FOSTER — The ultimate goal for Mount St. Charles senior Patrick Butler and Cumberland junior Trevor Crawley is to finish among the elite at next weekend’s state championships on Nov. 6.
All of their races beforehand are geared toward peaking in time to compete with the big boys on cross-country’s biggest stage.
Both runners took a positive step forward to achieving that objective during Saturday’s class championships. Competing with a loaded field in the Class A meet, Crawley finished fifth overall on Ponaganset’s covered bridge trail with a time of 16 minutes, 24.16 seconds for the five-kilometer course. In the Class C race, Butler led from start to finish, coasting to an easy seven-second win with his time of 16:42.80.
“I kind of wanted to make a statement at the beginning and keep that lead and pull it even farther at the end,” said the Mount standout. “I went out fast at the beginning and I was able to hold it the whole race. It was easy today. It wasn’t a hard day.”
Butler, a runner-up at last year’s meet, was a little over five minutes after the first mile. By the time he reached mile two, he already held a 100-meter cushion over his closest pursuers, eventual second- and third-place finishers, Bobby Parker of St. Raphael Academy (16:49.96) and Ryan Pagliaro of Smithfield (16:51.93).
“He was definitely out there looking to run a good one to prepare for the states,” said MSC coach Roland Lavallee. “That’s our ultimate goal as a team, too, the states.”
As a team, Mount finished third overall with 72 points. East Greenwich copped the team plaque with 46 points, while The Prout School was second with 62 points. The Mounties, a second-place finisher in the Northern Division, had two other runners place among the top 10 with senior Andrew Knueven taking eighth overall at 16:57.20 and sophomore Elijah Tousignant finishing tenth with a time of 17:01.76.
“We came in believing that we could be class champions,” Lavallee said. “That’s the level we have brought ourselves to this year. We were on a mission to win a title. Those were our expectations. We came out here and battled for it.”
Butler felt relaxed in winning his race, one he felt was within his grasp a little after the mile mark as he climbed the first major hill on the course.
“When I stepped in the woods, I felt it. I knew I had it,” he said. “I didn’t slow down at all. I kept it going. When I was coming out of the woods, I knew. I just kept going and everything worked out.”
Lavallee knew his star runner had the race under control with a mile remaining.
“Nobody wanted to run with him,” he said. “I was scared at first and then I was standing in the woods at mile two and he came by and he actually looked at me and smiled and kind of gave me the nod like, ‘No problem.’ He took charge and held it. I think he conserved a little bit and ran smart and solidly won the race.”
Butler’s time would have placed him tenth overall in the Class A meet. But his plan wasn’t to try and burn up the course this week.
“I am waiting for next week,” he said. “I am going to go out with the front pack and take charge like I did today. I want to settle in with the front pack and see what I can do. Hopefully, I’ll run a much faster time.”
Among teams in Class C, Smithfield was fourth overall with 152 points and Ponaganset was fifth with 162.
The Clippers’ Crawley ran a gutsy race for his top finish on Saturday. Chariho Regional senior and nationally-ranked harrier Mike Marsella won the individual title convincingly with a fast 15:37.59 clocking. His two teammates Dan and Jake Kilcoyne took second and third, respectively, with times of 16:09.73 and 16:12.75.
Crawley was about 20 meters behind Bishop Hendricken freshman Mike Potter, who was fourth at 16:14.49.
“There were a lot of good runners in the field,” he said. “So I am happy with how I did.”
Crawley was among the chase pack behind Marsella after the first mile, hitting that checkpoint in 5:07. He was 10:26 at two miles.
“I think he ran very well,” said Cumberland coach Tom Kenwood. “It was a fast pace. Next week it’s going to be just as fast. You have to throw everyone into the mix. Now he’s got a taste of the pace he needs to run, and he can deal with it. The mile wasn’t overly fast. I mean, Marsella was 4:55. People were smart enough not to go with him.”
Crawley believes his faster days are ahead of him.
“I didn’t feel bad (today). It was tough. It was really cold so my breathing was a little hard,” he said.
“I think I can go a little faster. I’ll leave it all on the course next week.”
