Sentinels end the streak

Hawks swim well but Smithfield too much; TG’s Rogers leads girls’ teams

Posted 2/25/14

It was always going to end at some point, even if it never seemed like it would.

On Sunday, it finally did.

The Bishop Hendricken swim team – the most successful program at the most …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Sentinels end the streak

Hawks swim well but Smithfield too much; TG’s Rogers leads girls’ teams


It was always going to end at some point, even if it never seemed like it would.

On Sunday, it finally did.

The Bishop Hendricken swim team – the most successful program at the most decorated high school athletic program in the state – had its remarkable 24-year state championship streak snapped, falling to Smithfield by seven points at the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center at Brown University.

The Sentinels out-scored the Hawks 323 to 316, the narrowest margin of victory for any boys’ team at the state meet this century. The Hawks, underdogs for the first time in recent memory, couldn’t quite get the few extra points they needed to run their championship streak to a quarter-century.

Hendricken’s streak of 24 championships in a row is the second-longest state title run in state history, trailing only the 27 straight titles Mount St. Charles won in boys’ hockey, which was snapped in 2003.

But the end of streak didn’t come because Hendricken struggled. In fact, the Hawks swam as well as they have all season long. Smithfield was just the better team.

“I told them to hold their heads high,” said Hendricken head coach Dave Hanson, the only coach in the program’s history. “They’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. They did a hell of a job.”

Hendricken’s’ total of 316 was the second-highest runner-up total on record, with only Barrington’s 333 in 2005-06 surpassing it. Historically, 300 points has been good enough to secure a state championship.

In each of the last three seasons, and four of the last five, the Hawks have scored fewer points – and won – than they did this year. All of those years, however, they didn’t have an opponent like the Sentinels.

Using considerable depth, Smithfield didn’t win a single individual event but won two relays and stacked up big points in multiple events on its way to its first-ever championship. The Sentinels became Rhode Island’s first champion other than Hendricken since 1989. Barrington came in third with 202 points.

“We felt like we had our best team out there today and all of us swam our best,” said senior captain Jacob Fox. “They were just a little bit better.”

The title wasn’t decided until the final event of the day, the 400 freestyle relay. Hendricken was down by 13 points entering the event and was the top seed. Smithfield, the No. 2 seed, had to either get disqualified or finish in sixth or worse for the Hawks to have a chance.

Hendricken held up its end of the bargain, winning the event with James Manni, Marc Andrews, Michael Sundberg and Max Miranda, and out-swimming its seeding by eight seconds, but Smithfield closed the door with a second-place finish of its own.

Not long afterwards, the final scores were announced, with Smithfield on top.

Still, Hendricken was proud of the way it finished the day even with little chance of winning the team title at that point.

“Honestly, at that point it doesn’t matter,” Manni said. “We’re Hendricken, we have a legacy of great swimming. At this point we’re not doing it for the score – we’re doing it for our coach, we’re doing it for our parents that have been sitting in the stands for four years. And we’re doing it for ourselves.”

Hanson was proud too.

“We did exactly what we had to do,” Hanson said. “You have to give them credit. We made it interesting.”

It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Hawks. At the Division I Class Meet – a meet that Hendricken had never lost since it was instituted in 2001 – Smithfield won 433-399, a convincing victory.

Based on seeding headed in to the state meet, if everything held serve, Smithfield would have won by 62 points.

But Hendricken battled and nearly kept its streak alive. Its first move was sliding freshman star Max Miranda into the 100 and 200 freestyle events as a way to combat Smithfield’s depth.

That worked, as Miranda was the top seed in each event and won them both. In the 100 free, that helped off-set Smithfield’s 2-3-11 finish from Ryan Cote, Carlton Eaton and Ricky Boardman. Hendricken also got a fifth place from Manni and a 13th from Dan Fedorenko in that event.

In the 200 free, the Hawks made waves with Miranda winning, Sundberg racing to fourth, Brendan Crowe taking 11th and Alex Vessella grabbing 16th. Smithfield managed only a 10th-place finish.

But the Sentinels just had too much in the other events.

They won the 200 medley relay and the 200 free relay. Tim DeCoste took second in the 200 IM, and the team went 2-6-12-14 in the 50 free.

