Anytime you can win a meet like that it's great, said NK coach Pete Kells. All the teams in our division are great in their own way, but Classical really seems to offset what we do in the distance events with their sprinting, hurdling, and throws. Our program has really been trying to close the gap in those events.
The Purple jumped out to an early lead thanks to the strong performances by sprinters Didi Jusme (1st in the 45M, 6.10; 2nd in the 300M, 44.70) and Janite Cadet. (3rd in the 45, 6.20; 1st in the 300, 44.30).
Jusme also won the 45 meter hurdles with a time of 7.10. She was followed by two Purple teammates, Leslie Montague and Shackielle Tarty, and two South Kingstown Rebels, Brittini Thomas and Laura Amador.
After Classical's team of Cadet, Chloe Deflorimonte, Micky Jusme and Montague won the 4x160 meter relay, the Purple looked to be in position to claim the Morris title.
However, North got back into the mix near the top of the standings with an impressive effort in the distance events.
Skipper junior Alexa Mazur won the 600 with a time of 1:44.50, while senior Siobhan Breagy (1:45.40) and sophomore Meg Hanrahan (1:46.20) took second and third place respectively.
The Skippers dominated the 3,000 meters, as Mary Najarian (10:47.30), Caitlin Crawford (10:52.90), and Erin Brennan (10:53.70 swept the top three places.
They are certainly a strength of our team, Kells said of the 3,000 meter group that led NK to this fall's cross-country state championship. The distance runners have been the backbone of the North Kingstown track program for years.
Exeter-West Greenwich senior Brittany Davis placed sixth in the 3,000 at 13:07.40.
North's Monica Black, Katie Lynch, and Marrisa Kervin placed second through fourth in the 1500, while South's Hannah Kraines took fifth.
Even after North's run in the distance events, Classical still led with two events to go.
That's when the Skippers took their biggest step toward the title, by placing three of the top four finishers in the 1,000 meters. Allie Stasiuk took first, while Marrisa Heyward finished second, and Jackie Owensby placed fourth. Heyward and Owensby each recorded personal best times.
The highlight of the meet came in the 1,000 meters, which was the second to last event of the night, said Kells. We were down and Stasiuk, Heyward and Owensby really stepped up. They knew we were down, and when your athletes face adversity and come through with their best, it doesn't get much better.
South Kingstown's Molly Reilly, Rachel Spirito, and Laura Amador placed fifth, seventh, and ninth respectively.
The Purple was clinging to a slim two-point lead heading into the meet-capping 4x400 relay.
With its back against the wall, the North foursome of Newlin Tillotson, Breagy, Brennan, and Crawford raced to a second place finish, a little over a second behind the SK Rebel team of Norman, Stephanie Perry, Thomas, and Candice Hazard.
We were still down two points going into the final event, the 4x400 meters, said Kells. So we needed to finish one place ahead of Classical, just to earn a tie. And we did. We took second, and Classical finished third. But (Classical) was not co-champion of the meet because of an unsportsmanlike-ruling against the anchor of their 4x400 team.
South Kingstown's Amanda Norman, Stephanie Perry, Brittni Thomas, and Katrina Meehan took third place in the 4x160 with a time of 1:21.30. The Rebels then took second place in the 4x800 and first place in the 4x400, to complete a strong day of relays for SK.
North's Alison Lofgren took fourth place in the shot put, and Meagan McGovern finished third in the weight throw.
They're working as hard as anybody, and they both have another year in our program, so hopefully they can become among the best in the state, Kells said of Lofgren and McGovern. I'm confident their efforts will pay off.
Exeter junior Amy Hutchinson won the high jump at five feet. SK's Shannon Meehan took second (5-0), and E-WG junior Mary Creegan placed fifth (4-06).
The local teams are back in action tomorrow in the Class Meets. The following week, the RIIL's best will converge on the campus of URI for the State Championships. Joining North as top contenders for the girls' state title will be La Salle, Cumberland, and Classical.
La Salle, Cumberland, and Classical are all very deep teams, said Kells. Right now, we're just trying to maximize our state points, like everyone else.