Bishop Hendricken did all it could at Saturday’s indoor track state meet.
For the first time in 18 years, it wasn’t enough.
Despite a host of solid performances by the Hawks, Chariho’s dominant distance runners were too much, and the Chargers snapped Hendricken’s streak of 17 consecutive state titles. The Chargers racked up 68 points to Hendricken’s 63. It was the first time since 1994, when St. Raphael won, that the Hawks didn’t leave with the championship.
On the girls’ side, Pilgrim and Toll Gate tied for seventh.
“We did what we could do,” said Hendricken head coach Jim Doyle. “We chipped away, but we knew Chariho was going to be tough to beat.”
The Hawks have viewed themselves as underdogs before, including last year, when a big day carried them to a victory over La Salle.
This year, they knew they might need an even bigger day. The Chargers beat the Hawks for the outdoor track state championship last June and were a close second at the cross country state championships in the fall. Hendricken knew that the indoor meet would highlight Chariho’s distance strength.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, that’s exactly what happened.
Chariho compiled every single one of its points from the 4x800 relay, the 3,000, the 1,500 and the 1,000. The Chargers had just one other competitor outside those events, but their distance strength proved to be enough.
Drew Turner, Dan Kilcoyne, Bryce Kelly and Mike Gilligan teamed up to win the 4x800 relay, the first event of the day on the track. That gave the Chargers 10 quick points, and they kept tacking on more. Mike Marsella and Jake Kilcoyne went one-two in the 3,000 for 18 more points before Kelly and Dan Kilcoyne did the same thing in the 1,500 to run Chariho’s total to 46. The Chargers then put things out of reach when Marsella, Kelly and Dan Kilcoyne took first, second and fourth in the 1,000 for 22 points and a total of 68.
The Hawks just tipped their hats.
“We knew that it would be tough to stop those Chariho distance runners,” Doyle said. “They just continued to roll right through the distance events. They covered those four distance events exactly the way we thought they would.”
While the Hawks were disappointed to see the streak end, they were thrilled with the effort. Reuben Horace took first in the weight throw, while the 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams won close races against tough competition. The Hawks also picked up key points in other events as they tried to chip away at Chariho’s lead. Though the effort fell short, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
“The performances we had were great,” said assistant coach Dan Brennan. “Could we have benefited from a couple of other strengths in other areas? Yes, but to do as well as we did and to lose by five, it’s just something you kind of have to take. We had a great day. It just wasn’t enough.”
Horace was the top individual performer for the Hawks. He came in seeded second in the weight throw to Classical’s Joe Velez, who was ranked No. 1 in the country. Velez ended up throwing well below his seeding mark, and Horace stepped into the void. The senior’s toss of 71 feet, 10.25 inches was more than a foot better than his seeding mark and it gave him the title.
“Reuben came up big and got us 10 big points,” Doyle said.
The Hawks also shined in the relays. Alex Perreault, Ryan Brannigan, Kyle O’Connell and Power Kanga won the 4x200 relay in 1:33.28. They had been seeded second. Kanga, a freshman, held off Central’s Jose Ortiz on the anchor leg.
In the 4x400, Jordan Barboza joined Perreault, O’Connell and Brannigan for another win in 3:29.32. Brannigan held off stiff challenges from Central and North Kingstown to seal the victory.
The 4x400 came after the 1,000, so the Hawks knew they couldn’t catch Chariho. They still came up with their best performance of the year.
“Our kids gave an incredible performance going out there and fighting until the end,” Doyle said. “Going into the 4x4, those guys knew the meet was over and they still went out there and won. To walk away with a 4x4 and a 4x2 title against the teams we were up against is great.”
The Hawks had 11 other place-winning performances. O’Connell took third in the hurdles and Perreault finished third in the 300 in addition to their relay success. Tyler Henseler and Colin Tierney went fourth and fifth in the 3,000, Mark Vuono and Henseler placed fourth and fifth in the 1,500, Mike Pecchia and Nick DeCiantis finished fifth and sixth in the shot put, Barboza took fifth in the high jump and fifth in the hurdles and Billy L’Europa finished fifth in the 55-meter dash.
