Hawks, Pena, ’Canes shine at class meets
It was a banner day for Warwick runners at the cross country class championships on Saturday at Ponaganset’s Covered Bridge Course. Bishop Hendricken won its sixth consecutive Class A crown as senior Colin Tierney crossed the line in first place. Erika Pena, Toll Gate’s junior stand-out, finished first in the girls’ Class B race. And in boys’ Class B, Warwick Vets finished fourth to clinch a spot in the state meet, the program’s first state berth since 2001.
Tierney was the star of the day for the Hawks. The senior finished in 15:32.24, nearly 25 seconds faster than second-place finisher Jack Salisbury of La Salle. Tierney’s time is the sixth-best in the history of the Ponaganset course, which has been a championship host since 2003.
The Hawks edged the Rams 30-34 for the team crown. La Salle’s Salisbury and D.J. Principe took second and third, while Christopher Notarianni finished fifth, but the Hawks managed to take four of the top seven spots. Tom Grizzetti finished fourth in 16:16.67, Michael Potter finished sixth in 16:28.88 and Collin Manning took seventh in 16:31.58. While the Rams’ Jake Grundy finished eighth, the Hawks managed to get their fifth runner in ahead of La Salle’s fifth as sophomore Dominic Parlato finished 12th to round out the scoring.
Also running for the Hawks were Avery Ingegneri, who finished 13th, and Grant Gauthier, who grabbed 33rd.
On the girls’ side, Pena delivered the first class meet championship for a Warwick public schools runner in at least 10 years, and the first in Toll Gate history, She won Class B with a time of 20:24.17. She finished 23 seconds ahead of South Kingstown’s Kelly Reiss.
Pena’s first-place finish helped the Titans take third overall. Jess Cawley finished 16th, Debbie Jessop was 18th, Katherine Lavallee took 21st, Morgan Dugan finished 24th, Christina Abramson finished 29th and Abby Tillotson grabbed 30th.
On the boys’ side in Class B, Vets’ fourth-place finish clinched a long-awaited spot in the state meet. The ’Canes had already delivered one of their best-ever regular seasons, so the state meet will be a fitting place to close it out. Ian Anderson led the way for Vets with a fourth-place finish in 18:05.23. Chris Smith finished 18th, John Nordin took 26th, Dave Valladolid finished 36th, Evan Anderson took 41st, Jacob Pikul finished 42nd and Dean Bussick took 57th.
Toll Gate, who qualified for states in the regular season, finished second in the boys’ Class B race. Alex Pires was the top finisher in seventh with a time of 17:45.13. Patrick Rocchio grabbed 10th, Evan Cummiskey was 15th, Nick Mattioli finished 20th, Ryan Viti grabbed 23rd, Jared Paolino finished 39th and Anthony Hart took 40th. Pilgrim finished sixth in Class B, with Brandon Lawton in 13th, Sam Eleuterio in 19th, Edward Cascella in 33rd, Joseph Tocco in 37th, Brandon Paiva in 56th, Christopher Cahill in 61sty and Alex Balkum in 68th. Lawton and Eleuterio qualified for the state meet as individuals.
The Pilgrim girls finished 12th in Class A. Freshman Bryanna Mullin led the way and qualified for states with a 30th-place finish in 21:31.62. Megan Wilks finished 56th, Maranda Duffie took 67th, Alexia Maxwell finished 76th, Mary-Kate Agnew finished 77th, Arden Bastia finished 79th and Melanie Brunelle finished 88th.
The Vets girls ran in Class B and finished ninth. Freshman Tess Bussick led the charge with a 46th-place finish in 25:19.27. Sarah Grace Plante was next in 48th, Ashley Clift finished 49th, Kaitlyn Johnson took 54th, Vanessa Isherwood finished 60th, Jeannie Nguyen took 64th and Victoria Soares grabbed 67th.