Smithfield squads storm out to 6-0 start

Smithfield squads storm out to 6-0 start

Left, Smithfield senior Ethan Maione, #64, makes his move on teammate Jason Padula as they sprint toward the finish line during last Saturday’s Northern Division meet at Deerfield Park. Maione won the boys’ race in a time of 17:07 that was four seconds faster than Padula. Center, Smithfield freshman Julia Cavanaugh won the girls’ race in a time of 22:41, and right, classmate Caroline Bosco placed third in 23:14. (Breeze photos by Eric Benevides)
Cross country teams return to Deerfield Park to top Lincoln, Ponaganset, Davies

SMITHFIELD – The Smithfield High boys’ and girls’ cross country teams were happy to be back at Deerfield Park last Saturday for their Northern Division home openers, and that happiness showed in some of the times that the Sentinels clocked on their 3.1-mile course.

Both teams improved to 6-0 by sweeping Lincoln, Ponaganset, and Davies. The boys swept the first seven spots, and 11 of the top 12 places, to blank their three opponents by 15-50 scores, and the girls grabbed seven of the top 11 spots in their race to top Ponaganset by a 21-37 score and also shut out Lincoln and Davies.

In their season openers seven days earlier at Scituate’s Manning Field, the boys’ and girls’ teams downed North Smithfield, Woonsocket, and the host Spartans, but did so on a course that most coaches throughout the division regard as one of the tougher trails in northern Rhode Island.

When the Sentinels returned to Deerfield last Saturday, the boys’ team saw their top 10 runners shave at least 10 seconds off the times they produced in Scituate – and eight chop off more than 20 – and the top four girls were able to better their times from the previous week by at least 31 seconds.

“It was good to be back here,” added Smithfield girls’ coach John Marchand. “We ran a team road race that was measured at 3.4 (miles) two weeks ago, and then we ran at Scituate, which has a very challenging course that’s going to affect your times.”

The girls’ race kicked off the day’s festivities, and as they did in their season opener, the freshmen led the charge for the Sentinels. Julia Cavanaugh claimed the race in a time of 22:41 to top the second-place finisher, Lincoln freshman Sequoia Drolet, by 15 seconds; Caroline Bosco took third place in a time of 23:14, and Sadie DeMaggio placed seventh in 24:21.

The Chieftains, who came into the meet with a 3-1 record, made things interesting by grabbing the fourth and fifth places behind senior Liana Nerbonne (23:41) and Courtney Carlson (23:51), but the Sentinels clinched their victories when DeMaggio, sophomore Lillie McCormick (24:41), and freshman Talia Cost (24:59) swept the seventh through ninth places.

Also placing in the top 15 were Ponaganset junior Megan Gray (24:59), Smithfield junior Alana Urizar (26:26), Ponaganset senior Sophie Tirrell (27:03), Smithfield junior Audrey Turcotte (27:45), Ponaganset junior Megan Rinaldi (27:45), and senior Kathryn Rizzo (28:28). With six runners in the top 15, the Chieftains were able to defeat Lincoln and Davies.

Only 10 runners make up the Sentinels’ roster this season, but six are freshmen and two are sophomores, and in that group, Marchand thinks his squad has “legitimately four or five girls that could step up and be our number one runner.”

“We’re in a good situation,” he continued. “There’s no pressure in terms of expecting to win any championships, and it allows us to do things the right way and hopefully build a cornerstone and a foundation for a good future and try to be competitive in the years to come.”

In the boys’ race, senior Ethan Maione won the race by pulling away from freshman Jason Padula down the stretch and posting a time of 17:07 than was four seconds faster than Padula’s clocking. Both runners also chopped more than 50 seconds off their times from the previous weekend.

Placing third in 17:35 was sophomore Elijah Saddlemire. Senior Aidan Sayles, who had missed some time with a knee ailement, took fourth in a time of 17:54 that was nearly a full minute faster than his race in Scituate, and his classmate, Zach Isble, sealed the shutout by finishing fifth in 18:06.

Grabbing the sixth and seventh places for Smithfield were junior Dante DiGregorio (18:12) and sophomore Reilly Bennett (18:23), and sweeping the ninth through 12th places were juniors Unwana Okokon (18:38), Aiden Powers (18:40), and Tyler Rose (18:41) and sophomore Camden Maione (18:53).

“I’m very pleased,” said Smithfield boys’ coach Joe Bennett. “The kids ran well and they’re coming along. We’re obviously pleased with the way Ethan ran. Jason has come a long way – he has a huge heart and a lot of talent – and Elijah’s made the biggest jump on the team. We have a good group and we have some talent out here in the (junior varsity) group, so it’s exciting.”

Ponaganset, which suffered a 19-40 loss to Lincoln, but defeated Davies, 21-40, saw freshman Jeremy Roe take 13th place in 19:03 and classmate Nicholas Olszewski place 16th in 19:51.

Both the Smithfield boys and girls’ teams will be back in action on Saturday at Deerfield Park for a 3:30 p.m. meet that also includes North Providence, Central Falls, and Burrillville. The following weekend, they will head to the Monastery in Cumberland to face the also-unbeaten CHS boys’ and girls’ teams and Mount Saint Charles, which boys are also undefeated and girls own a 5-1 record.

“Cumberland and Mount have very good teams,” Bennett said. “We have big aspirations (to qualify) for the states, so we’ll see what happens.”