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Jump Start
Pilgrim track has turned into jumpers’ hotbed
Brian Byrnes
File photo
GOING UP: Pilgrim’s Melanie Brunelle clears the bar in the high jump during the indoor track season. Pilgrim’s jumpers have continued to shine in the outdoor season.

The Pilgrim girls’ track team goes five jumpers deep. Those five have dominated jumping events all season long.

“We really challenge each other,” said senior standout Rebecca O’Donnell. “We aren’t like some of the bigger schools. We never get recognized. I’m glad that we are now getting recognized.”

Pilgrim’s excellence in jumping was well-documented this past spring. At the Mount Pleasant qualifier on Saturday, O’Donnell along with junior Melanie Brunelle, sophomore Madison Stanley and sophomore Emma Thibodeau finished in the top 15 in the triple jump, with O’Donnell and Brunelle taking first and second place. O’Donnell also won the long jump.

As a former indoor state champ in the long jump, O’Donnell enjoys being the mentor for this group of underclassmen.

“I’m so glad I have gotten to teach these guys and I can go on and learn even more next year,” said O’Donnell. “This last week has been so emotional. I can’t believe it.”

At the Divisional Championships on May 12, the Patriots had three top five finishes for the triple jump, with Brunelle taking second, O’Donnell taking third and Stanley taking fourth. Brunelle also took third in the high jump and sixth in the long jump.

At the Class B Championships on May 24, five Pilgrim jumpers finished in the top 15 for the triple jump, with O’Donnell, Brunelle and Stanley finishing first, second and third. What is even more impressive is Pilgrim won the 4x100 relay with a group of O’Donnell, Stanley and sophomore Nicole Morales and sophomore Emma Landroche. These jumpers are dangerous in short distance, to combine with an already strong group of sprinters. Landroche won the 100 and the 200, Nicole Morales won the 400, O’Donnell took second in the 100, Stanley finished third in the 200 and Brunelle finished fourth in the 100 hurdles. Pilgrim also finished fourth in the 4x400 relay.

“I think our 4x100 relay is going to shock some people at states,” said O’Donnell. “I’d really like to take home the triple jump. It would mean everything to win. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t win.”

O’Donnell may be gone next year, but the team has a young core. Brunelle will be back for her senior year, and Stanley and Thibodeau will be juniors next season. Pilgrim will have these skilled jumpers for at least the next two seasons, combined with the development of freshman Stephanie Langevin, who has already competed in varsity jumping events.

No other school at the Mount Pleasant qualifier had two girls finish in the top six for two different jumping events except for Smithfield, who did so in the high jump and the long jump. Brunelle finished fourth in that high jump, and O’Donnell won the long jump by seven inches.

O’Donnell isn’t the only one with the state championships on her mind. The whole team is gearing up to compete, especially Pilgrim Coach Tom Dolce.

“Last year we tied for third in the state,” said Dolce. “Hopefully we can duplicate that. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’ll do the best we can.”

The state championships will be held at Brown Stadium in Providence on Saturday, June 7.


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