There is one thing that is certain in the girls' sprint events come State Meet time. With the graduation of Classical's May Stern, there will be a new champion in all three events (100m, 200m and 400m). In 2016, the multiple all-stater and current Brown University freshman captured all three of those events.
Judging by last year's returnees and what we've seen this past winter on the indoor surface, these events will be hotly contested with a number of athletes capable of stealing the show in early June.
Two of the top three finishers in the 100m dash will be back this season with East Greenwich Isabella Gentil and Westerly's Emma Santee closing out their high school seasons this spring. There's also Quinn Harlan of Woonsocket, who was one of the top seeds at last year's states, but never made it to the finals after spraining her foot at the long jump pits. East Greenwich's Laura Murphy (seventh in 2016) is also capable of getting it done this season. Looking at this group, there simply is no clear-cut favorite. That might be determined as the season progresses, but right now it's anyone's guess. Gentil has been a bridesmaid the last two track seasons (outdoor and indoor) in the shortest event on the track. Will she finish off her career with her first state crown? You also have to figure that Harlan could be there at the end. She didn't compete at the indoor states because of a school trip to Europe and had her unfortunate occurrence at the outdoor meet last year that had her hobbling to last place in her semifinal heat. She could also get it done. All the top competitors in this event appear capable of running a time in the low to mid 12-second range.
The 200m race should be equally stacked with the same top 2016 returnees from the 100m. Gentil took runner-up honors at last year's State Meet with a PB of 25.61, just .30 ahead of Murphy, who finished third. Based on what transpired at the indoor states this past February, the two East Greenwich teammates would appear to be our leading candidates in the half-lapper. The two runners went 2-3 in the 300m with Moses Brown freshman Marybeth Fitzsimmons edging Murphy for the title. The talented duo are capable of running a time in the low 25-second range with potential for even faster. There's a handful more that could earn a podium placement with potential to crack the top three such as Harlan, Central's Alyejah Roderick and Rachel Mens as well as Westerly's Helena Hall-Thomsen and Santee.
To crack the top six in the 400m at the State Meet a sub 60-second clocking may not seem too far-fetched. Three of our returnees have already dipped under a minute - Murphy (58.74), Gentil (59.50) and Bay View's Aliya Barrows (59.90) - and at least a half dozen more have broken 61 seconds. In this event, it all depends on who runs what at the State Meet.