For about nine hours on Saturday, athletes and schools from throughout the state will battling for individual and team glory at the annual RIIL Class Championships at the PCTA field house. Below we preview the Class C and Small School championship meets.
CLASS C CHAMPIONSHIPS
Day/Time: Saturday at 3 p.m.
Teams: Blackstone Valley Prep, Burrillville, East Greenwich, Exeter/West Greenwich, Juanita Sanchez, Middletown, Moses Brown, Mount St. Charles, Narragansett, North Smithfield, Providence Country Day, Prout, Rogers, Scituate, South Kingstown, St. Raphael Academy, Tiverton, Westerly
Last Year’s results: Saint Raphael Academy won its third straight title and fourth in the last five years with a 135-75 decision against East Greenwich. Moses Brown was third with 70 points.
Athletes/Events To Watch: The 600m matches up teammates Noah Roberts and Robbie Wade, who also happen to be among two of the state’s top runners in this event, ranked No. 3 and No. 4. Roberts has a best of 1:24.80, while Wade is right behind at 1:24.88, a time he ran to win the Southern Division Championships earlier this week. No doubt the Bulldog tandem will be working together to lower their times even more. At the very least, with two equal talents on the line a 1:23 is certainly possible. The Bulldogs could have a 1-2-3 sweep. The third seed also hails from Westerly with John Gingeralla occupying that spot with his time of 1:27.10, more than two seconds ahead of the next seed…Look for an intense battle in the 1,500m with a time close to four minutes. Narragansett’s Cole Francis is the No. 1 seed with a best of 4:05.48. At No. 2 is Moses Brown’s Eli Ziegler with a PR of 4:07.53. Both will be fresh when they toe the line. Francis looked awfully strong in winning the 1,000m in 2:36 earlier this week at the divisionals. The Mariner senior told us after his win in the 1K that he’s taking a well-calculated approach to his season, and avoiding over-racing to excel at the State Meet (and beyond). He’ll be in this race to not only win it, but run fast. Don’t be surprised if he breaks four minutes on Saturday. Ziegler is certainly a strong runner that can take Francis out of his comfort zone. The Quaker senior is having his best season on the track with bests of 8:56 for the 3K and 2:35 for the 1,000m…Barrington has the top two hurdlers in the state with Ethan Knight and Bobby Winds. There’s no doubt that North Smithfield’s Aidan Bienvenue wouldn’t mind breaking up that party. He’s ranked No. 3 in the 55m hurdles and the top seed in this race on Saturday with a best of 7.83. Beinvenue has been consistently in that 7.8-7.9 range all season long. A time around 7.6 would certainly put him in the conversation for the states in a two weeks… Like he did earlier this week in his team’s victory at the Northern Division Championships, St. Raphael’s JJ Rocha will be running three events this weekend to accumulate points in his team’s quest for its fifth straight title. The first of those races should be the best. Rocha’s the No. 1 seed in the 3,000m with a time of 9:07.62. Behind him are two more runners than can make it happen on Saturday – East Greenwich’s Luke Allen (9:11.23) and Mount St. Charles’ Ethan Fadden (9:12.72). The next seed is at 9:54. This will be a three-person race from the beginning. Expect a close race, a very close one at the end… The high jump features Middletown’s Cam Miller, who matched his best of 6-5 to take the Suburban Division Championships on Monday, currently No. 2 in the state behind Central’s Demetrius Outland…Don’t ignore the shot put circle where Rogers’ Kaden Thomas will be focused on maintaining his No. 1 status. He leads the state with a PR of 52-11.
Team Outlook: On paper, St. Ray’s is favored to win its fifth straight crown on Saturday. The Saints can score more than 20 points each in the relays and the distance, sprints and jumping events. Moses Brown appears to be the biggest threat to the Saints. The Quakers are also strong in those events, just not as much as their rival. It all depends who shows up this weekend.
SMALL SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Day/Time: Saturday at 3 p.m.
Teams: Bay View, Blackstone Valley Prep, Burrillville, Central Falls, Exeter/West Greenwich, Juanita Sanchez, Lincoln School, Middletown, Moses Brown, Mount St. Charles, Narragansett, North Smithfield, Providence Country Day, Prout, Rogers, Scituate, St. Raphael Academy
Last Year’s Results: Moses Brown made it back-to-back crowns by defeating second-place East Greenwich, 94-69. Narragansett was third overall with 59 points.
Athletes/Events To Watch: Just like she did in guiding St. Ray’s to the Dwyer Division title last Saturday, Rory Sullivan is entered in the 3,000m, 1,500m and the 1,000m. Just like she did at divisionals, Sullivan will run just enough to win with no focus on the digital clock at the end. Her biggest challenge will come in the 1,500m where she’s matched up with the fresh legs of Mount St. Charles’ Emmy Belvin, a gritty competitor. Sullivan has a best this season of 4:44.69, while Belvin has done 4:53.15. The SRA senior, who has a best of 10:00 for the 3K, will need to run at least 10:30, maybe faster, to win the 3K with Narragansett’s Madeline O’Neill in the field. To beat Belvin, we’re guessing she might have to be under 4:50 against the Mount senior, who has an all-time best of 4:45.89 from last year’s State Meet where she was third overall. The two will be back at it again in the 1K where Sullivan is the top seed with a time of 3:00.11 and Belvin is at No. 2 with a 3:03.96 effort this season…The 600m could be a down-to-the-wire affair with our top two seeds – Narragansett’s Katrina Lohmann (1:41.0) and Moses Brown’s Skyler Maxwell (1:41.57)…Middletown will be looking to sweep the high jumps in the final meet of the day. Leading the way in the girls’ competition is our state-leader from the start of the season, junior Katelyn Cruikshank. The Islanders junior comes in with a PR of 5-5, seven inches higher than the next seed.
Team Outlook: The Saints appear primed to take home the hardware on Saturday with two-time defending titlist Moses Brown and Narragansett fighting for the runner-up spot. The difference could come in the distance events where SRA has the ability to score 50-plus points.