SMITHFIELD – Last week, Cumberland freshman Kiley DeFusco used a strong kick in the final minute to pull away from Blackstone Valley Prep senior Lucy Noris.

Monday afternoon at Deerfield Park, DeFusco opted to travel down a different road. In a race that featured Noris and talented Mount St. Charles sophomore Emmy Belvin, DeFusco set the pace early on en route to cruising to a winning time of 19 minutes, 30 seconds. Noris followed DeFusco at 19:52 with Belvin placing third (20:33).

“I was able to get a little further ahead of Lucy this time,” said DeFusco. “I love having the competition. You’re not running alone in the woods, but my first mile was definitely fast. I slowed up a little bit on the second mile. I’ve been trying out different strategies each week. I liked what I did last week but this one works, as well.”

Added Cumberland head coach Marty Crowley, “Every race is a piece to the puzzle … deciding when to go and when not to. She’s just one of many gifted runners we have in our program.”

Cumberland’s superior depth paved the way in a sweep of Smithfield (15-50), Mount St. Charles (19-44), and BVP (15-50). DeFusco was one of seven CHS runners to finish inside the top 10. Junior Grace Carr placed fourth (20:43) followed by junior Susana Henderson (fifth, 20:53), Summer Sartini (sixth, 21:25), freshman Rose Tuomisto (seventh, 21:28), freshman Emily Bourke (eighth, 21:55) and sophomore Anna Kalafut (ninth, 22:06).

“You need your two through seven runners because on any given day, something can change,” said Crowley.

For Crowley and his Clippers – now 9-0 on the season and the proud owners of 88 straight dual meet victories – it’s off to Maine for Saturday’s Festival of Champions. Mount St. Charles and Burrillville are slated to compete in the same race.

“The learning you get from races like that is unbelievable,” said Crowley. 

Added MSC head coach Amy Noecker, “It’ll be a great experience for our runners to get out and how to work with a large crowd … being with different people they don’t know.”

The Cumberland boys rode the 1-2 punch of junior Cole McCue and senior Henry Dennen to defeat Smithfield (20-35), MSC (15-38), and BVP (15-50). McCue placed first in 16:21 with Dennen coming in second at 16:26. Cumberland senior Ethan Carpenter hustled his way to a fourth-place finish (16:45) with senior John Walker placing sixth (17:04).

Next up for the Cumberland boys is a trip to Cary, NC for Saturday’s Great American Cross-Country Festival.

“I’m excited and I know the rest of the guys are excited to get on a course that’s fast,” said McCue.

Added Cumberland head coach Kerrie Carpenter, “It’s such a high-profile meet that I’m excited that we’ve been able to make that climb.”

Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03

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