What A Weekend For RI At Nike and New Balance!

With the New Balance Nationals (NBN), Nike Indoor Nationals (NIN) and the NCAA Division 1 Indoor Championships taking place, track & field enthusiasts like us were in their glory this past weekend.

With the three meets on the docket, it also creates a ginormous tasks to try and sift through all the results and find the top performances from our local athletes. We’re going to do our best to provide a justifiable wrap-up of all the great happenings that occurred during four days of some exciting competition here in Boston with New Balance and and down in New York City with Nike.

Next up for a few of our diehards is the adidas Nationals in Virginia. Yes, there is three national high school competitions held on the east coast each winter. That’s a conversation for another day.


Let’s begin with the NIKE INDOOR NATIONALS at The Armory. Why? The answer is simple. That’s where we had our top performance of the two HS meets and a near victory in the shortest event on the track. How close was it? West Warwick’s Lisa Raye, the recipient of that near victory, was originally declared the winner in the 60-meter dash. Unfortunately, after celebrating her apparent triumph and first national title, it was taken away after further review had Avery Lewis of Friends Central (PA) the winner by four thousandths of a second. Both were timed in 7.31 seconds. For Raye, who effort broke her own state record of 7.39, set last month at the Millrose Games. Not too much separated Raye and eventual victor, Elise Cooper of McDonogh (MD), in the 200m dash, too. Copper edged the Wizards’ sophomore with her time of 23.49 to Raye’s – you guessed it – second state mark of the meet, a time of 23.53. She broke her own record of 23.64 from the semifinals, a mark that bested the previous mark of 24.07 by former Hope great Quashira McIntosh in 2015. Did you follow all of that? Also competing in the two Championship events was Xenia Raye. The West Warwick junior was just ahead of friendly rival, Cranston West senior Ailani Sutherland, in the 60m with the talented sprinters clocking times of 7.77 and 7.78, respectively. In the elite race, Xenia also blasted a best of 24.65 in the 200m to place 21st against the nation’s best.

How about Chariho’s Erin vonHousen? Following a strong cross-country season where she was second overall at the State Meet, vonHousen manufactured an equally-successful season on the indoor surface, one that included a victory in the 3,000m at the states. The Charger senior couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish off her winter campaign. At Nike, she competed in three events and she finished with a trio of PRs in the Championship events. VonHousen was 21st overall in the two mile (10:43.49). She also placed 24th in the 800m (2:14.94) and 11th in the mile (4:53.60). Her time in the mile was a nearly five-second best and ranks No. 6 all-time in the state!

We can’t forget the weight-throwers, who often make an impact on the national stage. In the girls’ competition, Coventry’s MIa Hoskins moved to No. 2 in the state with a PR of 49 feet, 0.25 inches to place eighth. No doubt, Hoskins had momentum on her side. In her last three competitions, she finished second at the Class A, State and New England championship meets. Classical’s Susan Adekunle (tenth, 48-0.6.25), Ponaganset’s GIanna DeCesare (12th, 47-11.25) and Toll Gate’s Vanessa Jones (15th, 47-0.75) were also among the top finishers. Woonsocket’s Shamrock Thoun (tenth, 66-3), Barrington’s Joseph Adams (13th, 65-4) and Exeter/West Greenwich’s Owen Spira (14th, 64-0.25) made the top 15 for boys.

Moving on to the Emerging Elite events, Cranston West took over the No. 1 position in the girls’ 4x200m. The quartet of Sutherland, Quiana Pezza, Julia Saccoccio and Stalia Biosse combined for a superb 1:45.43 clocking. Sutherland also raced to a time of 25.44 in the EE 200m. La Salle’s Alexis Caggiano had bests of 25.50 in the EE 200m and 58.93 in the EE 400m.

Pezza leaped 36-2 to place eighth in the EE Triple Jump. In the EE Weight Throw, Cumberland’s Brynn Patterson finished tenth overall at 40-6.

Chariho’s Elias Sposato went sub-51 in the EE 400m, crossing the line in 50.92. In the EE 800m, Mount St. Charles’ Ethan Fadden was 24th in the 800m at 2:02.88. Fadden also ran 9:52.44 for the two mile.


NEW BALANCE NATIONALS at the Reggie Lewis Center (Friday and Saturday) and the TRACK at new balance (Sunday)

On the final day of competition, we had our only two All-Americans in this meet. Those distinctions belonged to the Villa Novas’ Thoun and Barrington’s Joseph Adams in the 25-pound weight. Thoun became our third thrower to exceed 69 feet this year by placing fifth overall with a distance of 69-1.25. Adams was just about a foot behind with a PR of 68-0.5. Behind the duo were four more Rhode Islanders – Hendricken’s Derrick Goll (seventh, 68-0.50), Lincoln’s Tyler Durang (eighth, 66-9.75), Woonsocket’s Adam Beaudry (ninth, 65-6.25) and Henricken’s Ethan Charnley (tenth, 64-9.75).

The best among the girls in the weight throw was Woonsocket’s Adelaide Caron. The Novan junior was eighth with a heave of 49-9. The Titans’ Jones was 11th at 47-8. Classical’s Gifty Bediako (12th, 47-7.75), Hoskins (15th, 46-11.75) and Woonsocket’s Isabella Piette (16th, 46.8.75) also fared well.

In the Pentathlon, South Kingstown’s versatile senior Sierra Thompson broke her own state record with 3,375 points. Thompson had all-time best in three events, the shot (31-2), 60m hurdles (9.19) and the 800m (2:28.68).

Fresh off his sixth-place finish in the 1,000m at the New England’s where he had a four-second PR of 2:31.23, Moses Brown’s Eli Ziegler was at his best again in the 800m where he ran 1:56.84 on the banked oval.

Narragansett’s Cole Francis established a new school record in the two mile where he was timed in 9:23.44.

Just how talented was the Championship 4x400m? Take a look at this. In a somewhat physical race, at least in their heat, the La Salle boys broke the school record with a time of 3:24.75. That effort placed them second in their heat and 29th overall. Holy Cow? An average of 51 seconds by each leg and the Rams just made the top 30. Classical was 44th overall in a respectable 3:28.50. The Rams improved their state best in the 4x200m with a time of 1:30.92 good for 25th overall.

Barrington was ninth in the shuttle hurdle relay with a time of 31.11.

In the 5,000m, Portsmouth’s Sean Gray was part of historic day in the 5K where Daniel Simmons of American Fork (AK) ran a ridiculous 13:38.86, a national record by 17 seconds! Gray ran his best for the 3.1-mile distance, averaging sub-5 with a time of 15:16.20, an effort that placed him 35th overall.

The Cumberland girls broke the school record in the 4xMile, placing 17th with a combined time of 21:21.93. In the boys’ race, Cumberland was 41st at 10:44.68. St. Ray’s Rory Sullivan, who anchored her team to a 26th-place finish in the DMR (state-leading, 12:28.73) a day earlier, ran a 5:04.60 mile on Sunday.

Classical ran the fastest time in the state in the boys’ SMR with 3:38.14 on the digital clock.


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