Locals nab RIIL honors

Posted 6/13/24

The Rhode Island Interscholastic League honored a total of 24 individuals, including 17 student-athletes, for their exemplary achievements and contributions over the past year at its 12th annual RIIL …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Locals nab RIIL honors


The Rhode Island Interscholastic League honored a total of 24 individuals, including 17 student-athletes, for their exemplary achievements and contributions over the past year at its 12th annual RIIL Awards Breakfast at the Quonset “O” Club in North Kingstown.

Student-athletes were selected for the RIIL Distinguished Achievement awards for a host of reasons whether it be for their accomplishments in the classroom, on the athletic field or in their communities – and in most cases, a combination of the three.

The RIIL Leadership & Service Awards, which were presented by Bank Rhode Island, were selected because they have demonstrated exceptional leadership on the field, in the classroom and in their communities. They have served as strong role models and have also made a positive difference in their communities. 

All of the students who were honored also were their respective schools’ nominees for RIIL Student-Athlete of the Year.

As for the RIIL Distinguished Service Awards, each of the bios details the individuals’ exemplary service  to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League and/or the high schools that they serve.

RIIL  Leadership & Service Award, presented by BankRI -

Adeline Areson, Toll Gate High School

Adeline Areson was a four-year member of Toll Gate’s soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams, serving as captain and earning All-Division honors in all three. But she faced her share of adversity when an ACL injury sidelined her for all three seasons in her junior year. Despite undergoing reconstructive surgery, Adeline remained committed to all three teams, never missing a practice or a game. Her perseverance paid off as she returned to play in her senior year, guiding the Toll Gate basketball team to the Division III Championship, the Titans’ first title since 1983. Vice president of her senior class, Adeline was also a civics representative for the state of Rhode Island, a school ambassador for incoming ninth-graders and a tutor for students in Math and AP classes. A high honor student ranked fourth in her class with a 4.53 GPA, she plans to study Nursing at either the University of Rhode Island or the University of Connecticut. She also has the opportunity to participate in Army ROTC and plans to play club basketball and club lacrosse.

RIIL  Distinguished Achievement Award - Griffin Crain, Bishop

Hendricken High School

A two-time captain on both the hockey and baseball teams, Griffin has amassed eight varsity letters and earned a multitude of post-season honors, including 2023 Rhode Island Hockey Player of the Year and 2023 Baseball Division I MVP, to go along with All-State and All-Division honors. During that time, he helped lead the Hawks to four RIIL Hockey State Championships and an appearance in the RIIL Baseball State Finals. A member of the National Honor Society and National English Honor Society, Griffin is ranked 12th in his class with a 5.38 weighted GPA. He is a Peer Writing Coach and a member of the Ambassador’s Club, the Active Minds Club and the Ping Pong Club. His volunteer work has included assisting at the Special Olympics Rhode Island’s Southern Area Games. Griffin has signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his baseball career at the University of Louisville.

RIIL  Distinguished Achievement Award - Alexia DiLorenzo, Johnston High School

A member of both the girls soccer and softball teams at Johnston, Alexia earned All-State and All-Division honors in soccer, helping to lead the Panthers to the Division IV semifinals in 2022 and the Division IV finals last fall. She is also a four-year starter in the outfield for the softball team, helping Johnston qualify for the playoffs each year. Alexia has also been extremely active in student government throughout her high school career, serving as Vice President and now President of the Student Council, as well as vice president of the National Honor Society. In these positions, she helped organize multiple successful blood drives, Adopt-A-Family collection drives and Dress Down Days to raise money for such organizations as the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, Tomorrow Fund and American Heart Association. Ranked 10th in her class with a 3.93 GPA, Alexia aspires to be a teacher and will attend Rhode Island College in the fall, where she plans to study Elementary Education and Special Education.

RIIL  Distinguished Achievement Award - Peter Vachon, Cranston West High School

A recipient of the R.I. Civic Leadership Award, Peter has been president of his class throughout high school and a member of the Student Council for three years. He is also vice president of the National Honor Society, a three-year member of the Stock Market Club and founder of the school’s Ping Pong Club. He has twice received the R.I. Art Education Anchor Award and was a Skills USA State Medalist. In addition, Peter is a four-year member of the varsity soccer and golf teams and this winter swam on the Falcons’ Division III Championship team. He has been a Certified Premier Soccer Referee since 2017 and a Certified Referee Mentor since 2020. Ranked 4th in a graduating class of 419 with a 4.94 GPA, Peter will attend Brown University in the fall.

RIIL  Distinguished Achievement Award - Samantha Vernancio, Cranston High School East

A multi-sport athlete at Cranston East, Samantha has served as a captain of the Thunderbolts’ volleyball, lacrosse and basketball teams and also swam for a year. A member of the school’s JROTC program, she has received a number of commendations, including a Perfect Attendance JROTC Award, Cadet of the Month, Superior Junior Cadet Decoration and JROTC American Legion Medal for Scholastic Excellence. Ranked 44th in her class with a 3.91 GPA, Samantha is secretary of the National Honor Society, vice president of the National Art Honors Societies and has also served on Class Council. She has participated in a Save the Bay clean-up at Goddard Park with JROTC, Warm Up America through the Crochet Club and a school supply collection drive for elementary school students. Samantha will attend the University of Rhode Island and plans to get her undergraduate degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders on the track to get her masters in Speech Pathology and become a Speech Language Pathologist.

RIIL  Distinguished Service Award - Elaine Lyden, Gymnastics Official (resident of Johnston)

Elaine Lyden’s involvement with gymnastics in Rhode Island dates back more than 50 years, beginning when Midge Palmer first persuaded the Providence physical education teacher to begin coaching and officiating. Elaine accepted the challenge and in the 1970s, she coordinated and directed elementary and junior high gymnastics and in the mid-1980s served as the gymnastics director on the RIIL subcommittee for girls. After passing the judges test and receiving her rating in 1977, Elaine began judging high school gymnastics meets. In the decades since, she has continued to assist with every aspect from judges training, to assigning, to compiling league statistics. Through it all, she has been content to work in the background without any fanfare. As the late Ann Morris said of Elaine when she was presented with the A. Lenore Cranston Award in 2001, “She is the tireless assistant that never wants to receive credit, but we can’t do without her.”

RIIL  Distinguished Service Award - Emma Ofner, La Salle Academy Athletic Trainer (resident of Cranston)

The health and safety of student-athletes is of paramount importance. Athletic trainers and a well-thought-out Emergency Action Plan are both crucial to creating a safe environment in which they can compete. An incident that occurred at La Salle Academy last spring demonstrated just how important they are. Athletic trainer Emma Ofner’s skills and training were truly put to the test when a track-and-field athlete collapsed during practice. According to the account, Ofner sprang into action, using an AED to administer life-saving CPR until first-responders arrived. Thanks in large part to Ofner and this planned and immediate response, the outcome that day fortunately was a positive one. The student recovered and returned to school and athletics.

RIIL, interscholastic, sports


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here