Hendricken, Kipyego Go Back to Back At RIIL XC Championships



The weather was humid on the trails of Ponagansett. It was unusually warm, but this was not going to stop the 138 athletes on the men's side from competing. Although the weather was far from ideal, 16 athletes notched all-time bests including 6 All-State runners.  

The race began not too fast but rather bunched up at the front with many familiar faces. The likes of Devan Kipyego of Saint Raphael's, Troy Silvestri or Bishop Hendricken, Jackson Borge of North Kingstown, and more. The pack quickly thinned out and separated in the backwoods as Kipyego sat on Silvestri. This continued up the hills on the back loop until the final ascent where Kipyego made a decisive move. Kipyego held off Silvestri and more as he charged down the hill towards the last kilometer to eventually take the individual title in 15:39.29. Conditions were not on any runner's side for the race, and Kipyego made the tactical decision to push off the course record attempt for another week at New England's. This may prove beneficial as the likes of Aidan Cox of Coe-Brown and more will help push him to crack 15 and possibly obtain the record.  

Silvestri came in 2nd with a 15:44.73. Silvestri set the tone for the hawks with his ability to consistently be a low-stick on the team. He was followed by Nicholas Martin of Class C and East Greenwich at 15:55.10. Just missing the 16-minute mark was Jackson Borge of North Kingstown and Andrew Frezza of Bishop Hendricken. Borge caught Frezza the final stretch to run 16:01.82 and 16:02.17 respectively. The first team was rounded out by 2 runners who had break-out seasons; Cole Francis of Narragansett and Thomas Speltz of Moses Brown who ran 16:06.54 and 16:10.74. Two runners who specifically stepped up were Saint Raphael's 2 and 3, Noah Vanhorn, and Jeremiah Rocha. Vanhorn made a huge jump from last spring to now and shaved off 18 seconds from Class to States on less-than-ideal conditions. Rocha was similar as the former Cumberland Clipper ran a lifetime best to be the top junior in the meet overall.  

In the team battle, Bishop Hendricken did not see as comfortable of a win as they did last week but still came away with a solid margin of victory scoring just 46 points to La Salle's 89. Hendricken saw five runners come away with All-State honors including Keegan Tierney, Jack Moretta, and Brayton Gazzero placing within the top 15. La Salle saw Phil Simas and Raymond Flores place 9th and 11th respectively. Ricky Meyers and Grady McGinnis missed all state, barely placing 23rd and 24th while freshman state champion Marshall Vernon took 27th to round out the top 5. Cumberland edged out Saint Raphael's for third.  

1Bishop Hendricken HS462+5+10+14+15 (24+27)0:53 1-5 Split | 16:16 Avg
2La Salle Academy899+11+21+22+26 (46+48)0:36 1-5 Split | 16:39 Avg
3Cumberland1248+12+30+35+39 (45+52)1:06 1-5 Split | 16:55 Avg
4St. Raphael Academy1331+18+19+37+58 (72+84)2:21 1-5 Split | 16:54 Avg
5East Greenwich High School1523+17+29+49+54 (63+68)1:59 1-5 Split | 17:02 Avg
6Barrington High School18725+31+41+43+47 (53+83)0:46 1-5 Split | 17:19 Avg

The top 25 individuals and 6 teams will not need to travel as New England's are back at Ponaganset next Saturday.