FOSTER – About 600 meters into his race, Trevor Crawley wasn't in the position that he was looking for at Sunday's RIIL State Championship. Boxed in at the start, the Cumberland High junior found himself hovering near 20th place.
Not exactly a prime position for one of the state's top runners.
But the confident and relaxed Crawley didn't let his tough beginning equate to a hard time on the cross-country trails at Ponaganset. By mile one, the Clipper standout worked his way to the chase pack behind eventual winner Mike Marsella of Chariho Regional and then held on to an outstanding third overall.
Marsella claimed the crown with a time of 15 minutes, 50.68 seconds for the five-kilometer distance, while Crawley crossed the finish line in a course-best of 16:12.
“I knew I would be anywhere from second to fifth,” said the Clipper standout. “But I did a lot better than I thought I would do.”
Crawley's difficult start was partly due to Cumberland's position at the starting line. The Clippers were located on the left side, a position that's affected greatly at the beginning considering the course veers to the left in the early stages.
Nonetheless, Cumberland coach Tom Kenwood wasn't concerned that his star runner wouldn't be able to get back on track.
“I knew he'd be OK,” Kenwood said. “He's composed enough to come back. Starting on this end is just so unfair because everybody pushes over. If you have an outside starting box, you are pretty clear. I didn't tell the kids that ahead of time. I just told them they have to get out quick. There's not much you can do.”
The determined Crawley began to distance himself from the tight bunch around him by three quarters of a mile and was already in fourth place at the mile, which he passed in 5:07. He moved into his third-place slot about a 400 meters from the two-mile mark, making a surge on the toughest part of the course.
“The back is a little hilly,” said Crawley, who clocked a 5:12 for his second mile. “We have been doing a lot of hills lately and it helped. I just felt really good (today). I felt a lot better at the end then I did at the beginning.”
Crawley wasn't the only area runner to crack the top seven and earn a slot on the first-team, all-state squad. Mount St. Charles Academy senior Patrick Butler finished less than a second ahead of Bishop Hendricken sophomore Colin Tierney to claim the final spot, taking seventh overall at 16:35.97. Tierney, the son of onetime Cumberland star Scott Tierney, was eighth at 16:36.61.
Butler, who last week' won the Class C race, was affected somewhat by a fast, early start. He was in third place after the first half mile.
That wasn't exactly his pre-race strategy.
“He didn't follow the game plan and he was the first to admit it,” MSC coach Roland Lavallee said. “We talked about it right after the race. I said, 'You went out too hard, didn't you?'”
“It was too early to do that and it made life difficult for him in the first part of the woods,” Lavallee added. “To his credit, he held it together and knew what he had to do and believed that he should be on first team. He knows he can do better and will be looking to do more next week (at the New England Championships).”
“I got caught up in the excitement, absolutely,” Butler said. “I went out a little too fast. I got caught up and by the second mile I got a little behind.”
With about a half-mile remaining, Butler was in 11th place. He passed three runners with roughly 150 meters left.
“I saw three Hendricken guys right in front of me,” he said. “It just hit me all right there. If I want first-team all state I have to get by all three of them. I just ducked my head, went by them and didn't hold back at all.”
Cumberland senior Matt Sutcliffe finished 23rd overall with a time of 17:00.89. St. Raphael Academy senior Sam Reinhardt was 24th among the 140 finishers with a personal-best time of 17:03.43. The Saints' top runner the past few seasons, senior Bobby Parker, was 43rd overall with a time of 17:33.02.
Parker was affected somewhat by flu-like symptoms this past week.
“I felt good the whole way,” Reinhardt said. “With about a half mile to go I thought I was going to die. I just hung on there and was able to sweep into the New England's (with a top 25 finish).”
Hendricken won its fourth straight team title, edging runner-up Chariho, 47-55. Cumberland was seventh overall with 185 points and Mount St. Charles was ninth with 241.
RIIL State Cross-Country Championship
at Ponaganset High
Team standings – 1. Bishop Hendricken, 47; 2. Chariho, 55; 7. Cumberland, 185; 9. Mount St. Charles, 241; 12. Lincoln, 306; 13. Smithfield, 386; 17. Ponaganset, 452. St. Raphael Academy, Woonsocket, no team score.
Top local finishers – 3. Trevor Crawley, C, 16:13.51; 7. Patrick Butler, MSC, 16:35.97; 23. Matt Sutcliffe, C, 17;00.89; 24. Sam Reinhardt, SRA, 17:03.43; 32. Elijah Tousignant, MSC, 17:13.68; 36. Tom Fownes, C, 17:22.48; 38. Andrew Knueven, MSC, 17:26.70; 39. Matt Olean, L, 17:28.09; 43. Robert Parker, SRA, 17:33.02; 47. John Allard, S, 17:35.05; 50. Ryan Pagliaro, S, 17:35.05; 52. Tom Tallo, L, 17:39.94; 56. Alex Carlson, L, 17:45.71; 68. Kevin Seaver, C, 18:04.84; 70. Alex Southiere, C, 18:06.87; 75. Matt Alexander, MSC, 18:09.85; 82. Matt Smith, C, 18:19.27; 90. Peter Swan, P, 18:24.29; 92. Nickolai Morin, L, 18:26.91; 95. Taylor Vass, L, 18:31.64; 96. David Agudela, C, 18:33.46; 99. Jeremy Nadeau, W, 18:37.31.