CUMBERLAND — A year ago at these Northern Division Championships, then-Central Falls High junior Tiffany Jenkins finished third overall in the high jump – courtesy of a leap of five feet, one inch – but truly wanted to improve that placement this time around.
Now a senior captain, she accomplished the same 5-1 on Tuesday afternoon, but found herself in a different situation. With the height, she earned the title, so is looking forward to bigger and better things with the premier meets just around the corner.
“I won it at 5-1, but I wanted to challenge myself; that’s why I went up to 5-5 (after she had already clinched the crown),” Jenkins grinned. “I just wanted to see if I could equal my PR from last season. I didn’t, but I came really close, and that makes me more confident.
“The fact I jumped 5-1 this time, I think that’s a good thing; I started to get on a roll last year after this meet, and – at states – I went all out and did great,” she added. “I remember being really happy because (at the state meet) I jumped 5-5 on my first attempt, and (eventual champion Dakota Dailey-Harris of La Salle) missed on hers.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh! I’m actually in first place!’” she added.
Dailey-Harris, a senior, ended up with the title, but – for Jenkins – Tuesday’s outing left her excited about her immediate future.
“This feels great! This is the first time I’ve ever won a championship,” she exclaimed. “I kind of expected to do well. At the (Rick Schomp Invitational in South Kingstown) on Saturday, I jumped 5-3 but came in second to (Woonsocket senior) K.K. Pitts. To win this, it’s awesome. It’s a good time for this to happen. It’s only going to get me more ready for the class and state meets.”
Pitts would have been in line to capture two or three events at the very least, but she didn’t compete as she suffered from flu-like symptoms. Still, she attended the meet and provided inspiration – and some coaching – to her teammates.
Thanks to its extreme depth, Smithfield bused home from Tucker Field with the team title with 149 points, 19.5 more than runner-up and host Cumberland (129.5). Ponaganset took third overall with 78.5, Lincoln fourth (68), Mount St. Charles fifth (62) and Woonsocket sixth (47).
The Clippers’ senior throwing specialist Kendra Plant had aspirations of her own. Competing in all four events, she had been seeded first in the shot, second in the hammer and third in the discus, and found herself ranked third in the javelin after the preliminary round.
“I just want to have PRs in every event,” she stated while taking part in the spear finals. “That will help me gain confidence for states.”
Plant, who took second in the shot last June at the state meet with a heave of 35-8, snared the win in that specialty with a heave of 37-1, just three inches off her previous best. She, however, fell shy of her goals in the other three, placing third in the hammer (130-3) and the same in the javelin (88-2).
She failed to garner a top-three placement in the discus, though the Villa Novans’ Victoria Cooper did, as she won it with a heave of 102-0. She also took runner-up laurels in the hammer (134-6), just an inch behind teammate and champion Cheyanne Nelle (134-7).
Mount St. Charles senior captains Rita Donohoe and Cassie Roberge fashioned forthemselves two individual golds, with Donohoe taking the 100 dash (13.0) and 300 intermediate hurdles (46.3), while Roberge snared the long jump (17-3 ½) and triple jump (37-1 ¼).
Roberge also finished just behind Donohoe in the distance hurdles with a second-place time of 48.5.
Outside of Plant, the Clippers took advantage of several outstanding performances, among them freshman Amy Laverty’s stellar “double” in the 1,500 (5:03.3) and 3,000 (11:04.1). According to head coach Vanessa Molloy, both wins resulted in new freshman school marks.
In the latter race, Burrillville’s Betsy Dumais took second and Lincoln’s Amanda L’Esperance third.
Nicole Barger landed the 800 in 2:23.5, then led off the victorious 4 x 800 relay (which also consisted of Esther Kwara, Meaghan Scullin and Hannah Tavares). Barger joined Scullin (who previously had taken second in the 400 with another freshman record), Tavares and Ashley Bricault to snatch the 4 x 400 relay in 4:22.8.
Taylor Flaxington captured the pole vault (9-6) and Kristen Giarrusso the 200 (27.0) for the Lions.