Kipyego returns, but Saints take second at Class C indoor meet

Kipyego returns, but Saints take second at Class C indoor meet

Disqualification in last relay event ruins boys’ track team’s bid to repeat as champions; Mongeau excels for SRA girls’ squad

PROVIDENCE – An eventful day at the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house featured a bizarre conclusion to last Saturday’s Class C boys’ championship meet that saw a disqualification in the final event, the 4x400 relay, lead to St. Raphael Academy falling three points shy of repeating as class champions.

The Saints, Westerly, and the eventual Class C champion, Smithfield, left everything on the floor in that event, and when SRA’s anchor leg, senior Darius Kipyego, pictured, crossed the finish line first, it looked like the Saints had the points they needed to clinch their title.

But after some time with no announcement, there were no celebrations, but just wonderment. SRA head coach Chris Magill was then informed that on a technicality, which saw the Saints use a runner in that race that had been scratched from an earlier event, his team was instead DQ-ed. Westerly was the event’s winner, and Smithfield, which had placed third, moved up to second place, and as a result, ended the meet atop the standings with 92 points.

It was a tough way for the Saints to end such an outstanding meet, especially with Kipyego making his return to action since suffering a stress fracture in his foot 2 1/2 months ago. Itching to compete, he ran in the 55-meter dash and the 600 and on the Saints’ 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams.

He wanted to do anything the Saints needed him to do to defend the championship. Smithfield and SRA have had a little rivalry going, especially after the Sentinels topped the Saints for the Class C title during last cross country season. Kipyego wanted some revenge, but he was also just happy to be back competing.

“I wasn’t coming out here with expectations,” said Kipyego, who will continue his running career at Iowa State University. “I was just coming out here to see what I could do. Honestly, I didn’t really have any nerves. It was more excitement to get back on a track and show everyone I’m still here and fighting for the top spot and I didn’t really lose that much despite being out.”

Kipyego helped the Saints get off to a strong start by joining seniors C.J. Magill and Alexander Bautista, and his brother, sophomore Devan Kipyego, on the 4x800 relay squad that won its race in a time of 9:15.29.

After that relay, Kipyego had some down time before the preliminaries of the 55-meter dash. Kipyego had never competed in that race before, but once he saw that his time of 6.82 seconds in the prelims topped the rest of the field, he knew he was ready for whatever needed to be done.

He eventually won that event by posting a time of 6.75 seconds that was 0.26 of a second faster than the runner-up finisher. And after capturing the last two Class C titles in the 600, Kipyego was unseeded in last Saturday’s event, but still went after it and placed second in a time of 1:27.55.

The Saints also saw junior Jack Pereira win the 1,500 in a time of 4:16.79 and place second in the 1,000 in 2:47.56. Sophomore Ethan McCann-Carter took the high jump with a 5-foot-8 leap and finished third in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.77 seconds, and his classmate, Pedro Mayol, captured the 300 in 38.9 seconds.

Sophomore Andrew Worden also placed third in the 3,000 (9:47.11), and adding fourth places were Octavio Rodriguez-Cepparo in the shot put (35-2) and the 4x200 relay team.

“Everyone did a heck of a job,” Kipyego said. “Some people went above and beyond.”

“The boys were amazing,” said the SRA head coach. “I had to get creative with the lineup, and all the great performances were amazing.”

In the girls’ Small Schools meet, Westerly, which took fourth place in last season’s Medium Schools meet, took home the title with 87 points, nine more than second-place Bay View Academy. SRA placed third with 52 points and Smithfield came in fourth with 45.

“I think they did fantastic,” Magill noted. “The girls really stepped it up, and a top-three finish in the class (meet) is unbelievable. It was just an all-around effort. We’re starting to put together a complete team here at St. Raphael, and I’m pretty excited.”

SRA senior Rachael Mongeau competed in four events and repeated as the Small Schools champion in her first event, the 3,000 meters, as she beat out Blackstone Valley Prep junior Lucy Noris with her winning time of 10:48.01. Instead of pulling away from the group, Mongeau stayed with Noris and pulled away in the second-to-last lap.

“I thought that was a very smart plan,” Mongeau remarked. “I didn’t come up with it; (Magill) told me the plan for the 3K, and I just trusted him. In the beginning, it felt pretty difficult, especially because of the mask, so I was a little wary, but it felt pretty good toward the end.”

Mongeau, who will continue her running career at Monmouth University, also took second place in the 1,000 (3:21.44) and 1,500 (5:15.31) and helped the Saints’ 4x400 relay team conclude the meet with a sixth-place finish.

Magill said that not only did Mongeau step up again, but they also had a bunch of girls do so as well in other events, including junior Elizabeth Murphy, who placed second in the high jump with a 4-foot-10 leap. Adding fourth places were junior Valeria Uribe in the 600 (1:52.32), sophomore Tyla Forbes in the 1,500 (5:39.59), and the 4x200 and 4x800 relay teams.

The Saints will be back at the PCTA this weekend at the ‘Last Chance’ qualifier on Friday night, the junior varsity state championship meet on Saturday, and the freshman state meet on Sunday afternoon. The state championship meet is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 27.

St. Raphael Academy senior Rachael Mongeau, right, puts some distance between her and the rest of the field as she gets ready to win the 3,000 meters in a time of 10:48.01 at last Saturday’s Small Schools championship meet. Mongeau also placed second in the 1,000 and 1,500 meters.