“Little by little, we were chipping away,” Brennan said. “We had some really good performances. We just kind of ran out of events.”
And that meant an end to the streak, but it won’t be long before the Hawks get to thinking about starting a new one.
“We’ve always got a target on our backs so it was bound to happen,” Doyle said. “Chariho did a great job. Our goal is to come back strong. We’ve got some young guys. They’ll be back next year, and they’ll be back in outdoor in the spring.”
The Pilgrim and Toll Gate boys didn’t score at the meet but both had some strong performances. The Pats were led by Dylan Gardner, who took eighth in the weight throw, and by sprinters Derek Daluz, Carl Sjogren and Steve Croft. That trio just missed qualifying for the finals of the 55-meter dash, finishing ninth, 10th and 11th in the preliminaries. Sjogren added a 14th-place finish in the 300, while Mike Mallozzi finished 10th in the long jump. Matthew Enos took 20th in the hurdles and Peter Golish was 18th in the weigh throw.
Toll Gate was led by its 4x800 relay team. Evan Carley, Joseph Frost, Pat Rocchio and Henry Smithers finished seventh, just outside of the medals. Smithers was the top individual performer with a 10th-place finish in the 1,000. Carley added a 12th in the 600 and Tom Martella took 15th in the hurdles. The Titans also finished 10th in the 4x400 relay.
Warwick Vets did not have any competitors on the boys’ side.
Pilgrim, Toll Gate lead girls’ teams
La Salle cruised to its sixth consecutive girls’ team title, but both Pilgrim and Toll Gate had strong individual performances and tied for seventh with 15 points along with Mount St. Charles.
The Pats were led by Maggie Dufault, Destinee Barrette and Becca O’Donnell, who all took home medals. Dufault took third in the weight throw, Barrette finished fifth in the shot put and sixth in the weight throw, and O’Donnell took fourth in the long jump.
Dufault took home a medal for the second year in a row. The senior finished fourth at states last year, and this time bumped to third with a throw of 49 feet, two inches.
Barrette joined Dufault in the weight throw, and her best of 45-08.75 was good for sixth. The junior then threw 33-07.25 in the shot put to take fifth.
O’Donnell, a sophomore, took fourth in the long jump with a best of 17-01.00. She had been seeded eighth with a mark of 16-08.75.
Also for Pilgrim, Maddison Caron took 10th in the weight throw, Dufault grabbed 12th in the shot put, Melanie Brunelle tied for ninth in the high jump and took 15th in the 1,000, Breyon Brown finished 10th in the preliminary round of the 55-meter dash, O'Donnell took 16th in the dash, Natalie Tocco took 13th in the 3,000, and Emma Mascoli finished 16th in the long jump as well as 14th in the hurdle prelims.
Toll Gate took home four individual medals and two from relay events. Rylee Candon finished sixth in both the high jump and long jump, clearing five feet in the high jump and logging a best of 16-11.25 in the long jump.
Jordan Gray, who was second in the 300 last year, took home another medal with a fourth-place finish. She crossed in 41.82, behind Hope’s Royal Cheatham, East Greenwich’s Jaimee Dorsey and Classical’s Dara Falaye.
Katie St. Amand grabbed a fourth-place medal in the shot put for the second year in a row. Her best throw was 33-10.00.
The Titans also got a fifth-place finish from Haley Moen, Erika Pena, Gray and Kathleen Morlock in the 4x400 relay and a sixth from Moen, Pena, Shannon Garvey and Tess Russo in the 4x800.
Also for the Titans, Moen took seventh in the 600, Nicole Fraser finished eighth in the shot put, Morlock took 10th in the hurdles, Meg McNulty finished 13th in the shot put, Garvey was 16th in the 600 and 21st in the hurdles, and Pena took 16th in the high jump.
Warwick Vets had one competitor. Senior Megan Merlino finished 16th in the shot put.