GLOCESTER ---- Casey McGrath, a sophomore from Ponaganset High, crossed the finish line and looked up at the big digital clock.
Burrillville junior Anna Dumais did the same thing at Sunday’s RIIL State Cross-Country Championships.
When you're not considered one of the contenders for an individual title or a top finish, sometimes that’s the best way to determine if your five-kilometer journey was a successful one.
For the two local harriers as well as several others, the clock showed just the kind of numbers that would put their performances in that “success” category.
“It was hard. The beginning going up the hills I started out in like 25th and then made my way up near the end. Right at the end, two girls tried to go past me and I was too determined and just sprinted all the way to the end,” McGrath said. “I’m pretty dead right now.”
The gutsy effort turned in by the young Chieftain earned her a 16th-place finish with a personal-best time of 20 minutes, 15.87 seconds. McGrath’s time was the quickest turned in by area runners in the girls’ race and was about 30 seconds faster than she has ever run on the Covered Bridge Trail at Ponaganset.
In last week’s Class C Championship, also held on her home course, McGrath was 15th overall at 21:04.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to run that fast,” she said. “I was ranked 32nd with all the girls and I looked at the times and I was at least 20-seconds off. I didn’t think I could do it, so I am every excited that I did it.”
Like her Northern Division rival, Dumais also set a PB on the challenging layout and took the final all-state slot by placing 21st among the 137 finishers with a 20:24.89 clocking.
“I felt okay. I was kind of numb at the beginning, which is always good,” said the talented Bronco, a runner-up last week at the Class B meet and a 60th-place finisher at the 2009 state meet.
“I was kind of barely conscious at the end,” she continued. “I was kind of trying not to fall down at that point. But I was happy. I was kind of stunned a little, a little shell-shocked.”
Smithfield junior Rebecca Tellier and Cumberland senior Lauren Lapierre also cracked 21 minutes for the 5K course. Tellier was 28th overall at 20:49.43 and Lapierre toured the landscape in 20:56.51, good for 32nd overall.
With four runners among the first seven finishers, La Salle Academy ran away with its fourth straight team crown, defeating runner-up Barrington, 30-52. The Rams’ Molly Keating, a junior, defended her individual crown with a time of 18:51.93. Ponaganset, Cumberland and Burrillville claimed the ninth- though 11th-place slots, respectively.
“I am so proud that we are here as a team and not just as individuals,” Burrillville coach Marty Crowley said. “Annie ran phenomenal…She ran a great race. (As a team) we are getting better each time out. That’s a testament to them and their work ethic.”
In the boys’ meet, Bishop Hendricken won its third consecutive team crown with a slim 77-79 win over second-place La Salle. Smithfield was the best among area schools, taking sixth overall with 200 points. The top-six finish earned the Sentinels a date in next week’s New England Championships at Thetford Academy in Vermont.
Liam Hillery was first for Smithfield, taking an area-best 12th overall with a time of 16:32.03. He was followed by senior teammate Brian Musard in 20th at 16:40.16.
“We had a dinner last night at one of the houses and I told them, and I mean it today, I knew they were going to give me everything they had and run their hearts out and hopefully that would be enough,” said Smithfield coach Joe Bennett, whose squad copped its second straight Class C title last Saturday. “With the exception of Liam, who went into oxygen depth over the last half mile, I think the guys ran close to what they ran last week…The guys gave me everything they had.”
Hillery came short in accomplishing his goal of placing in the top five, and possibly winning. The strong senior was in fourth with 800 meters remaining and labored the final stretch of the race.
Last week, Hillery coasted to the individual victory at the class meet and has been a dominant runner throughout the season.
“He gave me everything he had,” Bennett said. “I know he was trying to win and I respect that. I think when he goes up to the New England’s, he might surprise himself. I certainly feel he can be in the top ten. He’s got it in him. We can’t forget that it’s his first year running. He’s still learning. We haven’t run a lot of races where he’s been tested. He’s won just about every race this year, expect for the states.”
Cranston West senior Robert Allen was unsuccessful in his bid to try and break former Westerly standout Andrew Springer’s course record (15:13), but he still was the first to cross the line, winning with a time of 15:30.86. Bishop Hendricken senior Ryan Meehan was second at 15:37.57.
Allen, Meehan, Hillery, La Salle’s Zachary Fraielli (third, 15:48.32) and North Providence’s Alex Gallo (fourth, 16:08.18) were among a solid lead pack at the beginning of the race. With Allen slightly ahead of Meehan in the front-runner position, the top group covered the first mile at 4:53.
After Allen and Meehan broke away to create a two-man duel not too longer after, the Sentinels’ Hillery began to feel the effects of the grueling pace just before two miles when he tried to pass Fraielli in third while going up one of several inclines on the course.
