Skippers' 4x800m squad highlights Hawk Invite

In a dual meet at the beginning of the month, North Kingstown had three of its runners break two minutes with a fourth team member less than a second from doing the same. The potential was certainly there for the quartet to do something special when they were all together as one.

Saturday was that day.

The 4x800-meter relay of Joe Craven, Ian Connors, Dallin Smith and Zachery Emrich smashed the meet record by nearly 19 seconds and came a mere second from a state mark at the 50th annual Bishop Hendricken Invitational with a scintillating time of 7:47.70.

“We knew that the state record was 7:46 (7:46.26 by Chariho in 2012). Our big thing was to get a national qualifier for the championship race, which is 7:53,” said Emrich, making reference to the New Balance Nationals June 14-16. “We all ran pretty well.”

Craven and Connors, the two juniors on the squad, each ran 1:59 for their legs. Smith, a senior, ran a best by three seconds with a 1:55 leg and Emrich, another senior, scorched his anchor at 1:53, running his opening 400m in 51 seconds! He was named the meet’s outstanding runner based on his two-lapper.

The usual suspects occupied the top three positions in the team standings with the host Hawks taking the crown with 110.5 points. La Salle Academy was second with 61, just ahead of third-place North Kingstown with 60 points.

While the 4x800m was no contest – Cumberland took second in 8:24.50 – there were several events that came down to the last few meters to determine the winner in the final qualifier for next Saturday’s state championship.

Narragansett senior Vinny Santos, last week’s Class C titlist, won the 110m hurdles in a tight race with Mount St. Charles senior Chris Miele with both runners timed in 14.9. Moses Brown senior Amos Cariati claimed the 400m title with a fast 49.5 clocking, just .40 ahead of Mount Pleasant junior Trevane Clarke.

In a tactical race, La Salle sophomore Matt Bouthillette out-kicked the competition in the 1,500m en route to a winning time of 4:07.60. Hendricken senior Colin Tierney earned the runner-up spot at 4:09.20 and La Salle junior James Placco was third in 4:10. The lead pack opened up with a conservative 2:17 at the 800m mark.

The 800m featured five runners under two minutes with La Salle sophomore Jack Salisbury demonstrating his finishing speed the last straightway to snare the crown at 1:56.6. Junior teammate Dan Paiva was second with a time of 1:57.90 and placing third was another underclassmen, Moses Brown freshman Cris Argys, with an impressive 1:58.90 clocking, a time that ranks No. 1 among all ninth-graders in New England.

Smithfield junior Carlton Eaton won a heated battle in the pole vault by clearing a height of 13-0. He took the event on fewer misses with North Kingstown junior Robert Cassidy and Portsmouth senior Seth Oliveira taking the next two positions, also at 13 feet.

“We are all very competitive by nature,” Eaton said. “We all root for each other, but we are also trying to achieve our best for ourselves, of course.”

The Sentinel vaulter was just three inches from his personal best, set at last year’s New England meet. He feels confident going into next weekend’s states.

“My last jumps that I missed were the ones I learned the most,” he said. “I learned I need a stiffer pole and I have to put the standards further back. If I would have done that I probably would have gotten a height like 13-6.”

Hendricken’s Lee Moses won the 100m dash at 11.0. In the 200, it was Central’s Moses Fafano with a time of 22.60. Moses Brown junior Nick Snow, competing with an injured right foot, was second in 23.0.

North Kingstown had a 1-2-3 finish in the 300m hurdles with defending state titlist Ben Stewart taking first in 39.30. Junior Graham Pellegrino was second (40.10) and junior Ethan Bone placed third (41.90).

Stewart has been consistently under 40 seconds in his specialty this spring. He credits increased time in the weight room and a season away from the trails this past fall as keys to his success the last few months.

“I did cross country at the beginning of the year last year and I pushed myself,” he said. “I ran a good time, 17:06 for 5K, but I really got rid of my fast-twitch muscles.”

Barrington junior Adam Kelly was named the meet’s outstanding field event athlete based on his first-place heave of 222-04 in the hammer. Eagle teammate Bobby Colantonio was second with a distance of 211-0 and Woonsocket senior Connor Fugere secured third at 196-11.

“It’s just a lot of good hard work paid off,” said Barrington weight coach Bob Gourley. “Technically, it’s little bit of improvement all the way along. We are shooting for next weekend.”

Hendricken senior Alex Cerbo was a convincing victor in the shot put with a heave of 51-0.5. La Salle freshman Avian Peah was second at 45-7.25.

Boys Highlights