Smithfield steadily scored in other events, and then really seized control in the 100 backstroke.

Hendricken’s weakest event, the Hawks didn’t place a single swimmer in the top 16. Meanwhile, Smithfield got a sixth-place from Brady Green, an eighth from Dan Chadwick and a ninth from Evan Sousa. That accounted for 33 total points and made all the difference in the final tally.

“We just don’t have any backstrokers,” Hanson said.

The Hawks did have some bright spots. Certainly Miranda – already the best freshmen swimmer in the program’s history – was one, as was Sundberg, who out-did his seed time by 10 seconds in the 500 freestyle on his way to a second-place finish.

Andrews was third in the 200 individual medley and fourth in the 100 fly, John Berretta was fifth in the 200 IM and ninth in the 100 fly, Brendan Crowe was sixth in the 500 free after being seeded ninth, Jon O’Connell was eighth in the 100 breast and 10th in the 200 IM, Manni was eighth in the 50 free, Fox was 12th in the 100 breast and Fedorenko was 15th in the 50 free.

In the 200 free relay, the team of Fedorenko, Crowe, Sundberg and Manni took third and the 200 medley relay team of Miranda, O’Connell, Berretta and Andrews finished second.

Many of the times were personal records.

“They beat us by seven,” Hanson said. “Great swims. I give the guys goals – they broke their goals every single race. You can’t ask them to do any better than what they did.”

It was just finally time for the streak to come to a close.

“It’s pretty special,” Hanson said. “Twenty-five would have been nice.”

Toll Gate also had standout performances on the boys’ side, getting 25 points from senior Will Bailer. His two swims alone led Toll Gate to a 17th-place finish.

An individual who swims at the YMCA during the year, Bailer took sixth place in the state in the 100 freestyle and seventh in the 50 free. Last season he was 10th in the 50 free and eighth in the 100 free

His teammate Ryan Therieault competed as well, finishing 21st in the 200 IM.

Rogers ends high school career in style

No Warwick girls’ teams made a big impact on the state scene on Sunday, but Toll Gate’s Mikayla Rogers certainly made her presence felt once again.

A senior swimming in her fourth state meet, Rogers finished in fourth place in the 500 freestyle and seventh place in the 100 free, giving her two top-10 finishes in the state for a second consecutive year.

Last season, she finished fifth in the 100 fly and third in the 500 free.

“Fabulous swims,” said Toll Gate head coach Michael Seidenberg. “You can’t ask for anything more at the end of the season than to swim your best and swim your fastest, especially in her last state meet.”

South Kingstown won the state championship for the second consecutive year with 312 points, while Prout finished just behind with 299.

Rogers was seeded 15th this season in the 100 fly, yet finished eight places and five seconds ahead of where she was seeded.

In the 500 free, she was seeded 10th, yet out-swam her place by five and her seeding time by over 10 seconds.

She just missed out on her school-record time of last year, which was 5:28.16. This season, she swam in 5:28.88.

“She has a great mindset,” Seidenberg said. “She really is mentally into what she’s doing. That really helps her a lot.”

Joining Rogers for two relays on the day were her Toll Gate teammates Amanda Wilks, Steph Hager and Meg Gilbar. That foursome swam to 23rd in the 200 medley relay – and out-swam its seeding time by six seconds – and finished in 21st in the 200 free relay. Hagar also competed individually in the 100 breast, where she took 26th.

As a team, Toll Gate was 16th overall with 27 points, all of which were accounted for by Rogers.

“The team around her has been great,” Seidenberg said.

Pilgrim also sent a few swimmers to the meet, and ended up with 10 total points, good for 20th place overall.

All of those points were scored by the 400 free relay team of Taylor Ryan, Sophia Caracuzzo, McKenzie Caron and Abby Slater, who came in 12th place. That same foursome came in 14th place last year. It shaved nearly eight seconds off its time this season.

That group also swam in the 200 medley rely and finished just outside of the points in 18th. As individuals, Slater was 21st in the 200 free and 9th in the 50 free, Ryan was 20th in the 100 fly and 21st in the 200 IM and Caracuzzo was 22nd in the 100 fly and 29th in the 500 free.

Warwick Vets had no competitors at either the boys or the girls meet.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here