PROVIDENCE — It was right around Thanksgiving when Woonsocket High senior Kaylnn “K.K.” Pitts placed all her cards on the table.
“I want to win the [indoor] state championship in the high jump,” is what Pitts set out to obtain, the quote appearing in this very newspaper on Sunday, Nov. 18.
The teenager’s day of reckoning came Saturday afternoon at the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house, site of the R.I. Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Pitts made good on her promise, capturing the high jump crown with a “sudden death” leap of five feet, four inches.
For someone who’s had to wait her turn in this particular discipline – Pitts placed fourth at the 2012 state meet behind notables Dakota Dailey-Harris of La Salle and Mount St. Charles’ Ali Sayles – this Villa Novan track standout clearly reveled in moment, clutching her medal while flashing a smile that hinted at the personal satisfaction she was feeling.
“This was one of my goals and something I really wanted to get,” Pitts reaffirmed.
The last two competitors left standing was Pitts and a fellow 12th grader, Tiffany Jenkins of Central Falls. The two young ladies each missed three jumps with the bar set at 5-4, though instead of lowering it down to 5-2, officials elected to keep the beam at the same height.
With that, a jump off between Pitts and Jenkins ensued. Jenkins was up first, the bar crashing to the ground just as the Warrior had finished her mid-air rotation. With ex-Woonsocket girls’ track coach and current St. Raphael Academy Principal Dan Richard offering words of encouragement, Pitts took a deep breath before her rendezvous with state championship glory.
Her winning leap was error-free and featured a happy landing on the other side of the bar. The competition was over, and Pitts had won.
“I was nervous; I didn’t want to miss it,” Pitts grinned. “I just gave it my all and got over. It’s definitely better to jump second in that situation.”
Cumberland High senior Trevor Crawley added to his medal collection with a victorious showing in the 3,000 (8:47.95) along with a runner-up finish in the 1,500 (4:10.22). As he talked about his day, Crawley shared that he plans to continue running at Providence College.
“Last week,” Crawley replied about when he rendered a decision to run for legendary track coach Ray Treacy’s Friars. “I’m excited and it’s nice to know that I no longer have to worry about (selecting a school).”
Crawley, who was also considering Northeastern, said that most of his recruiting was done through Treacy’s assistant, Kevin Myles. The Clipper has spent most of the indoor season fine-tuning his skill set in the 1,500, but he admits that he was pleased with how the 3,000 race transpired.
“I hadn’t run the 3,000 in a while,” Crawley noted.
On his way to posting a first-place performance, Crawley turned away two runners from Hendricken, Colin Tierney and Connor Doyle, the latter the son of late, legendary R.I. distance specialist and St. Raphael graduate Bobby Doyle. Tierney finished two seconds off Crawley’s pace; Doyle’s 8:57.95 clocking good for third place.
In the 1,500, Crawley finished nine seconds behind Chariho’s Bryce Kelley, one of his main competitors from this past November’s R.I. Cross Country Championships (Crawley placed first at the Ponaganset High course while Kelley was second).
“I wasn’t expecting to win (the 1,500) because I had just run the 3,000,” said Crawley about his expectations heading into his second and final event of the day.
Crawley sat out last Tuesday’s Class A Championships, a decision that was made in order to give him a leg up and feel refreshed heading into Saturday’s big meet. After competing at next month’s New England Championships at Boston’s Reggie Lewis Center, Crawley will turn his attention to the Nike Indoor Nationals, where he’ll run in the two-mile event.
“You can’t run hard over that short amount of time,” Cumberland head coach Tom Kenwood pointed out.
Those who finished in the top six of their respective events automatically earned berths to compete in the New Englands. Besides Crawley, the Clippers will also send Breigh Souliere and Kendra Plant; each placed second in the 55 hurdles and shot put, respectively.
