North Kingstown High School fall sports wrap-up
There will be a few more banners to hang in the already-crowded North Kingstown High School gymnasium this year. The fall sports teams kicked off what is shaping up to be a benchmark year for the Skippers, sending seven of eight teams to the playoffs and bringing home three state championships. “It was a tremendous start for a very successful program, and it really got us off on the right foot,” Aaron Thomas, NKHS’s athletic director, said.
Jamestown athletes Owen White and Gary Largess, team cocaptains, helped lead the way for the boys’ cross-country team, who won their first state title since 1990. The team went 10-0 and beat powerhouse Bishop Hendricken to win the state championship. “I think our best moment this year was our performance at the Manhattans. The kids really started to believe that they could really make a run for it this year,” Paul Tetreault, boys’ head coach explained. “We started out the season really wanting to accomplish something different this year and we did.” The team also placed eighth in the New England region.
Along with White and Largess, juniors Nate Wigton and Drew Matley and freshman James Stewart rounded out the Jamestown presence on the team. “Nate is one of the toughest kids I have ever coached,” Tetreault said. “If he was close at the end of a race, I could see the determination in his face and knew that he would be there. He was definitely a significant part of the team.” Tetreault also noted that with Wigton being the number three runner on the team this year, he will definitely step up next year and fill the hole left by the four departing seniors.
Tetreault coached girls’ head coach, Keven O’Neil in high school and the two still work together to make both cross-country teams successful. The boys and girls train together and attend a week-long camp together in August. “We leave here as 40 individuals and come back as a team,” Tetreault said.
The girls’ cross-country team also ran home with a state championship, making it the first time in NK history that a boys’ and girls’ team have won the championship in the same season. Not content to rest on their accomplishment, they went on to place second in the New England Championship race. These two events, combined with strong finishes at the Great American Race in Alabama and the Brown Invitational, earned the team a national ranking this year. “I know we placed sixth in the region,” O’Neil explained. “The top 50 teams in the U.S. should be coming out soon and I think that we have a good shot at it. We were definitely the strongest region, so we should be up there.”
Team captain Caitlin Crawford, who lives in Jamestown, practiced her early running skills on the Lawn school cross-country team. Crawford has had four top 10 state meet finishes in her high school career. “She is a great athlete and an even better kid,” O’Neil said. “She works so well, for herself, for the other kids on the team.”
The team had held the state title for five years before losing it to Coventry in 2005. Their efforts to regain their title this year helped inspire the boys team in their quest. “We had finished second in the state a few times and had to take that bus ride home with the girls being the state champions. They saw what the girls had and wanted a piece of it themselves,” Tetreault said. “This year the bus ride home was just incredible with both of us being the champions. We even got a fire engine escort from the city line.”
Defending volleyball state champions East Providence thought the perfect retirement present for their coach would be a sixth straight championship, but North Kingstown fought hard to make sure that did not happen. The Skippers took the championship match into the fifth and final game and came away with a victory over the Townies and their first state championship since 1998.
The team finished the season 18-1, won the Marine World and Koch Eye tournaments, but was still the underdog going into the championship game. “We had a great crowd from North Kingstown and a big crowd from EP. Their coach was a legend and everyone wanted to see this game. I told our girls, you are now the underdog. You can go out and play and not be nervous,” Brian Garrepy, head coach, explained.
Even so, Garrepy did not start to relax until the team was up 13-6 in the final game of the championship. “We had game point three or four times in one game and lost 24-20. That was a big blow,” he said. “But when we went up 13- 6 in the last game, I thought, we have this.”
Leading the team with 189 kills was Jamestown athlete Sam Andreozzi, a junior. “She was our strongest hitter and was a novote player of the year,” Garrepy enthused. “It was well-deserved. She just has every aspect of the game in her toolbox.” Andreozzi also took home first team All-State and Most Valuable Player honors.
“I have never had a more coach-able team. There was not a moment in the classroom or on the court that they didn’t give 100 percent. It truly was a great experience,” Garrepy concluded.
Colleen Bailey, JV player and only other Jamestown representative on the team, sums up one of the great moments for the team this year. “The bus ride home after varsity beat LaSalle was great. We were singing and dancing and having a great time. It was a lot of fun,” she said.
The team will graduate only three seniors this year, so the team will be looking to defend their championship next year with the majority of their team in tact.
Field Hockey Head Coach Julie McGuire certainly feels at home when she watches her team. Not only does McGuire hail from Jamestown, but half of her team does as well.
Islander Megan Greene was the high scorer, 9 goals and 2 assists, on the team that finished 11- 4-1. Greene was also selected to the Rhode Island Field Hockey Coaches Association All-Rookie Team. This award is given to one member of every varsity team, to an up and coming player, a player to watch.
One of the team’s losses and their sole tie came at the hands of East Greenwich. That combined with a win-loss split against Lincoln seeded the Skippers fourth in the division and matched them up against Barrington in the semi-fi- nals of the playoffs.
“Our best moment this season was also bittersweet,” McGuire explained. “We took an undefeated
Barrington into triple overtime and no team in the state had even taken them into overtime.”
Although the Skippers lost that game, McGuire is positive about the season. “We really had a great group of girls this season. They did well, really well,” she said.
The varsity team also includes Jamestowners Haley Barber, Tallie Pruell, Tory Dolce, and swing player, Rory Kirby. Junior Varsity athletes included Cate Brennan, Meaghan Farrelly, Lizzy Gooding, Hannah Farrelly, and Danielle Perez.
McGuire is sure that with two juniors, two sophomores, and six freshman, the Jamestown presence is going to play a strong role for the team next year.
North Kingstown had held the state title for three years between 2002-2004 before relinquishing it to Barrington two years ago. Barrington will graduate 10 seniors this year, but McGuire will keep the majority of her talent and hope to make a run at the title again next year. “Out of 37 total players on varsity and JV, 29 of them are ninth and tenth graders,” McGuire said. Just how strong is her talent pool? The ninth and tenth graders won their tournament this year.