PROVIDENCE – Whether it’s a cross-country or track race, there’s only one place where Trevor Crawley feels the most comfortable, and that’s right up front.
“I don’t like not leading,” said the Cumberland High junior. “I don’t feel like it’s my race.”
For almost the entire distance of the 3,000-meter run at Wednesday’s Rhode Island Track Classic, Crawley took his customary, front-runner position, rattling off consistent 200 splits between 36-37 seconds.
The Clipper standout did the necessary work for a victory in the regional meet, it just wasn’t enough.
With a sizzling kick in the closing stages, Port Jefferson (N.Y.) High senior Cole Conte passed Crawley with less than 150 meters remaining and cruised to a winning time of 9:05.47. The Cumberland runner settled for the runner-up spot, crossing the finish line inside the Providence Career and Technical Academy field house in 9:09.17.
Crawley was five seconds short of his indoor best of 9:04.2, set on Dec. 17 with his win at the RITCA Invitational.
“I wish I could have done a little better, but I am not upset,” he said. “I guess I’ll just have to get faster when it gets closer to the state meet (in February).”
Forging his way to the head of the pack from the opening gun, Crawley hit his first 400 split at 70 seconds and was 2:24 at the 800. He maintained a solid lead by the time he reached the 1,500 at 4:31.7.
At that point, it was just Conte who was within striking distance.
“Nobody seemed to want to push it,” Cumberland coach Tom Kenwood said. “They were just sitting on him. He set a comfortable pace when he probably should have run faster.”
With 600 meters left, Crawley held a two-second advantage over the Long Island runner. Conte, who specializes in the 800 with a best of 1:53, felt he was right where he belonged.
“In my early-season two miles, I have basically been using the same strategy,” he said. “I usually kick with about 250 meters to go. I really didn’t know too much about the field. I figured if I could stay with the lead guys I would have a good chance of winning.”
The Clippers were one of just two area schools that competed in the top regional meet. Also making the trip to the Providence facility was neighboring rival Lincoln.
The Lions’ highest placement came from their weight throw relay. The senior trio of PJ Andrews, Ed Cummings and Brad Bessette combined for a distance of 147 feet, 8 inches to finish third overall. Spurred by a meet record and nation-leading throw of 76-11¾ by Joe Velez, Classical won the event with an overall toss of 190-8 ½.
Cummings had the best throw among his Lion teammates with a 52-6 effort. Andrews was right behind at 52-3 and Bessette was at 43-0.
“Those three guys have been together since their freshmen year,” Lincoln coach John Menna said. “(Weight coach) Joe Pascone has done a great job with them. He’s had them for three years. They are very dedicated and at every practice. They have improved technically over the years and are among the best throwers in the state. Overall, point-wise, they have been a shot in the arm for our team when we get to the dual-meet season.”
In a close race, Lincoln junior Aaron Roseman was fifth overall in the 55 dash with a fully automatic time (FAT) of 6.75. Sophomore Harold Cooper of Hillhouse (Conn.) High, copped the top prize with a time of 6.56.
“Right now he is working on natural ability but he has made a concerted effort to practice harder,” Menna said. “The season is still young. We have a lot of meets to go. We will go to some major invitationals and he will get better.”
Roseman admitted he has to get more dedicated if he wants to compete against the state’s elite. He ranks among the best in R.I. with his hand-held time of 6.4, a clocking he achieved in winning the dash at the RITCA meet.
“I think I am like slacking in practice,” Roseman said. “I have to pick it up. I was feeling tight today. My legs were a little weak.”
Cumberland senior Ryan Rei was sixth in the triple jump with a leap of 41-10½ . Rei also competed in the long jump, but fouled by mere inches on all three of his attempts.
“He easily could have been in the top three or four if he jumped what he’s capable of,” said Kenwood, about Rei’s performance in the long jump. “In the triple jump, he hasn’t been able to practice for two weeks because we haven’t been able to get any access to (the PCTA field house). Under the conditions, he did all right.”
Ryan Dube, another Cumberland senior, was sixth in the pole vault, clearing a height of 12-0.
“He did better than I expected,” Kenwood said. “There’s an event he hasn’t practiced in three weeks. He has just been doing runs in the gym.”
The Clippers’ David Agudelo looked smooth and relaxed in finishing third overall in the Freshmen Mile. Agudelo dipped under the five-minute barrier for the first time with a 4:59.38. Jeremy Spiezo of Greenwich (Conn.) Central smashed the meet record by more than three seconds with his winning time of 4:42.09. Jake Grundy of La Salle Academy was second at 4:57.99.
“That was great,” said Kenwood, concerning his promising frosh. “He’s inexperienced so he will get even better.”
Agudelo maintained his third-place position throughout the race. He passed the 400 mark in 71 seconds and was 2:27 at the 800.
“I felt comfortable,” Agudelo said. “My coach told me to stay behind Jake Grundy and just pace myself off of him. I felt pretty comfortable with the pace. I wish I could have pushed a little harder.”
Individually, Lincoln junior Brittany Redding had the lone area top-six finish for girls. She was sixth overall in the 55 high hurdles with a FAT of 9.6.
Redding went into the race with a best, hand-held time of 8.9.
“There was a lot of good competition,” Redding said. “I thought the race went well, but I would have liked a better time. I’ve run better before, but I thought it was a good race overall.”