The few Rhode Island athletes and teams that make their way across the border for the annual Highland Park Invitational have experienced their share of success in the meet’s short history.
In the last two year’s East Greenwich alum Reese Fahys has captured the girls’ individual title and in 2019 La Salle’s Kaylie Armitage was a champion. On the boys’ side, recent EG grad Nick Martin was a winner and La Salle’s Jack Casey and Adam Thibodeau went 1-2 in 2021.
Alison Pankowicz continued the tradition on Saturday at the fifth annual event.
The Toll Gate senior made it four straight for RI girls with a triumphant and PR of 19 minutes, 41.8 seconds on the rolling five-kilometer terrain on the Mark Coogan X-C Course. Pankowicz never shied away from the lead pack and engaged in a tight battle with Bishop Feehan’s Lauren Augustyn from about a half mile to 2.5 miles. She made her move with 1K remaining and was nearly 75m ahead of Augustyn by the finish. The Feehan senior was timed in 19:52.0.
Pankowicz’s effort didn’t surprise head coach Norm Bouthillier, especially after his star harriers outdoor season.
“She’s was really focused after a great outdoor state meet, after scoring in the 1,500m and the 3,000m, both with personal bests(4:41 /10:30) and school records,” he said. “This really motivated her to train during the summer and run her mileage, so she’s in a good shape to do workouts and prep for November 4, the state meet.”
Pankowicz will have a short break before her next major competition. She’s scheduled to compete on Saturday in the Championship Race of the HOKA/Marathon Sports Ocean State Invitational at Goddard State Memorial Park.
“She’s been training daily with our top two boys(John and Josh Maynard),” Bouthillier said. “That gives her all the extra push and motivation she needs during the week. We are looking at running her at Ocean State and maybe the Catholic Memorial meet in Boston in mid October.”
In the team competition, two-time defending champion East Greenwich fell just three points from making it a three-peat. Host Bishop Feehan claimed the crown with 61 points. The Avengers scored 63 for their runner-up finish. Prout was fifth with 103 points. Coventry was sixth with 133 points.
Ella Maybaum (fifth, 20:37) and Alicia Chen (11th, 21:21.5) were the top finishers for East Greenwich. Prout’s Sophia Abbott was sixth overall in 20:57.5.
The Avengers’ Luke Allen was second overall in the boys’ varsity race. The EG junior was timed in 16:52.2. Fellow classmate Brody Fahys was seventh (17:19.3). Toll Gate’s John (17:35.5) and Joshua (17:35.6) Maynard were 10th and 11th, respectively. The race was won by Boston Latin’s Bilal Elhaji, who clocked 16:45.5.
East Greenwich swept the individual titles in the Freshmen 3K races with Brody Tetreault (10:53.8) and Olive Willis (12:28.0) taking the crowns.