PLANTSVILLE - Leonard Bagni still remembers the first time he played a round at Pequabuck Golf Club.
It was 69 years ago on Good Friday, and the 1944 Bristol Tech graduate was having a bit of trouble getting his bearings.
“I was lost. Didn’t know where I was going,” Bagni said. “I remember asking somebody, ‘Where’s the second tee?”
Nearly seven full decades later, it’s safe to say the Bristol native, the oldest and longest-tenured member at Pequabuck, now knows his way around the course.
On Friday night, however, he found himself lost in the moment.
Bagni was one of seven individuals, one team, one organization and three current high schoolers honored at the 49th annual Bristol Tramps awards ceremony, which recognized achievements in sports at the Aqua Turf Club.
“It’s unbelievable,” Bagni said of being inducted. “Especially at my age, I never expected something like this. ... It’s a little exciting.”
Bagni joined Jillian Sullivan, Joe DeFillippi, Michael Beaudoin, Mark Monnerat, Harrison McKinstry IV, Phil Mannarino, the 2010 Bristol Central boys cross country team and Bristol Central Unified Sports as this year’s Bristol Tramps honorees.
Also, Bristol Central’s Pacifico Flores, Bristol Eastern’s Alaina Rivoira and St. Paul’s Adam VanLinter were honored at the event with memorial scholarships.
Bagni received the Chuck McCarthy Award. Bagni is a 92-year-old golfer who still gets out on the course to play as a 69-year member of the Pequabuck Golf Club, where he held the 18-hole course record for many years.
“[I found out I was nominated] three months ago, and it kept getting built up with the intensity,” Bagni said. “I couldn’t believe it. Even now, I find it hard to believe someone my age would get this honor. I was never one to be in the limelight.”
Sullivan, a four-year cross country, indoor and outdoor track star at Bristol Central, won the Lydia Bailey Jabs Award. Sullivan was a six-time captain across those three sports, and she was a three-time All-State runner in cross country and one-time All-Stater in outdoor track.
DeFillippi, longtime Bristol Central coach and Bristol Sports Hall of Fame member, was given the Bill Garrett Award. He played football, basketball and baseball for the Rams. He was also the Ralph Papazian Leadership Award recipient.
Beaudoin earned the Harp Broderick Award. Beaudoin played baseball and basketball at Bristol Eastern prior to playing baseball at Fairfield University and being drafted and signed by the Texas Rangers. The Greater Hartford Twilight League MVP also coached at Bristol Eastern and is a Bristol Sports Hall of Fame member.
Monnerat was a 42-year coach at St. Matthew’s and St. Joseph’s schools. His St. Matthew’s basketball team won a state title in 1981 and was runner-up in New England the same year. Monnerat was given the Ed Lodovico Award.
“It’s been 45 years I’ve been in Bristol. I taught for 17 years at St. Matthew’s and was principal at St. Joe’s for 28 years,” Monnerat said. “Bristol’s been good to me, and I’m honored to be a recipient of this award. It’s been great.”
McKinstry IV won the Ron Choiniere Award. He was a wrestling team captain and football player for Bristol Central.
A 1984 Rams graduate, McKinstry was later injured in a construction accident that left him in a coma for three months and left him wheelchair-bound. After years of hard work, he has been able to compete in long-distance races using a specialized custom racing chair. He has competed in the Boston and New York Marathons.
Mannarino was the Coach Dan Valerio Committee Award recipient. Mannarino was a standout four-year, three-sport athlete at St. Anthony’s before playing four seasons for the CCSU baseball team. He was a captain during his senior year for the Blue Devils. He eventually became a successful high school coach.
Bristol Central’s 2010 boys cross country team won the program’s first-ever state championship and on Friday was honored with the Julie Larese Team Award. Coached by Tamara Stafford-Kirk, the Rams were led by captains Mike Duprey and Connor Kelley, in addition to runners Jacob Eschner, Brendan Gonsalves, Spencer Johnson, Jake Mancini and Ethan Washburn.
Bristol Central Unified Sports was also recognized, winning the Tony Savino “Pay It Forward” Award, named in honor of the late Tramps executive director whose “pay it forward” philosophy is a concept he encouraged local organizations to promote.
Flores won the Julie Larese/Frank Scalia Memorial Scholarship; Rivoira was awarded the Julie Larese/Patricia D’Amato Memorial Scholarship; and VanLinter earned the Julia Larese/John E. Tavera Memorial Scholarship.
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