Brennan leads girls' indoor track team to a fast start
The season is looking bright for the North Kingstown High School girls' track team. The team won their first dual meet against Ponaganset High School on Monday night at CCRI in Lincoln. Although North won by default because Ponaganset did not have a team present, the Skippers competed unofficially against other teams and runners times were recorded and can be used as state meet qualifying times.
In the distance events, North will once again be depending on Jamestown resident Erin Brennan. In Monday's 1500 meters, North swept the event as Brennan took first place with a time of 5:17.8, more than 15 seconds ahead of the second and third place runners Kara Proctor and Kelsey Evans. Brennan also won the 1000 meters with a time of 3:28 with Skippers Lauren Proctor and Jackie Owensby taking second and third, respectively. According to Head Coach Jen Chabot, "Erin is one of our top distance runners and ran phenomenal races at the meet. She was pretty much running by herself and if she had some competition she probably would have run even faster." Chabot praised Brennan and called her "a dedicated, hard worker."
Islander Caitlin Downing took second place in the 45-meter hurdles. Traditionally a middle distance runner, Downing practices the hurdles during the indoor season for her specialty, which is the outdoor 300-meter hurdles. "She is a strong middle distance runner. She ran solid races on Monday night and the hurdles were more training for outdoor," according to Chabot.
"For my first meet this season, I think I gave a good performance. I like that I can run the 45 hurdles during indoor, help my team, and make myself stronger for my best outdoor event," Downing said.
Once again it was a North sweep in the 300 meters with Meg Scully taking first, Downing second, and Renee Dubuc in third. Downing, along with Dubuc, Alexa Mazur, and Chelsea Tetreault made up the 4 x 400 relay team, which took first place with a time of 4:41.70.
Other highlights of the meet included the 3000 meters with Becky Morley, Katie Lynch and Monica Black taking the top three spots respectively. North won the 4 x 100 with Dubuc, Scully, Tetreault and Michelle Marguette. Middle distance runner Mazur took first in the 600 meters.
Jamestown resident Melissa Minto has been helping to coach the lady Skipper throwers. Minto held the school shot put record at North for quite a few years until it was broken last year by Allison Lofgren.
Chabot's team is young and the rest of the season looks promising. With 67 girls on the roster, 25 are freshman and Chabot does not cut runners from her team. "I have had freshman just starting off and by their senior year they are All- State. If I can have a kid running for me instead of watching TV at home, I'll take it. As long as they do the work and they are a good team player, I will keep them on," said Chabot.
After last year's fifth place finish at states, Chabot is looking to repeat or better their performance. "Last year we won the division and tied with Classcial in the class meet. Our goal is to go right back at them and win the division again. We have the depth even though we lost some key players to graduation last year. We are pretty wellrounded in all the events throwing, jumping, sprinting and distance, so maybe we can pull it off again," said Chabot. Downing echoed Chabot and said, "I feel like our team is more well-rounded this year. We are usually strong in distance, but this year we have good runners at every distance."
At this point Chabot is trying to keep the kids motivated because they practice outside depending on weather. She is happy with the group of runners on her team this season and said, "They are a great bunch of kids and there are some talented underclassmen who have a lot of potential in the upcoming year." Downing agrees and said, "Our team gets along so well. We are a good balance for each other."