“Our team strategy for him was to try and maintain (his) spot on the hill and not move on it,” Bennett said. “I think him moving on the second part of the hill probably took some energy out. Maybe he could have held on to fourth had he not done that.”
“Back in the woods, I hit the wall,” Hillery admitted. “The last mile I was just dead. I ran the race to do well and that’s what happens.”
Mount St. Charles Academy senior Brian Deer was 15th overall in the race with a time of 16:34.07. Cumberland sophomore Trevor Crawley was 22nd with a 16:49.75 clocking. Robert Parker, a junior from St. Raphael Academy, was 27th in the field of 141 runners with a time of 16:55.03.
RIIL State Cross-Country Championships
Team standings – 1. Bishop Hendricken, 77; 2. La Salle, 79; 3. Chariho, 96; 4. North Kingstown, 100; 5. Barrington, 182; 6. Smithfield, 200; 7. Coventry, 211; 8. East Greenwich, 213; 9. Portsmouth, 252; 10. Cumberland, 252; 11. Mount St. Charles, 277; 12. Prout, 306; 13. North Providence, 337; 14. Lincoln, 375; 15. South Kingstown, 379; 16. Cranston West, 448; 17. Ponaganset, 462; 18. Tolman, 491.
Top local finishers – 12. Lima Hillery, S, 16:32.03; 15. Brian Deer, MSC, 16:34.07; 20. Brian Musard, S, 16:40.16; 22. Trevor Crawley, C, 16:49.75; 27. Robert Parker, SRA, 16:55.03; 34. Matt Sutcliffe, C, 17:06.17; 45. Ryan Pagliaro, S, 17:33.0; 47. Matt Olean, L, 17:34.27; 50. Ethan Bienstock, T, 17:35.92; 51. Alec Bassett, C, 17:36.5; 57. Kyle Gerlach, S, 17:42.46; 60. Matthew Spavold, C, 17:43.96; 61. Matt Cote, MSC, 17:45.69; 70. Zack Chadwick, 17:57.0; 74. Josh Brown, S, 18:00.85; 75. David Jutras, P, 18:01.32; 76. Aaron Brunelle, L, 18:02.68; 82. Joshua Abt, P, 18:09.43; 87. Alex Carlson, L, 18:18.02; 92. Dylan Simpson, B, 18:20.67; 93. Joe Allard, S, 18:21.08; 96. Tom Tallo, L, 18:22.32; 98. Tom Fownes, C, 18:23.22; 99. Sam Reinhardt, SRA, 18:25.25; 100. Andrew Knueven, 18:27.72; 101. Elliot Fleming, T, 18:29.31; 102. Austin Hevey, L, 18:33.77; 103. Dan Pirello, MSC, 18:34.71; 105, Matt Boni, MSC, 18:36.49; 108. Alfredo DePina, CF, 18:39.93.
Team standings – 1. La Salle, 30; 2. Barrington, 52; 3. South Kingstown, 138; 4. Cranston West, 141; 5. North Kingstown, 157; 6. East Greenwich, 245; 7. Coventry, 248; 8. Westerly, 265; 9. Ponaganset, 265; 10. Cumberland, 266; 11. Burrillville, 267; 12. Toll Gate, 271; 13. Bay View, 291; 14. Mount St. Charles, 355; 15. Pilgrim, 361; 16. Smithfield, 382; 17. Prout, 395; 18. Chariho, 452.
Top local finishers – 16. Casey McGrath, P, 20:15.87; 21. Anna Dumais, B, 20:24.89; 28. Rebecca Tellier, S, 20:49.43; 32. Lauren Lapierre, C, 29:56.51; 40. Danielle Dumais, B, 21:17.65; 46. Brittany Sarza, MSC, 21:35.31; 49. Fiona Beltram, P, 21:38.65; 55. Diana Frenze, P, 21:52.78; 57. Kristen Treganowan, W, 21:55.74; 59. Morgan Allen, B, 2159.27; 60. Laura Sullivan, C, 22:01.17; 64. Kwana Esther, C, 22:08.85; 65. Hannah Taveres, C, 22:12.21; 72. Sarah Musard, S, 22:22.95; 73. Catherine Cardon, MSC, 22:24.52; 77. Courtney Bricault, C, 22:30.52; 84. Stephanie Ward-Smith, S, 22:42.46; 86. Lizzie Rogers, B, 22:46.19; 88. Cassidy Bowers, B, 22:50.72; 90. Kelly O’Neill, MSC, 22:52.87; 91. Megan Calitri, C, 22:54.36; 92, Shannon Gavel, W, 22:54.96; 100. Cristal Marron, P, 23:08.56.