McLoughlin takes second at R.I. cross country meet

McLoughlin takes second at R.I. cross country meet

Cumberland native and La Salle Academy junior Jack McLoughlin, #125, does his best to catch up to Bishop Hendricken senior Luke Henseler in the final 50 yards of last Saturday afternoon’s RIIL Championships at Ponaganset High. Henseler won the 3.1-mile race in a time of 15:22.7 that edged McLoughlin by four-fifths of a second. (Breeze photo by Eric Benevides)
Cumberland runner helps La Salle boys’ team claim RIIL championship; Mongeau, Casey also cop All-State honors

NORTH SCITUATE – Jack McLoughlin became a two-time First-Team All-State cross country runner at last Saturday afternoon’s RIIL Championships at Ponaganset High.

McLoughlin also almost became a state champion.

The Cumberland native and La Salle Academy junior, who took fourth place at last year’s state meet, found himself locked in an exciting battle for first place with Bishop Hendricken senior Luke Henseler, but when the 3.1-mile race hit the Chieftains’ football field for the final 100 yards, Henseler outkicked McLoughlin and crossed the finish line with a winning time of 15:22.7 that nipped McLoughlin by four-fifths of a second.

“Luke and I were really working together for the last 800 meters,” McLoughlin said. “It was really gutsy – both of us just going for it. I’m not really a big kick guy; I don’t have a big sprint. Coming around with like 300 (meters) to go, I said, ‘If I don’t take it here, I’m not going to have a chance at it,’ so I just tried it, and Luke ran great and came out of here with a ‘W’.”

McLoughlin was all smiles after the boys’ race, not just because of his fantastic finish, but also because the Rams ran away with the team title. Placing five runners in the top eight, La Salle scored 26 points to topple Hendricken, which was seeking its third straight title, by 39.

“This year’s really been about the team,” said McLoughlin, who was an 8th-grader at Mercymount Country Day the last time the Rams seized the state championship. “Our team’s very good, (ranked) fifth in the country, so it’s really not like an individual thing for us. It’s just seven guys trying to make an impact on the rest of the country.”

All eyes will be on McLoughlin and the Rams in their bid to compete for a national title toward the end of the month, but in the meantime, they will be pursuing regional glory at the 85th annual New England Championships on Saturday afternoon at Wickham Park in Manchester, Conn.

“We’re definitely excited for the races to come,” said McLoughlin, who placed fourth in the 3,000 meters at this past June’s RIIL Outdoor Track & Field Championships. “We’re going to be happy about the state championship, but we’re not going to hold ourselves to it for too long. We’re just going to get focused on next week.”

While the Rams grabbed five of the top eight places, they also saw their sixth runner grab 10th place and claim Second-Team All-State honors, Cumberland native Jack Casey, who posted a time of 16:10.44. A leg injury put a damper on Casey’s freshman year with the Rams, but McLoughlin offered praise for Casey’s excellent sophomore season, which includes an 8th-place finish of 16:11.29 at the previous weekend’s Class A championship meet.

“Jack’s been really good,” said McLoughlin, who took fourth place at the Class A meet in 15:43.17. “For him to come back like that from his leg injury last year, he’s been pretty impressive out there.”

Another local runner from a school outside the area also earned First-Team All-State honors and was in the hunt for the girls’ championship, Cumberland resident Rachael Mongeau, who is a junior and a two-time All-Stater and Class C champion at St. Raphael Academy.

Mongeau hooked up in a battle with La Salle junior Kaylie Armitage and Barrington senior Caroline Livingston. Armitage eventually pulled away and won the race in a time of 18:24.03 that was 4.03 seconds quicker than Livingston and seven seconds faster than Mongeau.

Also competing in the girls’ race was Cumberland resident and La Salle junior Molly Bourke. She took 73rd place in 21:58.10.