Hayes and Martin's Victories Highlight New England’s

The New England championships were in Bangor, Maine this year, and many of the states best traveled to see how they fare against the best of the other five states in the region. Although the trip was about 250 miles; many took the four-and-a-half-hour ride to the Pine Tree State.  

The New England Championships, similar to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League, kick off their meet with the running of the 4x800 meter relay. Surprisingly, with a few scratches and shuffling of other teams, the squad from Barrington High School, who finished seventh at states, came away as the top team from the Ocean State. With a time of 8:19.12, the team of Charlie Stockwell, Daniel Chun, Marius Bonard, and Freidrich Muehlbauer, ran the third fastest time in the state this year and improved upon their time from states by fourteen seconds to finish thirteenth.  

The prelims of the 110-meter high hurdles saw state champion Ethan Knight of Barrington run 14.84 to finish second in his heat and qualify for the final in fourth. In the final, the Barrington junior finished fifth overall in 14.62, a new personal best with a wind-legal +1.0. This moves him to RI#10 all-time in all conditions and RI#3 all-time when only considering wind-legal marks. He is only half a second off of the state record set in 2002 by Yudehweh Gbaa of Hope High School in 14.28. Finally, he ranks #95 in the United States for juniors.

In the 1600-meter final, Jesse Principe was the top runner from the state meet as Nick Martin of East Greenwich decided to run the 3200. The West Warwick Wizard's time from states put him in section two, but this did not stop Principe from running a fast time. He sat in second for nearly the whole race as his 64.50-second last lap moved him from tenth to eighth to secure All-New England honors.  

Next, the 4x100 meter relay did not have last week's state champions from Central High School, but instead, Bishop Hendricken came away with the fastest time of the day out of the Rhode Island teams. The Hawks squad of Edmund Lok, Xavier Wilkens, Joel Felix, and Nathan Rivers ran 42.80 to place third both in their heat and overall. While La Salle Academy took seventh with a squad of Joshua Aceto, Garrett Girous-Pezzullo, Amari Monteiro, and Jared Gibbons who ran a collective time of 43.36. In the 300-meter hurdles, Aidan Bienvenue found himself in heat two of the New England championships. There, he would win the heat with a time of 40.06 to take the last spot for All-New England honors.  

The 800-meter dash saw Thomas Speltz of Moses Brown run in section two out of three. The future Colby Mule got his first taste of racing in Maine, and it worked out very well for him. He split a near-perfect +2 second split of 56.70, 57.99 to run 1:54.68 to win his section and place fifth overall with a new PR. Out of the twenty-seven-person field, only three athletes PR'd, and all three were from Rhode Island. Cole McCue of Cumberland won section one in 1:56.21 off of a 56.88, 59.34 split, and Speltz's teammate Ziegler of Moses Brown ran 1:58.34 with a 58.53, 59.81 split.  

The 200-meter dash saw the state champion Xavier Wilkens of Bishop Hendricken run 22.14 for seventh place. The race was incredibly close as Wilkens was just .13 sections off of third place. The 4x400 meter relay saw the Hawks be the top relay team once again. After their win at states, the team of Xavier Wilkens, Jacob Coates, Anthony Manna, and Elliot Gauvin placed eleventh overall and just one-one hundredth of a second off their season's best from the Penn Relays back in April. La Salle Academy ran 3:28.92 for fifteenth and Moses Brown shattered their school record by running 3:32.33 to place eighteenth.  

The 3200 meters may be the last individual running event of the meet, but it also produced the greatest success for the state. Nick Martin of East Greenwich ran his only 3200 of the year but looked like a seasoned veteran. He sat early in the race before opening up the final 1200 meters and closed in a blistering 2:13.93 to take the win. He is the first Rhode Islander to win this race since Aidan Tierney of Bishop Hendricken did so in 2019 when he ran 9:08.38. Two Hawks did finish as All-New England runners with Brayton Gazerro running 9:17.92 for fifth and Troy Silvestri placing eight in 9:29.61.  

In the field events, just one Rhode Island athlete finished in the top ten out of all eight field events. However, this one athlete won the discus in a new PR by over six feet. This athlete was Jason Hayes of Middletown, Rhode Island. The senior threw 171-4 on his second attempt as his only legal throw to qualify for the final in the lead. From there, Matt Charpentier of York, Maine, the favorite with home-field advantage, threw 173-4 with his fourth attempt. This moved Hayes into second place, however, this would be short-lived. On his very next attempt, Hayes threw it 175-6 for a four-foot personal best and slingshot himself into the lead. Charpentier failed to match or surpass, but with Hayes' final throw, he extended his lead by another five inches as Hayes launched a 175-11 throw to finish out the day. This gave Hayes the New England title and moved him to RI#5 all-time. What a way to finish out your domestic championship season.

Congrats to all those who finished their seasons, and good luck as Rhode Island athletes travel around the nation for national championship meets.