It’s early in the outdoor track season. The state meet is still two months away. The weather is just starting to cooperate. Top performers aren’t peaking.
But there’s still something special about beating your rivals, and Pilgrim got to enjoy the feeling twice on Monday at Toll Gate. The Pats captured the boys’ and girls’ city championships with victories over Toll Gate and Warwick Vets.
“The kids are always a little more excited for this,” said Pilgrim boys’ coach Mike Daniels. “They like to go against certain teams and they push a little harder. They take it a little more personal. They were excited and they did well.”
The Pilgrim boys, who have had a strong run of success in recent years, held onto their status as the cream of the crop in Warwick. They edged Toll Gate 69-58 and topped Vets 106-13. Toll Gate beat Vets 99-16.
On the girls’ side, Pilgrim finally knocked Toll Gate from its perch. The Pats hadn’t beaten the Titans since 2000. Despite being without three key contributors, they pulled it off this year, besting the Titans 91-59 and Vets 119-18. Toll Gate also beat Vets 126-21.
“We were very happy about the victory,” said Pilgrim girls’ coach Tom Dolce. “I thought it would be a close meet. The kids came through.”
The Pilgrim boys were led as usual by their throwers and sprinters. In the match-up with Toll Gate, they racked up 23 points from the hammer, discus, shot put and javelin.
“They continue to hammer it,” Daniels said. “They did really well in indoor and even with some injuries, they’re carrying it over. Jay Huddon does a great job with them and they always perform well. They’re very competitive guys.”
Peter Golish led the way with first-place finishes in the discus and the shot put. His best toss in the discus was 114 feet, eight inches, and his top showing in the shot was 40 feet, five-and-a-half inches. Dylan Gardner added a first-place finish in the hammer throw with a best of 175 feet, five inches.
Derek Daluz took second in the javelin, Daniel Johnston grabbed a third in the hammer and a fourth in the discus, Jacob Yang finished third in the javelin and fourth in the hammer and Alex Malm took third in the shot and sixth in the discus. David Saran added a fifth in the javelin, Lukas Fontaine finished fifth in the hammer and Nathan Brice took sixth in the javelin.
On the track, the Pats padded their point total with big performances in the 100, 200 and 400. Daluz won the 100 in 11.3 seconds, with Mike Kelly finishing third and Andrew Schoepfer taking fifth. Kelly took first in the 200 in 24.9, Schoepfer grabbed third and Tanner Gardner finished fourth. In the 400, sophomore Tim Gremour won in 58.1, freshman Max Toole finished second, sophomore Kyle Buonfiglio grabbed third and sophomore Dan Barclay was sixth.
Of all those finishers, only Daluz was a major contributor last year. That’s a positive sign for the Pats.
“I thought last year was the end of the line a little bit, but we pulled through a good group of new kids and some new upperclassmen,” Daniels said. “They had a very good showing.”
Kelly, a first-year senior, also added a second-place finish in the long jump.
“We’ve been trying to get him to come out, and I’m glad he finally did,” Daniels said.
Daluz won the long jump for the Pats, adding to his big day. He also teamed with Kelly, Schoepfer and Steve Croft to win the 4x100 relay.
While Toll Gate used its depth to dominate the distance events, it was Pilgrim junior Sam Eleuterio who won the 3,000 in his first try at the distance.
Davin Beriner won the triple jump for the Pats, while Aaron Edmonds placed third in the 300 hurdles, Sam Schoepfer placed third in the 800 and Brandon Lawton grabbed fourth in the 1,500.
Toll Gate gave the Pats a strong challenge thanks to standout performances in every area. Henry Smithers led the way with first-place finishes in the 800 and the 1,500, Tyler Inkley won the javelin, took second in the discus and grabbed fourth in the shot, and Tom Martella won the 300 hurdles and placed second in the 100. Max Procopio added a first-place finish in the pole vault and teamed with Martella, Curran McMahon and Joe Brosnahan to win the 4x400 relay.
On the track for the Titans, McMahon placed second in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 100, while Josh Thibeault took third in the 200 and fourth in the 400.
Toll Gate flexed its biggest muscles in the distance events, with three runners grabbing a pair of top-six finishes. Brock Massa took second in the 800 and sixth in the 1,500, Ben DiNobile finished second in the 1,500 and sixth in the 800 and Pat Rocchio grabbed fourth in the 800 and fifth in the 1,500. Alex Pires, Anthony Hart, Jared Paolino, Evan Cummiskey and John Soares went two through six in the 3,000.
