NK outdoor season recap
North Kingstown High School’s spring sports season was capped by a state championship by the boys’ track and field squad – a title that came down to the last lap.
Jamestown’s Ben Stewart led the Skippers to the 2012 Rhode Island Interscholastic League crown, coach Charlie Breagy said. He was one of the legs on the 4x400-meter relay team that came in second place in the final event, catapulting the Skippers to the top of the standings.
Ben also won the 300-meter hurdles and took third-place honors in the 110-meter hurdles.
“It came down to the wire,” Breagy said. After 18 events, two teams were knotted up in first place. Westerly and Chariho had both accumulated 50 points in the meet. But four teams were still in the running. North Kingstown was a bit of a long shot going into the final event. The Skippers had collected 45 points, and with just one race left, the team stood in third place. And that wasn’t the whole story because another threat was hard on their heels coming from Bishop Hendricken, which stood in fourth place.
“We had to score six points more than the other teams to win it,” he said. It all came down to the last lap in the 4x400.
Breagy knew it could all turn around in a heartbeat, he said. He had seen the Skippers come from behind to win a state title in 2007.
“I’ll never forget it,” he said. Hendricken was ahead. It looked as if North Kingstown had lost, and then the entire meet was decided in the last 30 seconds by the athletes who ran the anchor leg in the relay.
“Four hours of competition came down to the last 30 seconds,” Breagy said, and the circumstances in 2012 mirrored events in 2007.
History all but repeated itself when the Skippers got the points they needed.
“It was just like the last time,” he said. At the start of the last leg, according to Breagy, Westerly was in second place. But on that last lap everything fell apart for Westerly – they fell from second to eighth place.
Meanwhile, Ben ran the anchor leg on the 4x400 relay, and that June 2 performance at Brown University by the relay team of Ben, Zach Emrich, Ryan Glantz and Demontee Cawley proved good enough to take the title. The Skippers finished with 53 points – three points better than runner-ups Westerly and Chariho, which tied for second with 50 points.
Breagy had high expectations for the squad at the start of the season and had been confident the team would make a run at the state title. Islanders Dan Gorelick, Sean Cooper and Jon Carney also helped the Skippers cause.
Dan and Jon will be juniors in the fall and will have two more years of eligibility. Sean is a junior, and Dan graduated in June. Jon is a long-distance runner, Sean competed in shot put and Dan entered the pole vault event.
The 2012 title is only the second in school history. The Skippers also went undefeated this year in division play.
“We had one of our best seasons yet,” Breagy said. “We had an unbeaten record in the division.” The North Kingstown track team went 9-0 in the southern division. Along with the state title, North Kingstown also won the southern division coaches’ meet and the Rick Schomp Invitational.
But there was one hiccup: It wasn’t quite a perfect season. In the class-A championships, North Kingstown ended up with a sixthplace finish. On an individual effort, Ben took first place in the 300-meter hurdles and second place in the 110-meter hurdles in the class-A event on May 19.
At the May 4 Schomp Invitational, North Kingstown came in first in the 4x800-meter relay and second in the 4x100-meter relay. Dan placed seventh in pole vault. Hayward Conor of North Kingstown was third. Ben was first in the 300-meter hurdles and second in the 110-meter hurdles. Zach Emrich placed first in the 400-meter dash.
While the varsity boys were dominating this season, the junior varsity track and field team battled to a fifth-place finish on May 30 at Bishop Hendricken. Sean Cooper placed seventh in the shot put. This year was his first time competing in the event. He played varsity football for the Skippers in the fall and was recruited for the track and field team. Sean is a junior and will have another year of eligibility.
Finally, the freshman Skippers wound up in fifth May 22 at the freshman states at Westerly High School.