently selected as their school's Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Rubio, who will continue her softball career at Division II West Virginia Wesleyan College next spring, was a multiple All-Division standout who helped the Patriots reach the Division III championship series in 2018. She also shined on the girls' basket- ball and soccer teams. Matanmi, meanwhile, played on the Patriots' football, basketball, and base- ball teams. He was a wide receiver and one of the senior leaders on the football team that made its RIIL debut last fall. Consumers Propane 762-5461 BOUSQUET OIL 769-0146 139 HAMLET AVE. WOONSOCKET, RI 02895-0628 Service – SALeS – iNSTALLATiON Of gAS & OiL heATiNg equipmeNT • Boilers • Furnaces • Hot Water Heaters WE FILL GAS GRILL TANKS Proudly serving Northern Rhode Island 300 Front St., Lincoln 724-8660 WWW.LAMONTAGNEREALESTATE.COM Beautiful one-level luxury condo in prestigious stone creek ..An over 55 registered adult community! 2-3 Bedrooms2, car garage, 2 full baths, upgraded hardwood floors and stylish ceramic bathrooms. A gourmet kitchen with a bosch dishwasher and a double oven with warmer, stainess appliances, custom kitchen cabinetry. Also energy efficient lighting. Casablaca fans, wainscoting in the dining area, a private garden in the backyard. $369,900 JUST LISTED! 41 Breakneck Hill rd Unit 3, lincoln:

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