N.S.’s Beauchemin captures state title in 55-meter hurdles

N.S.’s Beauchemin captures state title in 55-meter hurdles

North Smithfield senior Aidan Beauchemin, right, gets ready to clear the final hurdle, a split second ahead of his teammate, junior Ray Marsella, during the finals of the 55-meter hurdles at last Saturday morning’s state championship meet in Providence. Beauchemin claimed the event in a personal-best time of 7.96 seconds that topped the runner-up finisher, Marsella, by 0.21 of a second. (Photo by Chuck Nadeau / www.chuckn.com)
Senior makes school history as Northmen rule event by taking three of top four spots

PROVIDENCE – As a sophomore and a junior on the North Smithfield High boys’ soccer team, Aidan Beauchemin experienced the sorrow and heartbreak of being on the losing end of back-to-back Division II championship games – both times in overtime.

As a senior on the Northmen’s indoor track and field team, Beauchemin was finally able to savor the joy and thrill of a championship – and become the first athlete in the program’s five-year history to capture a state title.

Competing in the 55-meter hurdles during last Saturday’s RIIL Championships at the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house, Beauchemin followed up a dominant performance in the preliminaries by taking first place in the finals in 7.96 seconds.

Beauchemin became the third individual in the school’s history to win an individual state title. Swimmer Sara Gendron, who is a junior on the Bryant University women’s team, captured her title in the 100-yard butterfly in 2018, and gymnast Donna Ferra won three straight all-around championships from 1981-83.

“I’ve been working for this all season,” said Beauchemin, who also earned All-State honors in soccer last fall. “I owe it all to my coaches because they pushed me so hard, and it’s just such a good feeling. I never expected to win this, but it’s awesome.”

Beauchemin, who entered the meet as the event’s top seed, thanks to his time of 8.11 seconds earlier in the season, ruled the prelims by turning in a time of 8.08 seconds that was 0.24 of a second quicker than the next hurdler, his teammate, junior Ray Marsella.

And Beauchemin and Marsella weren’t the only Northmen in the finals. Senior Matt Stamatelatos netted the fourth-fastest time in 8.41 seconds, meaning that North Smithfield was going to be well represented in the fourth, fifth, and sixth lanes of the eight-man race.

“We’re one of the smallest schools in Rhode Island, and here comes three of us in the state finals,” said Beauchemin. “It was amazing having us all there. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

As he did in the finals, Beauchemin left no doubt as to who was going to win the championship. His time topped the runner-up finisher, Marsella, by 0.21 of a second, and after Barrington senior Jackson Duffy took third place in 8.38 seconds, Stamatelatos placed fourth in 8.40.

It was the first time Beauchemin cracked the elusive eight-second barrier, but he didn’t have much time to celebrate that achievement. After quickly accepting congratulations from Marsella and Stamatelatos, he jogged around the track and back to the starting blocks for the finals of the 55-meter dash.

Beauchemin, who had the seventh-fastest time in the prelims in that event (6.8 seconds), also finished in seventh place in the finals in a personal-best time of 6.78 seconds – just missing a spot on the awards podium by 0.01 of a second.

Also placing in the top 15 of their events were N.S. junior Jackie deRonde, who finished 11th in the girls’ high jump with a 4-foot-8 leap, and the Mount Saint Charles boys’ 4x400 relay squad of seniors Charles Dakai, Ethan Alexander, and Ben Happenny and junior Isaiah Smith, which took 13th in 3:51.40.