Team X-C Preview: Take A Look At Our New Top 6 For Boys

This past weekend at Deerfield Park, we had a chance to witness a plethora of great performances at the season-opening Injury Fund X-C Carnival. Several of our top athletes, including our usual suspects, proved they were dedicated to their training this summer based on their efforts on Smithfield”s five-kilometer terrain. We also got a look at future (& possibly present) stars with the freshmen races showcasing the talent out there.

As promised, we are reposting our top-six rankings (plus the teams in the hunt) after what we witnessed during five-plus hours at Injury Fund. Some of our teams remain the same, but there were plenty of changes, too. Of course, there’s never a full-proof way to make preseason predictions. Espeilcally at meets like these, some teams don’t have their complete squads yet. There’s also runners that weren’t going all-out as they were either overcoming injuries or were instructed by their coaches to hold back with bigger meets on the horizon. It happens. Nonetheless, here’s our new rankings.

And this time, we’re sticking to it!

  1. Bishop Hendricken – A few were surprised that we didn’t chose the Hawks at No. 1 in our original poll. We get it. Even though they lost most of last year’s state championship team to graduated, coach Jim Doyle and his squad always seem to have the runners to replace the losses. Heck, we just figured maybe this would be the year that it would be too difficult to fill. Guess we might have been wrong. Hendricken looked very impressive in winning the Jeff Parenteau Race where five were among the top eight – Sam Zabbo (second, 16:15.92), Jack Moretta (fourth, 16:32.68), Will Olsen (fifth, 16:45.70), Olli Ide (seventh, 16:55.51) and Tommy Flanders (eighth, 17:05.10). A total of 10 runners broke 18 minutes. In addition, the Hawks had two of the top three in the Freshmen Race with Colby Flynn winning the title by 25 seconds with a time of 13:37.02. That’s a time that would compute to a low 17 minutes had he continued for the full 5K and would have placed him among the Hawks’ top seven last weekend. The ammunition is there for state crown No. 27. But, trust us, it won’t be easy with the talented squads behind them.
  2. Cumberland – The Clippers move up one spot from where we picked them. We’re confident with this choice. Cumberland scored just 27 points to capture the Jon Barnes Race, nine points ahead of Barrington. If you remember from our previous poll, we picked the Eagles at No. 1. We still feel they have a solid squad and one that could make a run at team glory in early November. At least for now, the Clippers showed us that they belong here from what they did at Injury Fund. Cumberland had four of its’ harriers ahead of Barrington’s second and all five scoring runners across the line by the time the Eagles’ third finished. Yes, we get it here, too. It still very early in the season. Heck, it’s only the first meet. But we think the Blue and White deserves this spot. Sam Henderson looked very strong in winning the individual crown in 16:03. The Clipper junior certainly could be contending for gold at the states in early November. Also, take a look what was behind him. Cumberland’s next two, Connor Magill (fifth) and William O’Shea (sixth), were right next to each other, going sub 16:50. Fellow classmate Nolan Rogalski (seventh) also ran solid with a 17:10 clocking. Cumberland’s fifth, sophomore Jake Schonhoff, was ninth at 17:26.44. That’s not a bad start to the season that will only get better in the next two months.
  3. Barrington – Trust us, we don’t consider this a demotion for the Eagles, who we (and some of you) predicted as our previous No. 1. The first three positions in this ranking we believe are interchangeable. For the Eagles, we just think the two ahead them are a little better so far by what we saw last weekend. Myles Napolitano (second, 16:13.67) and Brandon Piedade (fourth, 16:44.08), Elliot Lefort (eighth, 17:19.78), and Sam Bishop (tenth, 17:41.54) cracked the top 10 for Barrington at Saturday’s meet.
  4. La Salle Academy – This one was close between the Rams and Ponaganset. The Chieftains were impressive in placing second to Hendricken in the Parenteau Race, averaging 17:12 for its five scoring runners. In comparison, La Salle won the Vin McGinn race by 18 points over a strong Portsmouth squad. As a team, the Rams averaged 17:31. A few things factored in our decision to leave the Rams at No. 4 where we originally had them. They ran later in the day when the temperature was at its highest and that had solid performances by a few of their underclassmen in the Frosh race, including Will Souza, who was fifth overall with a time of 14:34.97 for the 4K distance. Like we expected, the Rams’ Marshall Vernon (15:58.82), a sophomore, showed he’s a state meet contender by finishing second against another RI hopeful, Jason Padula of Smithfield (15:53.61), with both going sub-16. Junior teammate Grady McGinnis was fifth with a PR of 16:44.
  5. Ponaganset – The Chieftains move up from honorable mention into the fifth position. As expected, senior teammates Jeremy Roe (third, 16:19.62) and Owen Klein (sixth, 16:49.69) were able to lead the Chieftains to their runner-up finish, just 22 points behind the Hawks.
  6. North Kingstown – The Skippers, a frequent top-six performer, remain at our No. 6 spot. NK defeated top rival East Greenwich by two points in the Erica Horlbogen Race.

As for our honorable mention, we list East Greenwich, Portsmouth, Smithfield and St. Ray’s. We feel it’s possible that one or more of this quartet could move up into a top-six slot. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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