Amazing again: dosReis, Ezeama claim state titles

Amazing again: dosReis, Ezeama claim state titles

Smithfield High junior Kendra Ezeama holds her shot put and flashes a winning smile as she stands next to a sign that displays her first-place throw of 39 feet, five inches at last Saturday afternoon’s RIIL Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Brown University. (Breeze photos by Eric Benevides)
Smithfield athletes rule events at RIIL Outdoor Track & Field Championships

PROVIDENCE – The script from this past February’s RIIL Indoor Track & Field Championships turned out to be the same one at last Saturday afternoon’s state outdoor meet at Brown University.

Smithfield resident and La Salle Academy senior Joe dosReis and Smithfield High junior Kendra Ezeama, who captured state championships during the indoor season, stepped atop the awards podium again by taking first place in their respective events.

For dosReis, who will continue his superb running career at Division I Davidson College in North Carolina, he used a strong final lap to win the boys’ 1,500 meters in a time of 4:02.11. That performance was part of an exceptional afternoon that also saw him finish third in the 800 in 1:55.30 and help the Rams’ 4x400 relay team place second.

The final heat of the 1,500 turned into one of the most exciting events on the track, as dosReis jockeyed with North Kingstown senior Sam Toolin and Bishop Hendricken junior David DelBonis for the lead.

With a lap to go, Toolin took the lead on dosReis, but dosReis responded with a strong kick to pull away from Toolin, who finished 1.97 seconds behind him, and DelBonis, who ended up .07 of a second behind Toolin.

“My plan was to just see how (the race) went out,” dosReis said after receiving his championship medal. “It went out pretty slow, so I took the lead, just to make it a little bit faster. With about 600 (meters) to go, I felt a little push in the back, and with 400 to go, Sam took the lead, so I knew I had to stick right on him to try to win.”

The state championship was the fourth in dosReis’s career. He won the state cross country title last fall and became a two-time indoor champion in the 1,500. He even became a New England champion in the mile this past March, but in terms of his latest title, “I never won an outdoor state championship before, so it feels good to finally get it,” he added.

Ezeama, who became the third member of her family to win a state title when she won the girls’ indoor shot put 3½ months ago, completed her indoor-outdoor sweep of the event by taking top honors with a throw of 39 feet, five inches.

Prout senior Sarah Mitchell, who took second to Ezeama in the indoor meet, did so again last weekend, as her best throw was 38-¾.

“I was trying to throw farther,” admitted Ezeama, who had captured her indoor title with a throw of 40-2¾. “But I did my best and I’m really happy. I feel privileged to have great coaching – I’m really grateful for Mr. (John) Sliney and Mr. (John) Marchand for really pushing me to the limits, and I’m really happy that I am in great health to perform as well as I have today.”

Ezeama, like dosReis, had a sensational day that also saw her take third place in the discus with a throw of 116-8 and crack the top 10 in the hammer with a throw of 136-1. She entered the week ranked 31st in the nation in the hammer with her PR of 147-5.

Ezeama’s performance helped the Sentinels place 11th out of 18 schools in the team standings with 18 points, with the rest of the points coming from Graesyn Fontaine’s fifth place in the triple jump (34-2¾).

Only one other local athlete came away with a medal, Scituate’s Lily Borin, who is a freshman on the La Salle Academy girls’ team. She placed sixth in the girls’ 1,500 in a time of 4:58.18.

Three members of the Smithfield girls’ team just missed earning a spot on the podium: Sophia Harrison (pole vault, 8-6) and Bryant University-bound Anna Orticerio (hammer, 150-9) finished seventh in their events, and Grace Beaudry placed eighth in the 100-meter hurdles (16.2 seconds) and ninth in the 300-meter hurdles (49.26).

Ponaganset had two athletes grab top-10 finishes: Angie Colasante placed ninth in the girls’ javelin (101-10), and Ben Mancini was 10th in the boys’ long jump (19-8¼).

Most of the athletes who finished in the top six of their events will be back in action at Saturday’s 74th annual New England Championships at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine.

Smithfield native and La Salle Academy senior Joe dosReis, left, has a comfortable lead on the rest of the field as he gets ready to win the 1,500 meters in a time of 4:02.11.