PROVIDENCE â€“ In a time of uncertainty, all Ali Sayles of Mount St. Charles could do is rely on pure adrenaline â€“ hoping somehow, some way that everything would work out for the best.
Despite a tough ending in the finals of the girlsâ€™ high jump at Saturdayâ€™s R.I. Indoor Track & Field Championships, Sayles was able to salvage a bit of good news. The senior cleared the bar with a leap of five feet, four inches, good for second place overall. Saylesâ€™ jump was also a personal- and school-best (she achieved 5-2 at the 2011 indoor state meet).
The runner-up finish was not too shabby for a young lady who during her second attempt of the finals gave MSC head coach Paul Jacques along the crowd at the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house plenty of cause for concern. Just as she neared takeoff, Sayles ran smack dab into the mat and fell immediately to the ground. In the blink of an eye, she went from a bona fide state contender to someone who was now a serious question as to whether she could even muster a jump.
After spending a couple of minutes huddling with Jacques and a trainer, Sayles decided to give it a go. Weâ€™ll never know what would have happened had Sayles not experienced a sudden jolt to her system, but hereâ€™s how the script played out in real time: the stateâ€™s defending champion in the outdoor version of the 100-meter high hurdles missed on her third and final attempt.
â€śShe had a tough takeoff and rolled her ankle, which bothered her obviously,â€ť noted Jacques before adding that â€śShe had a great day overall. She ran her fastest time in the 4x200 relay for the season. She came in third in the hurdles (8.72 seconds) and second in the high jump.â€ť
Woonsocketâ€™s Kaylnn â€śK.K.â€ť Pitts was another local entry who made her presence felt at the high-jump event. She finished fourth with a mark of 5-2 while La Salleâ€™s Dakota Dailey-Harris successfully defending her indoor title at 5-10.
The other bit of drama involving local participants arose during the finals of the boysâ€™ 55-meter dash. Lincolnâ€™s Aaron Roseman, the top seed coming into the championship round, was eliminated after a false start. Such a development opened the door the remaining field with Jalen Evans of Woonsocket placing fourth overall (6.68).
On Roseman, Lions head coach John Menna stated, â€śIt happens. He was concentrating on getting out as fast as he could. That was playing too much on his mind and he false-started. Heâ€™s a junior and heâ€™ll be back.â€ť
Evans, a junior, also snagged a seventh-place finish in the 300 (36.77), capping off an indoor season that began with him working his way back from a broken left ankle that was sustained during football practice last August. Longtime Woonsocket head coach George Briggs noted that Evans didnâ€™t start feeling like his old explosive self until the seasonâ€™s midway point.
â€śItâ€™s been a tough year, but it taught me a lot. It taught me to train harder when I got back and I learned to appreciate the sport more,â€ť Evans said. â€śI should be 100 percent by the time the outdoor season arrives; Iâ€™m going to work very hard.â€ť
Cumberland junior Trevor Crawley came in third in the 3,000 (8:55.91) and seventh in the 1,500 (4:21.37). His teammate, senior Ryan Rei, also enjoyed a productive day with a second-place finish in the high jump (6-2) while coming in fourth in the long jump (21-6).
â€śThat was his personal best in the high jump. He just missed 6-4,â€ť noted Cumberland head coach Tom Kenwood about Rei.
Kendra Plant of Cumberland narrowly missed capturing the shot put, her second-place heave of 35-1 only bested by Exeter/West Greenwichâ€™s Victoria Ebert (35-7.75). The Clippersâ€™ Breigh Souliere came in second in the 55 hurdles (8.69).
La Salle Academy ran away with the girlsâ€™ title, amassing 115 total points. Hope finished second (52 points). Cumberland came in sixth (18 points) with Mount St. Charles recording its highest team finish ever (7th, 15 points).
On the boysâ€™ side, Chariho ended Bishop Hendrickenâ€™s 17-year run at the top, the Chargersâ€™ 68 points five better than the Hawksâ€™ total. Cumberland placed 13th in the team standings with 14 points.