With their 1-2 finish at the New England Championship last week, Barrington High and La Salle Academy proved they are the top teams in region.
Saturday night at the New Balance Nationals, the two Rhode Island rivals proved they are among the best in the country.
Competing in the girls’ 4x800-meter relay, the Eagles and Rams nearly stole the show at North Carolina A&T's Irwin Belk Track, finishing second and third overall in the championship race. Team FitFast of New Jersey captured the title with a time of 9 minutes, 1.12 seconds. Following closely behind was Rhody’s finest with Barrington taking the runner-up spot at 9:04.86 and La Salle placing third in 9:05.65.
“It was a great race,” La Salle assistant coach Kelly Martin said. “The girls left everything out there. They competed with the best and ran a great race, very tactical.”
Barrington and La Salle were positioned in sixth and seventh place after the third leg. Just like the NE meet, the two teams had strong legs from their anchors to propel them to a top finish with a slight chance at victory. Ram sophomore Sheridan Wilbur clocked a time of 2:11.6 for her leg, while Eagles’ junior Abby Livingston uncorked the fastest leg among all competitors with a 2:09.28 effort.
Wilbur and Livingston nearly reenacted what they did a week earlier with the Eagle star making up ground the last lap and passing the Ram standout the final few meters of the race.
“They were both flying,” Martin said. “They were both going for first place, which is amazing to watch with both teams coming from Rhode Island.”
According to the La Salle coach, finishing in the top three was an added bonus.
“We didn’t really know what we were seeded,” Martin said. “We knew we were about sixth or seventh going in. Our goal was to be All American and finish in the top six and better our time from the New England’s.”
Comprising the Eagles’ team with their splits were freshman Emma McMillan (2:21.64), junior Julianna Portelli (2:19.77), junior Megan Verner-Crist (2:14.14) and Livingston. La Salle’s quartet consisted of freshman Eliza Rego (2:15.40), junior Alicia Decastro (2:19.71), junior Caroline Falvey (2:18.92) and Wilbur.
In last year’s meet, La Salle finished sixth overall.The good news is both teams will have similar faces passing the baton next season.
“Only one girl from that team returned,” said Martin, about her Rams' squad. “The other three are completely different legs. They are all coming back and so is Barrington. We will be going at it again next year.”
Barrington senior Charlie Ionata also earned All-American status on Saturday by placing second in the hammer throw with a toss of 219 feet, 6 inches. The state and New England champion was the No. 2 seed in the field. Winning the overall title was top-seed Rudy Winkler of Averill Park (N.Y.).Winkler copped the crown with a distance of 251-8. Central’s Clarence Gallop was sixth overall at 210-6, Barrington sophomore Adam Kelley placed ninth with a best of 200-3 and Woonsocket senior Connor Fugere was 14th overall at 191-6.
Classical sophomore Alva Hicks finished 15th in the discus with a heave of 128-11 and Narragansett senior Ethan Wright placed 11th in the javelin with a distance of 183-4.
A day removed from a PR performance in the 5K, Westerly junior Jackie Burr was back on the track for the two-mile run. Burr was 11th in the field with a time of 11:08.64.
In the Emerging Elite hammer throw, Hope junior Bryan Zapata claimed victory with a toss of 181-5. Hendricken junior Edward Barber was 12th (133-10) and Hawk senior Sam Milder was 15th at 126-0.
Schedule of Events
8:00 AM 110m Hurdles Decathlon
9:00 AM Discus Decathlon