Dilisio, McLaughlin Honored at MGA’s Salute to Champions Dinner

It was deja vu all over again when Salem CC’s Steven Dilisio and Far Corner’s Nick McLaughlin  were honored as repeat Junior champions at the Massachusetts Golf Association “Salute to Champions” dinner January 5 at Wellesley Country Club.

McLaughlin, the St. John’s Prep senior who also plays out of Wentworth-by-the-Sea, was recognized for winning the overall Junior title for the second time in three years. He heads off to the University of Virginia in the fall.

Dilisio, from Swampscott, was recognized in for becoming last summer only the second player (the other being newly-turned pro Peter Uihlein) to win three consecutive Boys division titles. Steven, who turns 14 this month, will move up to the Pre-Junior division for the 2012 Junior being played at Oakley August 6-8.

Both young men spoke graciously and briefly to the audiecne of 200 after recieving their commemorative plaques from emcee Mike Dowling of Channel 5 Sports. They have both made their North Shore golf family proud. We wish Nick all the best as he moves on to the next chapter of his tournament life. As for Steven, he knows there will be a bullseye on his chest as the player to beat in the Pre-Junior division (ages 14 and 15) after graduating from the Boys’ group.

Dilisio was sporting a cast on his right wrist, the result of a basketball injury. But it will be completely healed before he starts revving up his game in the spring.

Among North Shore-connected attendees were Carriage Pine’s Ken Whalley, Salem’s George Demerritt, Haverhill’s Joe D’Orazio, Dedham’s (ex of Essex) Denny Goodrich, (Essex’)Bill Van Faasen, Beverly native Jane Frost (McLaughlin’s teacher), Kernwood’s Jack Taymore and, of course, North Andover’s Becky Blaeser, the MGA’s communications  director. Hubby Frank Vana, two-time MGA champion and 2011 Amateur runnerup, was home with the kids nursing his shoulder, which recently under went successful surgery.

Norton’s Ryan Riley, winner of the 2011 Amateur and Fourball (with Herbie Aikens) received the Richard Haskell Player of the Year Award, named for the late former MGA executive director who grew up in Ipswich and played at Essex before moving on to The Country Club.  Chelso Barrett of the Winchendon School Golf Club received the Christopher Cutler Rich Junior Player of the Year Award after placing runnerup at the USGA Junior championship. The award is given in memory of the Hamilton boy who died at the age of 10 and was a junior golf champion at Myopia.

A moment of silence was offered to mark the recent passing of three Massachusetts golf notables: Paul Harney, Bill Flynn and Oliver “Biff” Kelley.

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