Outdoor T&F Preview: Girls’ Distance Events

With so many variables, it’s never easy. But we’ll give it our best shot predicting who we feel will be some of our top track & field athletes this outdoor season. Here we feature the girls’ distance events, which includes the 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m.


The top five finishers from last year’s State Meet are gone to graduation, but don’t expect the competition to be thin. There’s plenty of talent that will fill the podium at this year’s meet. The top returnee is Chariho’s Erin vonHousen, who clocked an outdoor best of 2 minutes, 15.46 seconds at the New Balance Nationals. The Charger senior was three seconds faster than the No. 2 runner coming back this spring, Mount St. Charles’ senior Emmy Belvin, who was tenth at the New England’s with an all-time best of 2:18.47. We expect both runners to be among the leaders in this event. VonHousen, who ran an all-time best of 2:14.94 at the Nike Indoor Nationals last month, will more than likely have one, probably two races under her belt if she lines up for the two-lapper at the states. Belvin could begin her day at this event come championship time, much like she did during the indoor season when she captured the 600m. Cumberland’s Kiley DeFusco (2:19.73 best), St. Raphael’s Rory Sullivan (2:20.42), Pilgrim’s Keaney Bayha and Toll Gate’s Alison Pankowicz, the indoor 1K champion, are a few others we’re predicting will make some noise in this event.


Only two runners broke 4:40 in this event last spring. We expect it will be slightly different this season with at least four under the milestone. Perhaps even a sub 4:30 once the championship season rolls around. The Chargers’ vonHousen is the runner we believe has a chance to go under 4:30. She’s coming off an indoor season where she posted bests for the 800m, 1K, 1,500m, mile, 3K and two mile. In the 1,500m, the Chariho standout raced to a 4:34.79 for the 1,500m, a time she recorded en route to her mile PR of 4:53.60 at the Nike Indoor Nationals. Von Housen could be close to that mark in a couple of weeks when she lines up with some of the nation’s best milers at the Penn Relays Carnival. The Saints’ Sullivan, the indoor 1,500m titlist and the a bronze medalist at the outdoor states in 2023, should be in the mid 4:30 range. The Furman commit ran 4:39.31 to claim her crown this winter and will be looking to finish her outstanding career with some big-time PRs on the outdoor surface, including this race. Bayha, who was a runner-up at the indoor states with a best of 4:42.14, and Pankowicz, who ran 4:41.69 to place fourth at the outdoor states last year, are a couple more that have the potential to break 4:40 with the right kind of race. Among other top runners in this event are DeFusco, Belvin and La Salle freshman Alyssa Parenteau.


The favorite here is von Housen, who will be looking to win her third straight 3K title after following up last year’s victory with an indoor crown this past winter. The Charger standout ran a best of 10:00.65 to capture the 3K crown at the Yale Track Classic. No doubt a sub-10 will be on her mind in the final season of her high school career. The state record of 9:44.72 by former Classical great Maddy Berkson in 2014 may be out of reach, but we’re not ruling out a low 9:50 effort if the opportunity arises. The Clippers’ DeFusco, who was third last spring and was a runner-up to vonHousen this past indoor season, is another top 3K runner. She has an all-time PR of 10:15.24 from the indoor states and always seems to run her best during championship time. Sullivan has the potential to go low 10 minutes in this event with an all-out effort. The SRA senior, who was our state cross-country champion, often competes in multiple events in a given meet to garner points for her team and sacrifices posting a PR. The Patriots’ Bayha, North Kingstown frosh Abbie Tighe, Classical’s Grace Doyle and Narragansett’s Madeleine O’Neill are a few others to keep an eye on this season.

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