Sentinel Striders await return trip to national cross country meet

Sentinel Striders await return trip to national cross country meet

Two boys’ teams, several runners qualify for USATF Championships on Dec. 14

NEW YORK – In what’s turned into an annual tradition for the Sentinel Striders, the Smithfield-based youth running club will again send a large contingent to the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships.

Competing in the Region 1 Championships on Sunday at Sunken Meadow State Park in Long Island, N.Y., not only did the Striders’ ages 15-18 and 13-14 boys’ teams qualify for the national meet by placing in the top three of their age groups, but several runners also earned individual berths in their respective races.

And for the second straight meet, Cumberland’s Kiley DeFusco, who attends De La Salle Middle School, convincingly won the girls’ 11-12 race by topping a field of 120 runners on the 1.86-mile course in a time of 10:41.

Not only was DeFusco’s time seven seconds faster than her winning time in the previous week’s New England meet at Deerfield Park, but she also topped the runner-up finisher by 17 seconds.

Also seizing third place in the boys’ ages 8-under 2,000-meter run was Smithfield’s Colin Smith, who clocked a time of 9:18 that was two seconds behind the runner-up finisher. The first-place time was eight minutes flat.

The Striders’ 15-16 team took second place in its race with 61 points, 24 fewer than first-place Green Mountain Athletic Association of Vermont, and saw Smithfield High junior Ethan Maione lead the way by placing seventh on the 3.1-mile route in 16:54.

Two of his classmates also took spots in the top 50: Aidan Sayles placed 20th in 17:39 and Chris Olean finished 48th in 19 minutes.

As for the 13-14 team, five Smithfield runners placed in the top 45 to help the Striders score 96 points and capture third place, just six more than the runner-up Nashua (N.H.) PAL Striders. The Waltham (Mass.) Track Club won the meet with 32 points.

Smithfield High freshman Elijah Saddlemire took 28th place in the 2.48-mile race in 14:02, and not very far behind him were Cam Maione (31st, 14:07), Grady McGinnis (33rd, 14:10), David Parenteau (42nd, 14:22), and Reilly Bennett (44th, 14:37).

Also finishing in the top 25 and qualifying for the national meet were Scituate’s Andrew Bettez, who finished 19th in the boys’ 9-10’s 1.86-mile race (12:03), Smithfield’s Will Lally, who placed 22nd in the boys’ 8-under race (8:58), and Smithfield’s Meaghan Bennett, who was 24th in the girls’ 9-10 race (13:07).

The national meet will be held on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Yahara Hills Golf Course in Madison, Wisc.