While it was Chariho that has the top three placements, it was Hendricken that ran away with the title. The Hawks had six runners among the top 10 to handily defeat the Chargers, 34-69. Cumberland was fifth overall with 107 points.
Senior Matt Sutcliffe was the next Clipper across the line after Crawley, placing 15th with a time of 17:04.85. Senior Tom Fownes (19th, 17:13.09), sophomore Matt Smith (33rd, 18:01.41) and sophomore Alex Southiere (35th, 18:09.28) completed the scoring.
Cumberland was running the race without one of its top varsity runners, sophomore Kevin Seaver.
“(He) was sick so that’s a big hit on us because he would have been close to Tom Fownes,” Kenwood said. “You are talking about a lot of places.”
Lincoln was third overall in the Class B’s with 78 points. Senior Matt Olean was fourth with a time of 17:31.92. He was followed by senior Alex Carlson in fifth at 17:37.21.
Lady Sentinels capture class title
Smithfield took the top three placements and had all of their scoring runners among the first 13 to roll to a 30-71 win over second-place Burrillville for the Class C girls’ title.
Freshman Stephanie Mattson continued her recent string of victories by winning the individual title with a time of 19:58.68. Fellow classmates Rebecca Meinertz (20:07.38) and Madison Saliba (20:14.99) were second and third. Ponaganset junior Casey McGrath was fourth in 20:18.15.
“I was hoping to get five or six in the top 21,” said Smithfield coach John Marchand. “We got six in the top 21. I did not think - one-two-three. I knew Stephanie had a chance to win it. I knew the Ponaganset girl, McGrath, would be very tough. This is her home course. But we came up here three or four times so our kids knew the course. We said all along, ‘Be in contention. The race does not start on this course until the third mile.’”
“Stephanie executed the plan perfectly,” he continued. “Rebecca and Madison had tremendous finishes. I figured they’d be in the top 10, for sure. I would have never imagined a 1-2-3 finish. That goes with everybody. Everybody ran great today.”
Mattson, who won the statewide Bronco Invitational on Oct. 20, didn’t take the lead outright until there was about a mile remaining.
“I was going to stay with the lead group. I have a good kick so I figured if I just stayed with them I could get it,” Mattson said. “But I felt good in the woods and I could tell the girl (McGrath) in front of me was tired so I just went for it. I felt pretty good during the race.”
The Sentinels’ other scoring runners were junior Emily Meinertz (11th, 21:23.71) and freshman Cailtlin Paredes (14th, 21:40.09). Marchand wouldn’t mind a top-six finish at next week’s states to earn a slot at the New England Championships the following week, also at Ponaganset.
That’s not his No. 1 priority, however.
“That would be a great team accomplishment, top six,” he said. “But our goal remains to shorten our gap between our one and five (runners). One through three was outstanding today. If we can tighten up four and five, the result of that could be a top six.”
In the Class A girls’ race, Cumberland was fifth overall with 160 points. Barrington slipped by pre-race favorite La Salle Academy, 34-40, for the team title. Junior Ester Kwara was the fastest for the Clippers, taking 29th overall at 21:41.79.
Mount St. Charles place fifth in the Class B meet with 151 points. Brittany Sarza was the top Mountie, taking 10th with a time of 21:36.00.
At Ponaganset High
Team standings -1. Bishop Hendricken, 34; 2. Chariho, 69; 5. Cumberland, 107; 10. East Providence, 295; 12. Woonsocket, 334; 13. Tolman, 363.
Top local finishers
5. Trevor Crawley, C, 16:24.16; 15. Matt Sutcliffe, C, 17:04.85; 19. Tom Fownes, C, 17:13.09; 33. Matt Smith, C, 18:01.41; 35. Alex Southiere, C, 18:09.28; 37. David Agudelo, C, 18:09.85; 43. Jeremy Nadeau, W, 18:42.12; 45. Conor Fleurant, C, 18:46.49; 47. Matt Monagle, EP, 18:54.28; 48. Ryan Vieira, EP, 19:00.26.
Team standings – 1. Barrington, 21; 2. Toll Gate, 72; 3. Lincoln, 78; 11. Central Falls, 304; 13. Davies, 309; 15. Shea, 450.
