It may not end up meaning much in the grand scheme of things, or it might go down as the first sign that one of Rhode Island’s greatest high school streaks is coming to an end.
Either way, after Sunday’s Division I class swim meet, there should be plenty of drama at this weekend’s state meet.
The Bishop Hendricken swim team, winners of the last 24 state titles, was beaten out at the class meet by Smithfield by a score of 433 to 399. It was the first time in the 14-year history of the class meet that Hendricken hasn’t won.
Smithfield, the runner-up in last year’s state meet and a team that Hendricken only beat 52-42 in the first dual meet of this season, took first place in four events, including two relays. The Hawks took first in three events, but couldn’t account for Smithfield’s top-line depth.
Hendricken was led by freshman star Max Miranda, who won the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly. He also swam anchor on the Hawks’ second-place 200 medley relay team and its second-place 200 free relay team.
In each of those relays, however, Smithfield took first. The sentinels won the 200 medley relay over the team of Marc Andrews, Jon O’Connell, John Berretta and Miranda by almost six full seconds, and then won the 200 free relay over James Manni, Brendan Crowe, Michael Sundberg and Miranda by nearly four seconds.
The Hawks were able to exact some revenge in the 400 free relay, taking first by .06 seconds over Smithfield with the team of Manni, Crowe, Andrews and Sundberg.
Smithfield’s biggest edge came in the sprint freestyle events. The Sentinels took first, second, fourth and fifth in the 50 freestyle with standouts Ryan Cote, Ricky Boardman, Chris Cote and Kai Vennema doing the damage. That accounted for 66 points. Hendricken got a sixth-place finish from Dan Fedorenko, a 13th from Owen Schriber and a 16th from Gian Paterno, but that hardly offset the Smithfield edge.
In the 100 free, Hendricken got a third place from Manni and a 12th from Fedorenko, but Smithfield took first, second, fourth and eighth. Ryan Cote, Boardman, Carlton Eaton and Vennema did the damage there.
Smithfield grabbed valuable points in the 100 back as well. While Andrews took fourth, Evan Kortick took 10th and Gabe Ibarra took 11th for Hendricken, Smithfield captured second, third and fifth place.
Other than those events, the Hawks were near the top in almost everything. In the 200 free, Sundberg was second, Manni was fourth, Crowe was fifth and Alex Vessella was 11th. Smithfield took third, sixth and 15th. In the 200 IM, Miranda won, Andrews was third, John Berretta was fourth and O’Connell was 13th. Smithfield grabbed second, fifth and sixth.
Miranda won the 100 fly and was followed by Berretta in fifth and Ibarra in 14th. Smithfield finished in fourth and 15th.
The 500 free was a big scorer for the Hawks, who had Sundberg in second, Crowe in sixth, Jacob Fox in seventh and Alex Vessella in eighth. Smithfield took only a third.
In the 100 breast, O’Connell was sixth, Fox was eighth and Anthony Vessella was 16th. Smithfield scored some points there, finishing second, fifth, 13th and 15th.
Now the Hawks will try to win their 25th straight state title, perhaps as underdogs. The state meet is set for this Sunday at Brown University, beginning at 1 p.m. Warm-ups are at 12 p.m.
The girls’ state meet will take place afterwards, beginning at 5 p.m.