Indoor track teams training for states in winter wonderland
According to Charles Breagy, the boys’ coach, the sprinters have been forced to train outdoors due to a change in school policy. Last year, the athletes could use the school corridors for practice, but that’s no longer allowed. The cold conditions have proved a challenge, especially for the sprinters, who are prone to injuries if they push themselves in cold temperatures.
But despite wind gusts and freezing temperatures, both the girls and boys have kept to the training regimen.
According to Jamestowner Sofia Greco-Byrne, 16, the girls’ team uses a couple of tricks to beat the conditions, such as wearing layers of clothing and warming up inside before they brave the elements.
But there is no question the lack of an indoor facility has put the track teams at a disadvantage, Breagy said. “It’s been a most difficult challenge without a proper environment for our sprinters,” he said.
According to Breagy, the athletes can’t work out when the track is covered with snow, and they risk pulling a muscle if they try to train in the cold. As a result, the Skippers can’t practice as much as some of their opponents like Classical, which has an indoor track.
“They can train all the time,” he said.
Despite the disadvantage, the boys’ indoor track team turned in a perfect season with a 9-0 record. The Skippers automatically qualified for the state meet.
The girls finished in third place in the Division I-Bayha League at 6-2, but were separated only by points from second-place Toll Gate. Jen Chabot is the coach.
The top performers on the girls’ team are bound for the state meet, according to Jane Headley of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League. Headley said she does not have the names of the qualifiers yet, but will have the schedule on the Thursday before the meet.
Peyton Wallace, 16, said Toll Gate is the team to beat. “They have a very strong team,” she said.
The Lady Skippers have almost 70 athletes on their three rosters: varsity, junior varsity and freshman. But only the top eight in each event will compete. Along with Peyton and Sofia, the islanders on the team are Holly Bobola, Rebecca Small, Kim Savage, Tiffany Coble and Emma Vogel. Ben Stewart and Carson Toppa, both juniors, represent Jamestown on the boys’ team.
Ben will run in the 55-meter hurdles at the states that will be held at the Providence Career and Technical Academy.
While the boys’ indoor team ranked first in the Division ISouthern League and won the coaches’ tournament, Breagy isn’t overly optimistic about the team’s chances going into the state championships.
“It’s going to be very difficult,” he said, adding that injury and sickness has crippled his team.
But Breagy said he will wait to see the results of the class championships Saturday before he assesses the Skippers’ prospects.
“We will try to do well in the individual events,” he said. The team may have a shot at the title, but Breagy said it will difficult to beat the other Southern League powerhouses – particularly Chariho and Coventry – as well as Bishop Hendricken, which has 200 athletes on the roster.
He expects the Skippers to be strong in the relay races, the 1,500-meter and 600-meter runs, the hurdles and possibly the long jump.
This is still a young team, with only two seniors on the roster, he said, and the top runners will be back next year. According to Breagy, Zach Emrich has been the standout this season, along with Dallin Smith. The Skippers also had the best group of high jumpers he can recall, with four athletes – Ben Lee, Joe Johnson, Kyle Sayer and Nick Barzaghi – all able to clear 5 feet, 8 inches.
“For Rhode Island, that is incredible,” he said. “It’s been a very exciting year.”
The boys’ freshman state championships were held Wednesday. Results were not available before press time. The varsity class meet is Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Providence Career and Technical Center. Breagy said the Skippers will not compete as a team at the meet, but will use the event to improve the position of the individual athletes going into the states.
The North Kingstown High girls’ track team placed sixth at the class meet on Feb. 2.
At the girls’ freshman states on Monday, La Salle dominated. The Rams finished with 60 points in first place followed by Toll Gate, East Greenwich and North Kingstown High.
The Skippers’ Bethany Nunnery was runner up in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:55.70. Her performance earned eight of North Kingstown’s 36 team points. Bethany accounted for another four points by finishing fourth in the 1,000-meter run. In the 600-meter run, Catherine Lenox chipped in four points by running a fourthplace time of 1:50.86, and added two points in the long jump. In the high jump, Lucia Bolibruch of North Kingstown scored four points for the Skippers with her 1.37-meter mark, the fourth best in the field.
The relay races netted North Kingstown 14 points. The team earned eighth points for running the second best time (10:44.22) behind La Salle in the 4x800-meter relay. In the 4x400 relay, the Skippers edged La Salle to take fourth place with a time of 4:35.51, good for four points. North Kingstown added two points to its total for finishing fifth with a time of 1:56.45 in the 4x200.
Jamestown’s Tiffany Coble, daughter of Peter Coble and Sheri Bolduc, came close to collecting some points when she placed seventh in the shot put with a hurl of 7.37 meters. She was 13th in the weight throw with a mark of 7.60 meters. Ashley Gray of North Kingstown was 13th in shot put with a mark of 6.74 meters.
With the girls’ JV state meet coming up, Sofia, daughter of John Greco and Liz Byrne, said she thinks the key will be staying healthy.
“There’s been a lot of sick going around,” she said.
“I think we all need to really work as a team and show really good sportsmanship,” added Tiffany.
Peyton, daughter of Ty and Denise Wallace, said the varsity team has a chance in the state meet.
“Everyone that runs distance here just needs to work together,” she said.
Holly, daughter of Sara and Steve Bobola, said the other secret to victory is eating pasta the night before the competition. Holly and Peyton had a successful state meet last season and went on to the regionals. Holly’s event is the 4x200 relay.
Kim Savage said the team should do well if everybody runs hard. Her event is the 600-meter run.
“It’s not really long,” she said, “but it’s long enough to be hard.”
This is Kim’s first year on a track team. Her family moved to Jamestown recently. She is the daughter of Tom and Suzanne Savage.