WARWICK â Coming three weeks prior to the state meet, the Brown University Northeast Championships provides a perfect gage for coaches and athletes to determine if all the training is paying off for a possible peak performance at the early November meet.
For runners like Trevor Crawley, who are hoping to crack the top 10 at the states, the top-notch competition at the regional championships, held on a fast five-kilometer course at Goddard State Park, can also serve as an important confidence booster with a good performance.
Competing on a muddy course under windy conditions, Crawley came short of his secondary goal of breaking 16 minutes. But the Cumberland High junior still produced one of the fastest times recorded by a Clipper harrier at the Brown meet, placing an outstanding second overall in the Varsity 2 race with a career-best time of 16:02.
âI PRâd by like 26 seconds, so I canât complain,â Crawley said. âI felt really good. I wasnât sore at all. It went well.â
Crawley was comfortably in tenth place after the first half mile of the race. By the time he reached the mile mark, passed in 5:04, he already worked his way to second, about 10 seconds behind eventual winner Zach Ganshirt (15:44.7) of Walpole HS.
âI wasnât really sure what to expect because [Ganshirt] went out really fast,â Crawley said. âRight after the first mile, I noticed a lot of people were slowing down so I just started to pick them off and see how many I could get.â
Once he was nestled into second, the talented Clipper held strong the remainder of the way. He hit the second mile at 10:22 and despite feeling moderately fatigue with about 1,000 meters left, mustered enough energy to nearly dip under 16 minutes under less-than-desirable conditions.
âThe course was really muddy. The first mile and the last mile werenât too bad but the second mile there was puddles you couldnât avoid,â he said. â[The last 1,000 meters], that was probably the most tired I have ever been, but I knew I was close to breaking 16 (minutes) so I pushed it.â
Cumberland coach Tom Kenwood, who was among few R.I. coaches that brought teams to the meet, felt Crawleyâs performance will certainly add to his confidence for the Nov. 6 state championships at Ponaganset. The Varsity 2 race had 183 finishers.
âI told him he has to get out quick. If you donât do that, you can get in trouble. He did that, settled into a face pace and held it,â Kenwood said. âThis is a good test because the state meet is going to be fast. Thereâs going to be 15 kids under five minutes by the mile at Ponaganset. He ran fast in a pack in a big, big race. There were some good runners in this race.â
Overall, the Clippers placed fifth among the 27 schools with 192 points. Northport HS in New York won the team championship with 74.
Cumberlandâs remaining four scoring runners after Crawley finished within a minute of each other. Senior Matt Sutcliffe placed 19th with a time of 16:43.3. Senior Tom Fownes, who has only run a handful of meets due to a hip flexor injury suffered at the start of the season, was 31st with a 17:03.7 clocking. Sophomore Kevin Seaver (69th, 17:43.8) and sophomore Matt Smith (71st, 17:44.0) completed the scoring for the Clippers.
The Clippers also had a strong showing from junior Conor Fleurant in the JV 2 race where he finished 32nd overall with a time of 17:49.6. The trio of Dave Agudelo (40th, 14:55.7), Abdullah Kaba (54th, 15:03.0) and Ryan Legare (61st, 15:13.9) also fared well in the freshmen race, which was run on a 2.5-mile course.
Kenwood admits it will be somewhat of a problem to determine who his seven varsity runners will be for the upcoming class and state championships.
âItâs tough,â he said. âI got eight, nine guys that are looking for a spot. The guys are running well. We had a couple that run under 18 (minutes) for the first time today. â
Midway into the meet, Brown University honored Kenwood with the annual Bob Leddy Service Award for his outstanding dedication to cross country and track over his 37 years of coaching. Kenwood is the second straight town resident to receive the award. Last year, longtime cross-country/ track official and former Cumberland runner Keith Lawton was the recipientâŠIn the boysâ championship race, the nationâs No. 1 runner and last yearâs winner, junior Edward Cheserek of St. Benedictâs Prep in N.J., smashed the course record by nearly 30 seconds with his winning time of 14:34.6.
Brown University Northeast Championship
At Goddard State Park
Varsity I race
Team standings â 1. Northport, 74; 5. Cumberland, 192.
2. Trevor Crawley, C, 16:02; 19. Matt Sutcliffe, C, 17:03.7; 31. Tom Fownes, C, 17:03.7; 69. Kevin Seaver, C, 17:43.8; 71. Matt Smith, C, 17:44.0; 106. Richard Church, C, 18:05.8; 107. Alex Southiere, C ,18:06.4.