Track and field returns at RITCA meet

Track and field returns at RITCA meet

Cumberland’s Owen Molis gets ready to clear the bar on a 6-foot attempt during the high jump competition at last week’s RITCA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Conley Stadium. Molis took second place in that event and the 400 meters in 53.62 seconds. (Breeze photo by Eric Benevides)
Carpenter wins 800, Cumberland athletes grab top-three places at two-day event

PROVIDENCE – For someone who enjoys competing in track and field and bringing out his best in some of the region’s biggest meets, last week’s RITCA Outdoor Track & Field Championships was truly a sight for sore eyes for Cumberland High senior-to-be Owen Molis.

Like every high school athlete who competes in a sport during the spring, watching the COVID-19 pandemic erase this past season was truly a downer for Molis, who competes in multiple events for the Clippers and “was expecting some pretty big things” from his 4x800 relay team.

But last Thursday afternoon, Molis joined two of his CHS teammates, juniors-to-be Ethan Carpenter and Henry Dennen, for the second day of the two-day meet at Mount Pleasant High’s newly refurbished Conley Stadium, and he was overjoyed to lace up his spikes and compete on the stadium’s new track and turf surface.

“I definitely miss it,” said Molis. “I’d say outdoor (track) is my favorite season, and it was tough (this spring) not having the opportunity to run out there with my team and see what we could have done. But it’s really nice to have a little meet like this and be able to run some official times.”

Social distancing and overall safety were the names of the game for everyone at this meet, from the athletes to the officials and the small scattering of fans who took in the action. Everyone who wasn’t competing was sporting a mask, and once they walked into the facility, they were required to have their temperatures checked and answer questions about their overall health on a form that they had to sign and hand to an official at the entrance.

As for the athletes on hand, most of them took part in the throwing events on the meet’s opening day, which was held last Wednesday, Aug. 5, at Jorge Alvarez High. As for last Thursday’s track and jumping events, only the boys’ 100, 200, and 3,200-meter runs drew double figures in participants.

Last Thursday’s action saw Carpenter, who took Second-Team All-State honors in cross country last year, win the boys’ 800 meters in a time of 2:02.49. He was 6.11 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Jack Chausse of the Prout School.

Molis, meanwhile, took second places in multiple events, the boys’ 400 meters in 53.62 seconds and the high jump in six feet. Nationally ranked St. Raphael Academy senior-to-be Darius Kipyego captured the 400 in 49.34, while Bishop Hendricken’s John Santos took the high jump with a 6-foot-2 leap.

In the boys’ 3,000, recent Classical High graduate Conor Murphy, who is the son of Cumberland High girls’ cross country/track and field coach Vanessa Molloy, ran away with the event in a time of 8:49.76. Taking the next two places were two more Second-Team All-Staters in cross country last fall, Dennen, whose time was 9:13.56, and Cumberland native and La Salle Academy junior-to-be Jack Casey, who finished in 9:16.35.

Lincoln High sophomore-to-be Oliver Fillion also placed eighth in the boys’ 400 in 57.91 seconds.

The previous day’s throwing events saw Cumberland High senior-to-be Nicolette Ducharme and Lincoln High graduates Jackie Andrews and Allison Plante enjoy superb meets and each place among the top seven in three events.

In the shot put, Ducharme took runner-up honors with a throw of 36-11¾ that was 16¾ inches behind the winner, three-time RIIL shot put champion and Smithfield High graduate Kendra Ezeama. Ducharme also placed fifth in the hammer with a throw of 143-9 and seventh in the discus with an 83-foot toss.

Andrews, who will continue her throwing career at Rhode Island College, took fourth in the shot put (30-8¾), fifth in the discus (88-5), and sixth in the hammer (141 feet), and Plante, who will throw at Sacred Heart University, placed fourth in the hammer (144-9) and sixth in the shot (29-1¾) and discus (87-1).

In the boys’ hammer, Phil Coppolino, who recently graduated from Cumberland High and will continue his track and field career at Cornell University, took second place with a throw of 200-9 that put him in 13th place in the national rankings.

It appeared that Coppolino was on his way to victory, but Barrington’s William Cauley, who is currently ranked sixth in the nation in the event, captured the title by delivering a throw of 205-11 on his final attempt.

Also competing in that event was Cumberland High senior-to-be Tom Goggins, who took fifth place with a 178-foot throw.