Woonsocket's Jalen Evans, right, leads a strong sprinting corps but the Villa Novans aren't scoring many team points this season in the middle-distance races.
eorge Briggs has been coaching track & field athletes for a long time and certainly knows that during the indoor season having depth is of the utmost importance.
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This year, with the addition of the long jump, there are 13 events. It may seem like a lot, but if you are weak in a particular area that can create problems in pulling out a positive outcome against a formidable opponent.
Briggs and his Villa Novans found that out the hard way in a Northern Division meet with neighboring rival Lincoln High last week.
Despite a disqualification from its speedy 4x200-meter relay team and one of its shot-putters, Woonsocket was a comfortable 20-plus points ahead of the Lions prior to the middle and long distance events â the Villa Novansâ Achilles Heel this winter. Lincoln (4-0) took advantage of that weakness with its stronger distance runners and eked out a narrow 55-54 decision.
In the 600 to the 3,000, the Lions outscored the Novans, 33-3.
âLincolnâs a good team,â Briggs said. âWe expected a close meet, but that was tough. We just have a strange team this year. We are strong in the sprints, jumps, relays and weights but we are just young and inexperienced in the distance events.â
Woonsocket (3-1) will try and rebound from that setback on Monday, Martin Luther King Day, when its faces an always-tough Cumberland squad as well as Ponaganset in a rare early-afternoon encounter at the Providence Athletic Facility, beginning at 12:30. The Clippers (4-0) are also heavy in the distance events.
âIt should be a close meet,â Briggs said. âIt should be very interesting. Iâd like to think we could be competitive with Cumberland. They have really had their way with us over the years. We hope to have a good meet.â
Other important meets that are coming up within the next few weeks are the divisional championships on Feb. 2-3 (girls) and Feb. 4 (boys), the class meets on Feb. 12 (girls) and Feb. 10-11 (boys) and the state championships on Feb. 19.
At the prestigious Dartmouth Relays this past weekend, the area produced a few noteworthy performances inside the Leverone Fieldhouse.
The highlight was a school-record setting performance by Blackstone-Millville Regionalâs Brett Buskey. Buskey set his mark by winning the 55-meter dash with an outstanding time of 6.58 seconds. Although he wasnât able to crack the top six, the Chargersâ Chris Coffin also etched his name in the record books with his seventh-place showing in the 55 hurdles, where he crossed the line in 7.98.
Woonsocket sophomore Kaylnn Pitts, currently tied for the No. 1 spot in the high jump, came just shy of placing in the long jump at Dartmouth. She was seventh in the talented field with a distance of 16-6 Â˝.
Lincoln was 12th overall in the 4x400 (4:25.54) and Woonsocket was eighth in the 4x200 (1:53.36) among other solid placements.
Rhode Island College senior Kyle Duguay, a former Cumberland High standout, was named the Little East Conference Track Athlete of the Week. He earned that distinction based on his performances at the Southern Maine Invitational this past Saturday. In the meet, Duguay captured the 55 hurdles with a time of 6.72 and was third in the 200 at 23.46.
There are several star athletes from the past that still hold state records on the indoor surface.
Andrew Butler, a distance ace for St. Raphael Academy in the late 1980s where he racked up numerous all-state honors in various events, has the longest standing mark in the Blackstone Valley area. Butler still holds the mark in the 1,000 with his time of 2:28.97, set in 1989.
The late Robert Howard, a multiple all-stater at Shea in the early 1990s and a two-time U.S. Olympian in the triple jump, has the state record in his specialty with a leap of 49-11 that was achieved in 1993.
Smithfieldâs Kim Ezeama, who graduated last June, shares the triple jump record of 36-11 with Classicalâs Tolu Fayanjuola (2000) and La Salle Academyâs Britt Powers (2009). Ezeama tied the record last year.
East Providenceâs Eric Osei, who clocked 6.34 for the 55 dash in 2006, and Sheaâs Emmanuel Karngor, who was timed in 1:54.99 for the 800 in 2001, also have state records.
R.I. state indoor records
WT - 24.91 meters (81-8.75), Josh McCaughey, Hendricken 2000
SP - 19.03 (62-5.50), Charlie Ajootian, Classical 1965
HJ - 2.17 (7-1.50), Tim Walker, Rogers 1975
LJ - 7.34 (24-1), Innocent Jacob, Chariho 2010
TJ - 15.21 (49-11), Robert Howard, Shea 1993
PV - 4.80 (15.9), Brad Holtz, Barrington 2004
3000 - 8:27.21, Andrew Springer, Westerly 2009
Mile - 4:08.47, Springer 2009
1500 - 3:53.32 (Enr. mile) Springer 2009
1000 - 2:28.97, Andrew Butler, St. Raphael 1989
800 - 1:54.99, Emmanuel Karngor, Shea 2001
600 - 1:20.81, Karngor 2001
300 - 34.77, Matt Washington, Hope 2007
55m - 6.34, Eric Osei, E. Providence 2006
55mH - 7.41, âPeteââ Gbaa, Hope 2004
4x200 - 1:29.72, Hope 2007
4x400 - 3:24.81, Hope 2004
4x800 - 8:04.05, S. Kingstown 2009
SMR - 3:35.74, La Salle 2010
DMR - 10:16.79, Westerly 2009
WT - 18.94 meters (62-2), Vicky Flowers, Classical 2008
SP - 14.11 (46-3.75), Flowers 2008
HJ - 1.68 (5-6), Laura Berman, N.Kingstown (1998); Kate Rowinski, S.
Kingstown 2000); Felicia Terwilliger, W. Warwick(2008).
LJ - 5.87 (19-3.25), Pam Hughes, Hope 1985
TJ - 11.25 (36-11), Tolu Fayanjuola, Classical (2000); Britt Powers, La
Salle (2009);Kim Ezeama, Smithfield (2010).
PV - 3.66 (12-0), Jenna Poggi, Moses Brown 2009
3000 - 10:02.71, Jean Christensen, La Salle 2007
Mile - 4:53.02, Samantha Gawrych, Westerly 2004
1500 - 4:34.78, (Enr. mile), Gawrych 2003
1000 - 2:47.66, Gawrych 2006
800 - 2:08.46, Gawrych 2006
600 - 1:30.87, Gawrych 2006
300 - 40.23, Allison Fogerty, La Salle 2003
55m - 7.15, Pam Hughes, Hope 1985
55mH - 8.21, Mary Serdakowski, Chariho 2002
4x200 - 1:43.58, La Salle 2008
4x400 - 3:56.36, La Salle 2008
4x800 - 9:16.52, Westerly 2006
SMR - 4:00.84, Westerly 2005
DMR - 11:52.95, La Salle 2007