CUMBERLAND – Although it often seems it, Kaylnn K.K. Pitts doesn’t always win every time that she competes in track & field.
There are also days like Saturday’s Cumberland Invitational where the versatile sophomore from Woonsocket High still manages to grab some headlines when she’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.
“It was a really good day for K.K.,” said WHS girls’ coach Dan Richard. “She 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.”
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.
“I was actually a little nervous because I know that she is wicked good,” Pitts said. “She has improved a lot since outdoor last year. I just came in to hopefully do my best, and second was it.”
Dailey-Harris won yesterday’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.
“I fixed my steps because my steps were a little off and I just went faster on the turn,” said Pitts, making reference to her 5-3 effort. “I 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.”
“She looked really good today, and to be honest we haven’t really had the weather to go out there and get a lot of practice,” Richard said. “We 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.”
Pitts, who this past Monday set a school mark of 35-5 ½ 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 Rams’ Dailey-Harris (fourth, 26.9). Central Falls junior Anjelique Cooley was fifth in 27.2.
“It was a very fast heat,” Pitts confessed. “I have definitely gotten faster since last year in the 200, and actually I don’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.”
Pitts’ strategy was to take it out comfortably at the start.
“I usually like to go a little slow on my (last) turn to know where everyone is at,” she said, “and I pick it up a notch when I hit the straightaway.”
“She didn’t get out that great,” Richard admitted. “She really poured it on that last straightaway.”
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 ½ points.
Smithfield and Woonsocket will battle each other again in a Northern Division showdown on Monday afternoon at the Sentinels’ 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 Sentinels’ lone loss came to Central Falls (tied for third with Cumberland at 5-2) back on April 11.
“I think it’s going to be a heck of a meet on Monday,” Richard said. “I still think they are the top team in the league. When they got beat by Central Falls I don’t think they had their whole team there. If they have their whole team and they’re ready to go, they are going to be tough to beat. I am very leery of their talent.”
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 – 6. Darian Dailey, EP, 13.2
200 – 2. Kaylnn Pitts, W, 26.6; 5. Anjelique Cooley, CF, 27.2
400 – 5. Julie Keedy, P, 1:03.0; 6. Sierra Cunningham, EP, 1:04.10
100HH – 1. Angela Ragosta, S, 15.5; 2. Nichole Haar, EP, 16.3
300IH – 3. Justyna Pietrus, W, 50.9
4x100 – 4. Tie, Lincoln, Pilgrim, 53.4; 6. Tie, Ponaganset, Woonsocket, 53.5
4x800 – 5.. Burrillville, 11:35.8
HJ – 2. Kaylnn Pitts, W, 5-3; 3. Catherine Dominick, P, 4-11; 6. Madison Shea, P, 4-7
PV – 2. Samantha Whitaker, P, 8-0; 3. Taylor Flaxington, L, 8-0; 4. Tie, Sarah Beatrice, LaS, Sienna Viette, C, 7-6
LJ – 6. Latoya Dythe, W, 14-4 ½
TJ – 2. Darian Dailey, EP, 35-7; 3. Cooley, CF, 33-8 ¼; 6. Samantha Plante, W, 32-3
Discus – 1. Aleide Fernandes, CF, 127-1
Hammer – 4. Nicole Johnson, CF, 128-10; 6. Jennifer Cabral, CF, 119-5
Javelin – 2. Cassandra Gustafson, T, 101-9; 3. Mary Catherine Shields, S, 100-5; 4. Kiley Fair, S, 100-2