Mount’s Cassie Roberge fashioned a school-record leap of 17 feet, 7 inches in the long jump, good for third overall. Her teammate, Rita Donohue, earned fourth-place finishes in the 300 and 55-meter dash.
“I can’t complain,” stated Donohue. “If I had gotten off to a better start in the 300, I might have been able to catch third.”
La Salle Academy and Classical shared the girls’ team title, amassing 89 total points apiece. Hope finished third (24 points). Cumberland came in fifth (19 points) with Mount St. Charles and Woonsocket part of a three-way tie for eighth place with 14 points.
On the boys’ side, Bishop Hendricken returned to the top one year after Chariho ended the Hawks’ 17-year reign. Hendricken’s 75 points was 10 more than runner-up Classical. Cumberland finished tied for seventh (20 points) while Woonsocket earned 15 points, good for a two-way tie for 13th.
R.I. INDOOR STATE MEET
At Providence Career & Technical Academy field house
1. Bishop Hendricken 75; 2. Classical 65; 3. Chariho 25; 4. Coventry 34; 5. La Salle 31; 6. Barrington 29; 7. (tie) Cumberland, North Kingstown, East Providence 20; 10. (tie) East Greenwich, Central 18; 12. Hope 11; 13. (tie) Central Falls, Woonsocket 10; 15. Pilgrim 9; 16. Moses Brown 8; 17. Westerly 6; 18. (tie) South Kingstown, Cranston West, Shea 4; 21. Toll Gate 2; 22. Portsmouth 1.
High jump: 1. Erik Mateo (CF) 6-2.
3,000: 1. Trevor Crawley (C) 8:47.95.
4x200: 3. East Providence (Chris Moura, Josh Rambert, Justin Pelletier, Ryan Williams), 1:36.66; 4. Shea (Boubacar Lemon, Dennis Lloyd, Jaures Tetchi, Samson Olowoporoku), 1:37.16.
4x800: 5. Cumberland (David Agudelo, Kevin Seaver, Alex Southiere, Matt Smith), 8:36.02.
Shot put: 3. Connor Fugere (W) 51-4 ¾.
Long jump: 3. Moura (EP) 21-5.
1,500: 2. Crawley (C) 4:10.22.
300: 4. Ryan Williams (EP) 37.49; 5. Jalen Evans (W) 37.51.
1. (tie) La Salle, Classical 89; 3. Hope 24; 4. Barrington 23; 5. Cumberland 19; 6. Pilgrim 17; 7. North Kingstown; 8. (tie) Exeter/West Greenwich, Mount St. Charles, Woonsocket 14; 11. Portsmouth 13; 12. (tie) Coventry, Bay View 11; 14. (tie) Narragansett, Prout, Westerly, South Kingstown, Mount Hope 10; 19. Central Falls 8; 20. Ponaganset 6.5; 21. Tolman 6; 22. (tie) East Providence, Lincoln, St. Raphael 2; 25. Toll Gate 1.5; 26. Wheeler 1.
High jump: 1. Kaylynn Pitts (W) 5-4; 2. Tiffany Jenkins (CF) 5-2.
300: 4. Rita Donohue (MSC) 42.41.
55m dash: 4. Donohue (MSC) 7.44.
55 hurdles: 2. Breigh Souliere (C) 8:64; 5. Brittany Redding (L) 9:00.
Long jump: 3. Cassie Roberge (MSC) 17-7; 4. Pitts (W) 17-5 ¾.
Shot put: 2. Kendra Plant (C) 37-4; 3. Veronica Wiggins (T) 37-1 ¼; 5. Briana Pina (C ) 34-10 ½.
1,500: 4. Ashley Jackson (SRA) 4:54.05.
4x200: 5. East Providence (Sierra Cunningham, Tayla Carnevale, Rachael Finn, Kaitlyn Bellamy), 1:50.42.
4x800: 6. Cumberland (Nicole Barger, Hannah Tavares, Esther Kwara, Mei-Ling Feng), 10:18.31.