Top local finishers – 4. Matt Olean, L, 17:31.92; 5. Alex Carlson, L, 17:37.21; 12. Tom Tallo, L, 17:58.92; 26. Alfredo DePina, CF, 18:48.94; 27. Nickolai Morin, L, 18:49.72; 30. Taylor Vass, L, 19:00.68; 40. John Capaldi, L, 19:45.31.
Team standings – 1. East Greenwich, 46; 2. Prout School, 62; 3. Mount St. Charles, 72; 4. Smithfield, 152; 5. Ponaganset, 162; 8. St. Raphael Academy, 217; 11. Burrillville, 285; 14. North Smithfield, 389.
Top local finishers -1. Patrick Butler, MSC, 16:42.80; 2. Robert Parker, SRA, 16:49.96; 3. Ryan Pagliaro, S, 16:51.93; 8. Andrew Knueven, MSC, 16:57.20; 10. Elijah Tousignant, MSC, 17:01.76; 13. Sam Reinhardt, SRA, 17:12.88; 16. David Jutras, P, 17:46.41; 18. John Allard, S, 17:52.42; 22. Nathan Colburn, P, 18:10.77; 24. Matt Alexander, MSC, 18:19.89; 28. Peter Swan, P, 18:32.53; 29. Owen Murphy, MSC, 18:33.51; 30. George Meleleu, B, 18:34.23; 32. Adam Bouley, MSC, 18:35.78; 34. Troy Lange, S, 18:45.64.
Team standings – 1. Barrington, 34; 2. La Salle, 40; 5. Cumberland, 160; 9. Woonsocket, 268. Tolman, East Providence, nts.
Top local finishers – 29. Ester Kwara, C, 21:41.79; 31. Hannah Travers, C, 21:46.34; 32. Laura Sullivan, C, 21:56.24; 34. Courtney Bricault, C, 22:16.28; 40. Cailey Johnson, C, 22:38.85; 48. Kristen Treganowan, W, 23:05.21; 49. Melissa Mardo, C, 23:07.69; 51. Janelle Platt, C, 23:25.36; 52. Brianna Lake, W, 23:42.52; 54. Catherine Browning, EP, 24:04.24; 55. Kaitlyn Camara, T, 24:15.21.
Team standings – 1. South Kingstown, 24; 2. Bay View, 60; 5. Mount St. Charles, 151; 10. Lincoln, 298; 12. Central Falls, 342.
Top local finishers – 10. Brittany Sarza, MSC, 21:36.00; 16. Lauren Deguire, MSC, 21:59; 36. Kelly O’Neill, 23:44.3; 37. Alyssa Paul, MSC, 23:54.1; 40. Megan Corbell, MSC, 24:05.9; 51. Hiroka Yano, L, 25:16.2.
Team standings – 1. Smithfield, 30; 2. Burrillville, 71; 4. Ponaganset, 101; 9. North Smithfield, 261.
Top local finishers – 1. Stephanie Mattson, S, 19:58.68; 2. Rebecca Meinertz, S, 20:07.38; 3. Madison Saliba, S, 20:14.99; 4. Casey McGrath, P, 20:18.15; 5. Anna Dumais, B, 20:26.18; 6. Elizabeth Dumais, B, 20:26.18; 9. Fiona Beltram, P, 21:12.18; 11. Emily Meinertz, S, 21:23.71; 13. Cat Piper, SRA, 21:31.26; 14. Caitlin Paredes, S, 21:40.09; 15. Danielle Dumais, B, 21:42.20; 16. Rebecca Tellier, S, 21:44.99; 20. Cassidy Bowers, B, 22:03.81; 24. Catherine Dominick, P, 22:33.84; 29. Ruby Perry, B, 22:39.14; 30. Analise England, S, 22:40.95; Cristal Marron, P, 22:47.51; 35. Elizabeth Rogers, B, 23:07.31; 36. Diana Frenze, P, 23:16.48; 38. Lauren LaMontagne, B, 23:30.90; 40. Casey Peterson, NS, 23:45.00.