Ponaganset's Gianna Rao has potential to place high at this weekend's NBNO.
Championship Hammer Events
Rhode Island will have the largest contingent of hammer throwers competing at the nationals. A total of 16 boys and 12 girls will be competing in the Championship events and several more are entered in the Emerging Elite events. In the boys' competition, five athletes rank among the top 15 nationally - Classical teammates Jacob Furland (US #4, 219-4) and recent state champion Zeke Cohen (US #8, 208-0), the Woonsocket duo of Jared Briere (US #8, 208-0) and Dilyn Cote (US #11, 205-7) and Lincoln's Garrett Doyle (197-5). Twin brothers Michael (238-1) and Steven (222-9) Feldman of Tottenville (NY) are appeared to be favored for a 1-2 finish. But the next four placements appear wide open with a number of our Ocean Staters capable of filling those All American slots.
The RI girls that will be making the trek down south appears equally impressive with three among the top 15 nationwide - Ponaganset's Gianna Rao (US #4, 185-8.75) and Lincoln's Samantha Andrews (US #14). According to the most recent list of entries, indoor weight-throwing champion Jillian Shippee of Sheneddehowa (NY) is the No. 1 seed. She ranks second in the country with her best of 196-2 from the New York Relays back in April. Rao, who finished second to Shippee at the indoor nationals, is currently the No. 2 seed. There's potential it could e a repeat performance from this past March with the two talented throwers battling for the top two spots.