Brosnahan added a second in the pole vault. In throwing events, Dan Josephson took fifth in the shot and sixth in the hammer, while Will Downie finished second in the hammer, Matt Cullen took third in the discus and Paul Alexander finished sixth in the shot.
The top finisher for the Vets boys was Frank Merlino, who placed second in the shot put. Fellow thrower Brian Schofield took fourth in the javelin and fifth in the discus. On the track, Ian Anderson placed third in the 1,500, Evan Anderson finished fifth in the 800, Brendan Thornton finished fifth in the 400, Dante Crosby grabbed fifth in the 200 and Jacob Duffy finished sixth in both the 100 and the 200.
Pilgrim girls get it done
Dolce knew Pilgrim would have a shot to beat Toll Gate this year, but wasn’t sure the Pats had what it took on this day.
As it turned out, they had plenty.
While Toll Gate had an edge in depth in many events, the Pats took first place in 11 of 16 events.
“We were happy,” Dolce said. “It was a great team effort.”
Destinee Barrette was the star of stars for the Pats. The senior won the discus, the hammer and the shot while placing second in the javelin.
“She had a tremendous day,” Dolce said.
Becca O’Donnell also stood out, winning the long jump, the triple jump and the 200. She also teamed with Madison Stanley, Molly Lynch and Nicole Morales to win the 4x100 relay.
Melanie Brunelle added a first-place finish in the 110 hurdles, a first in the high jump, a second in the 300 hurdles and a second in the triple jump.
Morales also had a first-place finish for the Pats, taking the top spot in the 100, and Natalie Tocco finished first in the 3,000 while taking fourth in the 1,500. McKenzie Caron won the javelin and took fourth in the discus. Freshman Danika Wayss narrowly missed out on an impressive pair of victories, finishing second in both the 800 and the 1,500.
Also for the Pats, Claudia DeMelo took third in the 300 hurdles, fourth in the 110 hurdles, fourth in the long jump and sixth in the triple jump. Stanley took second in the 400 and fourth in the 200; Lynch grabbed second in the long jump and fifth in the 200; Erin Plowman placed third in the 400 and fifth in the triple jump; Hannah Ambrosia placed fifth in the 3,000 and Nicole Gauthier finished sixth in the 3,000. Emma Landroche finished fourth in the high jump and Emma Thibodeau finished fifth in the triple jump.
In throwing events, Madison Caron took second in the hammer, third in the shot and fifth in the discus, while Michelle Sanchez placed second in the shot and fifth in the hammer.
Toll Gate was led by sophomore standouts Jess Cawley, Erika Pena and Nora Hall. Cawley won both the 800 and the 1,500. Pena took first in the 110 hurdles, second in the 300 hurdles and third in the triple jump. Hall won the 400, took third in the 200 and placed fifth in the 100. Hall and Pena also ran on the winning 4x400 relay team with Annie Martella and Rachel Walker. Casey Soares had the team’s other first-place finish in the pole vault, where Haley Rouleau took second and Rebecca Sock placed third.
Also for the Titans, Rouleau placed fourth in the 400 and sixth in the long jump; Abby Tillotson placed second in the 3,000; Katie Lavallee took fifth in the 800 and the 1,500; Elena Chace took fourth in the 800; Mikayla Rogers finished fourth in the 3,000; Jordan Inkley took fourth in the 300 hurdles; Skylar Loeb finished fifth in both hurdles events; Nina Thibeault took third in the long jump; Morgan Candon took fifth in the long jump; Elizabeth Costello finished sixth in the 1,500; and Walker took sixth in the 200.
In throws, Courtney Jacobsen finished third in the hammer, fifth in the shot and sixth in the discus. Jillian Eaton took second in the discus and sixth in the javelin; Arielle Frank grabbed third in both the javelin and the discus; Victoria Bucci took fourth in the hammer and the shot; Alyssa Mathews placed fourth in the javelin and sixth in the shot and Victoria Smith finished fifth in the javelin.
The Vets girls were led by sprinter Abbie Paul and distance runner Katie Evans. Paul finished second in the 200 and third in the 100, while Evans placed third in both the 800 and the 1,500.
Also placing for Vets, Angie Marks finished third in the 3,000, Katelyn Ravenell took third in the 110 hurdles, Amanda Reid placed fifth in the 400, Vicki Soares took sixth in the 100, Jessica Tyree placed sixth in the 400 and Bria McAloon grabbed sixth in the hammer.