Rhode Island Class Championships

Rhode Island Class Championships held at Ponaganset 


Jim Doyle has been coaching cross country at Bishop Hendricken for nearly two decades. During a highly-successful stint that began in the mid-1990s, his Hawks have won 11 state titles and in the fall of 2009 highlighted his tenure by earning the team plaque at the Nike Cross-Country National Northeast Championships.

Shortly after his squad’s dominant performance at Saturday’s R.I. class championships - a 25-57 decision over a very-talented La Salle Academy team in the Class A race – Doyle, without hesitation, ranked his current stable of runners the best.

Pre-race favorite Trevor Crawley, a senior from Cumberland High, captured individual honors by coasting to a winning time of 15 minutes, 52.2 seconds on Ponaganset’s five-kilometer spread. Chariho Regional senior Bryce Kelley was second at 16:05.87.

Hendricken snared the title by bunching all its scoring runners in the next five slots. Leading the way was sophomore Michael Potter in third at 16:06.87. Senior Tyler Henesler placed fourth (16:08.13), senior Connor Doyle took fifth (16:08.38), junior Colin Tierney was sixth (16:08.87) and senior Alex Doherty finished seventh (16:10.02).

The difference between the No. 1 and No. 5 harrier for the Hawks – a mere 3.15 seconds!

“I think my best team was the ’09 team and this team would have crushed the ’09 team and that team went to the nationals,” Doyle stated. “They had a good day today. When you have that kind of spread of (16:06) to 16:10, that’s an unbelievable team! But that’s this week and hopefully they can come back and do it when it really counts next week (at the Nov. 4 state meet).”

Crawley, who a week ago placed second in the elite race at the Brown University Northeast Championship, did most of the pace-setting and hung with Kelley and the Hawk contingent for the first two miles. With a powerful surge he then broke from the pack, and by the time he exited the wooded section of the course, less than a 1,000-meters later, was 10-seconds ahead of his closest pursuer Kelley.

“He was dead even with the other guys (Kelley and the Hawks) after two miles,” said Cumberland coach Tom Kenwood. “By the time he got to the top of the hill and that little downhill, he was 80-yards ahead.”

Crawley hit his opening mile at 5:02 and was 10:10 at two miles. He admitted he didn’t go all-out.

“I ran hard, but I was saving a little bit for next week,” said the CHS runner, who dipped under 16 minutes for the 5K distance for the sixth time this season. “Today was kind of like a (gage) to see where I’m at and what I can do on this course.”

“I didn’t really come in with a strategy,” he continued. “I just took it out to see what I could do. I didn’t really come in with a plan…I felt good. I let off the gas a little near the end.”

South Kingstown teammates Jake Manning and Scott Washburn finished 1-2 in the Class B race to lift the Rebels to a narrow 49-53 win over Portsmouth. Manning posted a time of 17:15.61 for the triumph. Washburn was second at 17:31.99.

“We ran hard. We have been practicing hard, too,” Manning said. “This (the team title) is no surprise to us. It might be a surprise to others, but we have been practicing hard. We wanted this.”

East Greenwich was an easy victor in Class C, cruising past runner-up Mount St. Charles, 27-69. The race was won by Prout’s Vic Ricci, who was timed in 16:16. The Avengers’ Ben Fazio (16:35) and Scott Kulm (16:40) were second and third, respectively.

Hendricken appears to be the clear-cut favorite to win another state crown at Ponaganset next weekend, but Doyle expects a heated battle with La Salle, a squad that beat his Hawks at the Eastern State Championship of the Reebok Manhattan (N.Y.) Invitational on Oct. 13.

The Rams’ Jake Grundy was eighth at Saturday’s class meet with a time of 16:12.76.  Senior teammate Adam Rego was ninth at 16:17.94 and sophomore Michael Stephens was tenth in 16:29.85.

“I figured (today) was going to be closer. I respect La Salle. They are a good team,” Doyle said. “They can reverse this around next week. They are going to be a team to be reckoned with next week and in the future. They were outstanding today.”

According to Doyle, Crawley will have the bull’s eye on his singlet as he aims for his first cross-country title.

“You would have to say that Trevor is the individual favorite,” he said. “He is running well. He was dominant in outdoor track. He runs smoothly. He’s done it all year long.”

If the weather cooperates like it did in Saturday’s race with no wind and the temperature in the mid-70s, Kenwood believes his star runner could run at about 30-seconds faster than he did at the class meet.

 “I think if the conditions are like this next week, he can probably run in the 15:20s,” Kenwood said. “But with all the rain that is expected (from Hurricane Sandy), I don’t know how much it’s going to slow things up.”

Demonstrating a similar display of dominance as Hendricken, defending state champion Barrington won the Class A girls’ crown with a 24-47 win over second-place La Salle. Freshman Emma McMillan paced the Eagles by outlasting the Rams’ Sheridan Wilbur, a sophomore, with a fast 18:35.33 clocking. Wilbur was just a few strides behind at 18:36.57.

Barrington had four of its runners among the top nine with junior Abby Livingston placing fourth overall at 19:02.80, junior Megan Verner-Crist finishing eighth at 19:17.55 and junior Julianna Portelli nabbing ninth in 19:18.14.

“We just tried to stay strong and win the class meet as a team,” McMillan said. “All of us placed really well.”

Running for the first time on the Chieftains’ Covered Bridge Trail, McMillan was pushed to the limit with Wilbur on her heels from the start. She broke for the title with a little more than 100-meters remaining.

“It was actually really nice. We were encouraging each other the whole time,” McMillan said. “She pushed it a lot. It was neck-and-neck to the end. It was really close. She did a great job.”

The Eagles’ fantastic frosh, who ran her PR of 18:33 for 5K at the Great American Cross-Country Festival in North Carolina last month, never expected to be the first to cross the finish line. She passed through the mile checkpoint at 5:45.

“I am pretty confident about next week, but I didn’t expect this at all,” said McMillan, about her victory.  “I thought I would be in the top half, but not winning or close to winning…I am a little surprised.”

Underclassmen occupied most of the top 10 placements. Following Wilbur in third place (18:55.34) was Mount Hope freshman Karina Tavares. Cumberland ninth-grader Amy Laverty was fifth (19:08.31) and Coventry sophomore Allison Bellows was seventh (19:13.53).

In the Class B race, Westerly junior Jackie Burr won by more than a minute with a time of 18:39.22. Led by the runner-up placement of senior Kendall Feaster (19:43.06), South Kingstown copped the team title with a 44-58 win over Bay View Academy. The Rebels’ Britney Laraway was fourth (19:50.87).

Smithfield claimed its second straight crown in the Class C race, defeating second-place Burrillville, 27-76. The Sentinels’ Stephanie Mattson, a sophomore, outkicked Bronco sophomore Betsy Dumais for her second consecutive individual title. She finished with a time of 19:40 with Dumais finishing at 19:50.

Smithfield, which was a perfect 11-0 in the Northern Division, had all of its scoring runners among the top 10. Filling those slots was senior Emily Meinertz (third, 20:16), sophomore Rebecca Meinertz (fifth, 20:36), sophomore Genesee Baley (eighth, 20:50) and sophomore Madison Saliba (tenth, 21:05).

Head coach John Marchand was pleased with his team’s effort, but feels his Sentinels may have to pick it up a notch to qualify for the New England Championships with a top-six finish at the states.

“We ran very well today, but I know we have to pack it in a little more next week,” he said. “If we can close in on Stephanie, we can get it done.”