SMITHFIELD – When his team made the 15-minute bus ride to Smithfield High on Monday, Woonsocket coach Dan Richard knew his unbeaten Villa Novans were not facing the same Sentinel squad that suffered an 87-62 loss to Central Falls a few weeks ago for its first setback in eight years.
Richard was well aware that his Novan’s victory over the Warriors last week with ironically the same score, didn’t mean a whole lot in the Northern Division match-up.
Smithfield proved him right.
With 1-2-3 sweeps in two events and eight of a possible nine points scored in three others, the Sentinels spoiled the Villa Novans perfect spring with a convincing 91-64 victory. The Sentinels easily defeated Mount St. Charles in the quad meet and, coupled with Woonsocket’s two wins over the Mounties and North Providence, share the dual-meet crown with the Villa Novans as both teams finish the league at 8-1.
Woonsocket was minus some key athletes in the throwing events, but Richard wouldn’t offer that as an excuse.
“The athletes that were here gave their best. I’d like to kind of make that be the point,” said the WHS coach. “Everybody did their very best today. Smithfield is a great program. They beat us fair and square. It wasn’t due to the lack of effort by us, and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
“We were short in the throws, but as (Patriots’ coach) Bill Belichick would say, ‘it is what it is,’” he continued. “Being a military guy, you got to go to war with whoever you got. We battled with the runners and the throwers and the jumpers we had and they beat us fair and square.”
Smithfield has now won (or shared) the dual-meet title since 2004.
“I was really nervous about this meet,” admitted longtime Sentinels’ coach John Marchand. “Having lost to Central Falls a few weeks ago, I knew there was an outside shot that we could beat a very good Woonsocket team and be co-champions. We were fortunate enough for that to happen. The kids have really stepped. This season we have overcome a lot of adversity with injuries and other things that other teams also have to deal with. It makes it satisfying when they can come together as a team and do what they did today. I have a lot of respect for what coach Richard has done at Woonsocket. If we weren’t going to pull it out, it’s nice to at least share a title with him.”
The Sentinels outscored the Villa Novans in 10 of the 18 events and had double-winning performances from junior Alexis Pike and junior Mary Cate Shields. Pike led sweeps in the shot with a distance of 29 feet, 6 inches and the hammer with a winning throw of 122-0. Sheilds topped the field in the discus with an effort of 85-2 ½ and the javelin with a toss of 100-10.
To no one’s surprise, Woonsocket had a multiple-winning performance from sophomore Kaylnn K.K. Pitts. Just a few minutes after capturing the 200-meter run with a fast time of 27.3 seconds, Pitts hustled over to the high jump pit for the first time and won that event over Mount St. Charles junior Ali Sayles with a leap of 5-0. Sayles was second at 4-10. The versatile Villa Novan also placed first in the long jump at 15-8.
Woonsocket junior Latoya Dythe had a productive day. Dythe broke the tape in the 100, running a time of 13.2. She also placed third in the 200 at 29.3 and ran a leg on her team’s first-place 4x100 relay squad of junior Michelle Brayboy, senior Sam Plante and sophomore Marrissa Gelinas that combined for a time of 53.5.
Looking smooth and relaxed, the Villa Novans’ Jordan Lopes coasted to a strong time of 1:04.5 to win the 400. She also ran the anchor leg on the victorious 4x400 squad of junior Justyna Pietrus, Plante and Brayboy that was timed in 4:38.4.
Junior Kristen Treganowan had a pair of second-place finishes in the 1,500 and the 800.
“She had a tough double and that’s what you hope your athletes do,” Richard said. “They don’t shy away from the competition. They step up. That makes a coach proud whether you win or lose.”
Marchand and Richard will send a few of their qualifying athletes to the Schomp Invitational this Saturday at Chariho. Three days later, the two coaches and their squads will be at it again at the Northern Division Championships at Cumberland’s Tucker Field.
“That meet will be huge,” Richard said. “To me, that’s one of the top two meets of the year, along with the state meet. You could almost argue that it’s more important than the state meet because not everyone goes to the state meet. It’s going to be a great meet. I could put five teams in a hat and pick anyone out. It’s going to be us, Cumberland, Smithfield, Central Falls and Ponaganset. Not to slight anyone else, but anyone of those five teams can win.”
“It’s going to be where the matchups lie in different events,” Marchand said. ‘Burrillville’s got some good distance runners, Central Falls is going to dominate the throwing events, Woonsocket’s got a little more balance than the rest of the teams. It’s going to be difficult for us. We don’t have the depth we’ve had in the past. It’s going to be interesting.”
Smithfield 91, Woonsocket 64
Smithfield 121, Mount St. Charles 33
Woonsocket 115, Mount St. Charles 57
Woonsocket 116, North Providence 21
Mount St. Charles 89, N. Providence 40
PV – Sam Whitiker, S, 7-0
4x100 – Woonsocket (Latoya Dythe, Marrissa Gelinas, Michelle Brayboy, Sam Plante) 53.5
Discus – Mary Cate Shields, S, 85-2 ½
Shot – Alexis Pike, S, 29-6
LJ – Whitiker, S, 13-10
1,500 – Emily Meinertz, S, 5:32.2
400 – Jordan Lopes, W, 64.3
100HH – Angela Ragosta, S, 15.8
100 – Latota Dythe, W, 13.2
200 – Kaylnn Pitts, W, 27.3
800 – Mallory Puskus, S, 2:41.1
300IH – Justyna Pietras, W, 51.1
3,000 – Rebecca Tellier, S, 12:18.9
TJ – Pitts, W, 34-9
Javelin – Shields, S, 100-10
HJ – Pitts, W, 5-0
4x400 – Woonsocket (Pietrus, Plante, Brayboy, Lopes) 4:38.4
Hammer – Pike, S, 122-0