NK boys hoping to knock top seed Hendricken off pedestal
The Skippers have dominated the southern division for the past six years, but Hendricken has given them a challenge when it comes to the top spot in the state.
This year, boys head coach Charlie Breagy feels that his team may be the one standing alone at the top of the state rankings in June.
"This is the most well-rounded team that we have ever had," Breagy said. "Most teams that are strong in two areas can win division, but it is tough to beat a team that is strong in three or more areas."
Pole vault, weight throw, sprints and distance are all strong areas for the team this year, with hurdles and javelin being legitimate threats as well.
With 68 members, the team is one of the largest North Kingstown has ever had.
Breagy said that the team has grown 10- to 15- percent every year and with the number of talented, young athletes the team looks strong into the future.
The team proved they are entering the season in good form with a dual-meet victory in their first meet, defeating Coventry 107-42 and South Kingstown 100-50.
Junior Kevin Alexander, who the team has dubbed "Alexander the Great," because of his abilities, added another skill to his repertoire during the meet.
"Kevin has been slightly injured, so in our first meet he decided he wanted to throw the javelin just to be able to do something," the coach explained. "He went out and threw a 137 feet and won the event."
Alexander, once recovered, is expected to be a top contender in the hurdles along with Sam Paster.
Islander Nate Wigton, who was also part of the state championship cross-country team, is expected to give the team depth in the 800-, 1500- and 4 x 400 meter races. He ran the second leg of the 4 x 400 in the dual meet and helped the squad to a victory.
Wigton noted that he likes the team's chances this season, and he said it helps that a lot of the team has been running together all year.
"Because of cross country we are really tight already," the junior said. "A lot of guys have stepped up and done a really great job, so I think we will give Hendricken a run for their money."
Breagy also has his eye on Jamestown resident James Stewart to aid the team in the middle distances.
Senior Brandon Burns has been a dominant presence on the team since his freshman year, winning at least one state title every year. Although he cruised to a win in the 800-meters at the meet, Breagy said that he expects him to score points in the 1500- and 3000- me- ter distances.
NK is traditionally a distanceoriented team, but the sprint squad is looking strong under the direction of assistant coach Wilburn Logan.
"The sprint team is in a whole new dimension this year. Alex Birn, Chance Logan and Will Cawley will anchor that team and are going to give us some needed speed," Breagy said.
Chance Logan led the squad at the meet with first place finishes in the 4 x 100, 200-meter and 400- meter races.
Anchoring the weight throwing squad are Tim Daly, Ryan St. Onge, Brent Semple and Tom Briggs.
"Daly could win three of the four weight events; hammer, discus and shotput," Breagy said. "He has already started off quite strong with three wins in the dual meet."
Pole vaulter Teddy Coppa, last year's southern division champion, picked up where he left off, taking first place with a 12-foot vault.
"We had some injuries that hurt us at the end of the indoor season, but those guys are healing and we like what we see now. They put up good numbers at the meet and I only expect their times to go down once the weather gets warmer," Breagy said.
The coach has a hard time hiding his enthusiasm when talking about his team, but he knows that anything can happen during the season.
"We have a great team, but we have been in the position where we have been leading at the end of 12 events at states and didn't have the numbers at the end to win and ended up fourth. We are going to take it one meet at a time and see where we end up," Breagy concluded.
The Skippers will travel to Hendricken for the Injury Fund meet on Thursday, April 12, at 4 p.m.