CUMBERLAND â€“ Although it often seems it, Kaylnn K.K. Pitts doesnâ€™t always win every time that she competes in track & field.
There are also days like Saturdayâ€™s Cumberland Invitational where the versatile sophomore from Woonsocket High still manages to grab some headlines when sheâ€™s not the first one in the results.
On a blustery cold day at Tucker Field, Pitts gave herself some added confidence for the season with couple of outstanding runner-up placements in the first state meet qualifier of the spring. The gifted Villa Novan finished second behind indoor state titlist and record-holder Dakota Dailey-Harris of La Salle Academy in the high jump by matching her personal best with a fine, early-season leap of 5 feet, 3 inches. Pitts then sizzled on the track where she uncorked a school record of 26.6 seconds for another second in a very-talented 200-meter race.
â€śIt was a really good day for K.K.,â€ť said WHS girlsâ€™ coach Dan Richard. â€śShe set a school record in the 200, tied her best in the high jump and ran a good anchor on the (sixth-place) 4x100 relay. She had a really good day, and not under great conditions.â€ť
Pitts, the defending state champion in the high jump, was competing for the first time against Dailey-Harris since the indoor meet when the La Salle junior broke a more than decade-long state and interscholastic league record with a winning height of 5-7.
Dailey-Harris tied for third at the 2010 outdoor championships.
â€śI was actually a little nervous because I know that she is wicked good,â€ť Pitts said. â€śShe has improved a lot since outdoor last year. I just came in to hopefully do my best, and second was it.â€ť
Dailey-Harris won yesterdayâ€™s event on fewer misses, also clearing 5-3. Pitts cleared her height on her last attempt. Ponaganset junior Catherine Dominick was third at 4-11, while her Chieftain teammate and sophomore Madison Shea placed sixth at 4-7.
â€śI fixed my steps because my steps were a little off and I just went faster on the turn,â€ť said Pitts, making reference to her 5-3 effort. â€śI have never gotten 5-3 this early before. To hit 5-3 in my third week makes me feel like I can get at least 5-5 by the state meet.â€ť
â€śShe looked really good today, and to be honest we havenâ€™t really had the weather to go out there and get a lot of practice,â€ť Richard said. â€śWe are really pleased with that, and she had a really good attempt at 5-5. She just tipped it with her shoulders a little bit. Other than that, she looks really good.â€ť
Pitts, who this past Monday set a school mark of 35-5 Â˝ in the triple jump at a league meet with Cumberland and Central Falls, dipped under 27 seconds for the first time in her young career in the 200.
East Greenwich junior Jaimee Dorsey, a second-place finisher in the 55 dash at the indoor states, copped the event with a splendid 25.9 clocking. She tied the meet record of 25.7 in her preliminary heat.
Pitts held off a strong field for second that included Barrington sophomore Teondra Silva (third, 26.7) and the Ramsâ€™ Dailey-Harris (fourth, 26.9). Central Falls junior Anjelique Cooley was fifth in 27.2.
â€śIt was a very fast heat,â€ť Pitts confessed. â€śI have definitely gotten faster since last year in the 200, and actually I donâ€™t even like to run the 200. Knowing that I made it to the finals, I knew I had to step it up because there were some fast girls.â€ť
Pittsâ€™ strategy was to take it out comfortably at the start.
â€śI usually like to go a little slow on my (last) turn to know where everyone is at,â€ť she said, â€śand I pick it up a notch when I hit the straightaway.â€ť
â€śShe didnâ€™t get out that great,â€ť Richard admitted. â€śShe really poured it on that last straightaway.â€ť
The area had two athletes achieve gold in the meet. Smithfield sophomore Angela Ragosta won the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.5. East Providence senior Nichole Haar earned runner-up honors with a 16.3 clocking. Central Falls senior and multiple state champion Aleide Fernandes was an easy winner in the discus with a toss of 127-1. Katya Neves of Hope was a distance second at 91-5.
Woonsocket junior Justyna Pietrus ran a solid time of 50.90 to place third in the 300 intermediate hurdles. She also ran a leg on the sixth-place 4x100 squad that tied Ponaganset with a time of 53.50, less than a second from the winning effort of 52.60 posted by Barrington.
Smithfield sophomore Samantha Whittaker had a PB in the pole vault, finishing second at 8-0, the same height achieved by Lincoln sophomore and third-place finisher Taylor Flaxington.
La Salle captured the team plaque among the 25 schools that competed in the invitational, defeating second-place Barrington, 81-67. Smithfield finished eighth with 28 points, while Woonsocket took ninth with 24 Â˝ points.
Smithfield and Woonsocket will battle each other again in a Northern Division showdown on Monday afternoon at the Sentinelsâ€™ track facility. The meet will more than likely determine the dual-meet champion.
The Villa Novans are currently 6-0 in the league, while Smithfield stands at 6-1. The Sentinelsâ€™ lone loss came to Central Falls (tied for third with Cumberland at 5-2) back on April 11.
â€śI think itâ€™s going to be a heck of a meet on Monday,â€ť Richard said. â€śI still think they are the top team in the league. When they got beat by Central Falls I donâ€™t think they had their whole team there. If they have their whole team and theyâ€™re ready to go, they are going to be tough to beat. I am very leery of their talent.â€ť
At Tucker Field
Team standings -1. La Salle Academy, 81; 2. Barrington, 67; 3. Toll Gate, 51; 8. Smithfield, 28; 9. Woonsocket, 24.5; 12. Central Falls, 23; 14. East Providence, 17.5; 16. Ponaganset, 9.5; 17. Lincoln, 9; 18. Tie, Hope, West Warwick, Tolman, 8; 24. Cumberland, 3; 25. Burrillville, 2.
Top local finishers
100 â€“ 6. Darian Dailey, EP, 13.2
200 â€“ 2. Kaylnn Pitts, W, 26.6; 5. Anjelique Cooley, CF, 27.2
400 â€“ 5. Julie Keedy, P, 1:03.0; 6. Sierra Cunningham, EP, 1:04.10
100HH â€“ 1. Angela Ragosta, S, 15.5; 2. Nichole Haar, EP, 16.3
300IH â€“ 3. Justyna Pietrus, W, 50.9
4x100 â€“ 4. Tie, Lincoln, Pilgrim, 53.4; 6. Tie, Ponaganset, Woonsocket, 53.5
4x800 â€“ 5.. Burrillville, 11:35.8
HJ â€“ 2. Kaylnn Pitts, W, 5-3; 3. Catherine Dominick, P, 4-11; 6. Madison Shea, P, 4-7
PV â€“ 2. Samantha Whitaker, P, 8-0; 3. Taylor Flaxington, L, 8-0; 4. Tie, Sarah Beatrice, LaS, Sienna Viette, C, 7-6
LJ â€“ 6. Latoya Dythe, W, 14-4 Â˝
TJ â€“ 2. Darian Dailey, EP, 35-7; 3. Cooley, CF, 33-8 ÂĽ; 6. Samantha Plante, W, 32-3
Discus â€“ 1. Aleide Fernandes, CF, 127-1
Hammer â€“ 4. Nicole Johnson, CF, 128-10; 6. Jennifer Cabral, CF, 119-5
Javelin â€“ 2. Cassandra Gustafson, T, 101-9; 3. Mary Catherine Shields, S, 100-5; 4. Kiley Fair, S, 100-2