Skippers take home division championship, eye state title
For most of the season, the Southern Division Championship looked like it would be a lock for the North Kingstown boys’ indoor track team.
The team finished the regular dual-meet season undefeated with an 8-0 record, and was poised to run away with the division championship meet until the loss of a few key runners, including Jamestowner James Stewart, less than a week before the meet opened the door for the Chariho Chargers to make a run at the championship.
“Going into the meet, I still thought we could win by at least 10 points,” head coach Charlie Breagy said.
The Chargers jumped on the board early, taking second and third place in the 3,000-meter run. Chariho sophomore Mike Marcello edged N.K. sophomore Michael Coleman at the finish line by one-tenth of a second to take third place.
Things seemed to take a turn for the worse when the Skippers’ Troy Crawford, a favorite in the 55-meter dash, false started in the dash finals and took away a possible 10 points for North.
Islander Michael Spahr broke his own high jump record with a leap of 6 feet, 2 inches. Spahr won the event and could have chosen to raise the bar to try for another record at 6 feet, 3 inches, but with North needing every point, Breagy advised him to save the next step for another day.
“It was a close meet and we had to have Mike ready for the finals of the hurdles,” he said.
North gained back two points on the Chargers when Spahr finished first in the hurdles with a time of 7.6, four-tenths of a second ahead of second-place finisher Nick Dubee of Chariho.
Jamestowner Connor Downing finished fourth among the N.K. hurdle crew.
Senior Ken Cheston easily won the 600 meters with a time of 1:24.2, over a second ahead of John DiGangi of Westerly.
Even with the Spahr and Cheston wins, the Skippers were still down by more than 10 points going into the 1,000-meter run.
Running as if the meet rested on their shoulders – and in some ways, it did – were juniors Zach Seites-Rundlett and Matt Brunelle, and sophomore Montee Cawley.
Seites-Rundlett bested Chariho junior Ian Plume by two seconds to win the race with a time of 2:42.7, and Cawley and Brunelle finished in third and fifth places to gain 10 more points on the Chargers.
“I thought we were in trouble after the false start, but Zach came through and won the 1,000 meters and scored 10 points and made up the deficit for the team,” Breagy said.
The scoring in the 1,000 meters gave Breagy and the team hope that they could pull out the win.
“After the 1,000 meters, when we scored 18 points in that event, I knew we were going to win. Chariho had their top two runners in that race and we had a great result against them,” he said.
Crawford rebounded from the false start with a win in the 300 meters, taking the top spot with a time of 36.7 seconds.
Going into the final event, the 4 x 400 meter relay, North had a 92-80 lead over the Chargers, and knew they mathematically had won the meet. A sixth place finish by the Skippers in the relay gave them a 94-84 win over Chariho and the Southern Division Championship meet win.
“This is a great team and they dominated the dual meets. The guys all gave 100 percent at the championship meet and deserved the win,” Breagy said.
Looking forward to the state meet on Saturday, Breagy said Bishop Hendricken will be the team to beat, with N.K. aiming to knock off La Salle Academy for at least a second-place finish.
“We are good in all the relays. Spahr should win the hurdles. Kenny Cheston, in the 600 meters and Troy Crawford, in the 300 meters, both have a shot at winning,” he said.
Hendricken will be bringing a solid team to the table, including Jamestowner Andy Sakovits.
Sakovits won a dramatic 600 meters by edging out North Kingstown’s Kenny Cheston at the Class A Championship meet. With Cheston leading the entire race, Sakovits began to close with about 75 meters remaining and edged out the Skippers’ record-holder with a time of 1:24.6. Sakovits was also part of Hendricken’s winning 4 x 800 meter relay team.
Spahr continued his unbeaten streak at the class meet by capturing the 55-meter hurdles crown and first-team all-class honors.