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ON CAMPUS: Ross off to fast start

January 30, 2014

Photo Courtesy of La Salle University

Nick Ross didn’t compete with the La Salle University men’s track team last year but his early performance during this indoor season shows that he didn’t get rusty.
Ross, from East Greenwich (East Greenwich High), kicked off the indoor campaign by winning the 3,000 meter run at the Great Dane Classic at the Armory in New York City. His 8:26.78 effort was an IC4A qualifying time. He followed that up by finishing fourth in the mile (4:13.01) and running the anchor leg as the 4.x800 relay finished second at the Georgetown Hoya Spike Shoe Club Invitational in Washington, DC. However, Ross is coming off a standout season in cross country, finishing fourth in the Atlantic-10 Championships and 32nd out of 179 runners in the NCAA Division I Mid-Atlantic race.
“Nick has had a great start to the indoor season,” coach Dan Ireland said. “We are excited about his outlook this season. He red-shirted both indoor and outdoor track last year.”
The coach will have Ross concentrate on the mile, 3k and with the 4x800 and distance medley relay.
“Our goals are for him to win an individual event at the league championships and also be a member of at least one winning relay team,” Ireland said.
The Atlantic-10 Indoor Championships are set for Feb. 22-23 in Kingston.

For the second time this season, freshman Justin Pratt has been named Empire 8 Conference Rookie of the Week for his play with the Hartwick men’s basketball team.
Pratt, from North Kingstown (North Kingstown High), earned his latest effort by scoring 19 points against both Stevens and Alfred and eight points in a game against Houghton – all Hartwick victories. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound guard was 17-for-26 (.654) from the field and hit 11 3-pointers.
 “Justin has really shot the ball well the last few games,” coach Todd McGuinness said. “Against Stevens, he came up big in both halves and his late three helped seal the victory (74-68). Against Alfred, Justin took advantage of some open looks and knocked them down.”
The coach sees Pratt’s all-around game improving, too.
“Justin is passing the ball well and handling the pressure of the other teams,” McGuinness said. “He has really helped on offense and is starting to understand that he needs to play a little defense at times.”
In 16 games off the bench, Pratt is averaging 5.8 points and 1.9 rebounds for the Hawks who are 12-6 overall and 6-1 in conference play.

Freshman Vanessa Scalora of Narragansett (Narragansett High and Aim High Academy) was named ECAC Division III Rookie of the Week for her efforts with the Ursinus College women’s gymnastics team. In just her second collegiate meet, she posted a 9.475 to finish second in floor exercise in a 183.350-170.60 victory over Ithaca.
“Vanessa’s progress from her first competition was exemplary,” coach Jeff Schepers said.
Last weekend, Scalora competed in the All-Around in a meet against Springfield and Ithaca and posted a score of 36.625 to finish fourth. She had 9.400 on bars, 9.175 on beam and floor and 8.875 on vault.
“Vanessa came to Ursinus as one of the top recruits of the season and she is certainly living up to that expectation,” Schepers said. “I believe she will have a stellar career here.”

Ryan Thomas and the Emmanuel 4x200 relay have qualified for the Division III New England Championships in indoor track now the junior from Wakefield (South Kingstown High) is working hard to qualify in his two individual events – the 60 meter hurdles and the 400 meter dash.
Thomas posted a 9.18 time in the hurdles at the Tufts Invitational. He finished 10th.
“Our goal is to get Ryan under 8.90,” coach Tony DaRocha said. “That time would qualify him for the New Englands.”
Thomas just missed the New England qualifying mark when he opened the season with a 51.90 effort in the 400.
“Ryan had a breakout season outdoors last year and we are hoping to improve upon that,” DaRocha said.
Thomas finished third in 400 hurdles at last year’s New England Outdoor Championship and finished the season as the 23rd ranked hurdler in Division III, missing the nationals by 300th of a second.

Ben DiNobile is running with the Bridgewater State men’s track team this winter. DiNobile, from East Greenbush (Toll Gate), finished 17th out of 45 runners in the mile (4:52.13) at the UMass-Boston Season Opener.
“Ben is a great kid with a strong work ethic and we expect him to be a contributor as a freshman,” coach TJ Smith said. “He had a steady cross country season and we expect him to improve indoors. College track is in many ways very different from high school but so far he has made the transition well. We are better for having Ben on the team.”
The Bears are competing in the Tufts Stampede Friday and Saturday in Medford, MA.

Sophomore Chris Millman of East Greenwich (East Greenwich High) kicked off the season with the Colby indoor track team by finishing 12th in the 3,000 meter run in a meet against Bates and MIT. His time was 9:27.53.
“Chris is first and foremost a great teammate,” coach Jared Beers said. “His attitude and personality make him at least 50 percent more valuable to us.”
Millman had a solid cross country season last fall.
“Chris improved over a minute during the season to solidify himself in our top 12,” Beers said.
The Mules return to action Saturday for the Maine Championships in Brunswick.

Sophomore Claire O’Brien of Saunderstown (North Kingstown) is competing with the St. Joseph’s, ME women’s swim team. She scores points in the 50, 100 and 500 freestyle and with the 200 free and 200 medley teams.
“Claire has improved greatly,” coach Rick Hayes said. “Her work ethic in the pool and in the class room has been great and I have seen improvements in both. She should be ending the season with career best times.”
Freshman Brittany Dalphonse of Coventry (St. Mary Academy) is also on the squad. She competes in the butterfly and with the relay teams.
“Brittany has swum hard,” Hayes said. “She has been dealing with a nagging foot injury but has done well working around it and trying to get better each meet. We look forward to her future growth in the sport and on the team.”
The Monks are at Gordon College Saturday in Wenham, MA

Bill Arsenault is a freelance columnist for Southern Rhode Island Newspapers and can by reached by e-mail at

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