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PROVIDENCE â€“ Itâ€™s official; North Kingstownâ€™s boys indoor track team is definitely a contender for the state championship.
With the times they put up during Saturdayâ€™s Southern Division Championship at the Providence Career and Technical Academy, thereâ€™s certainly reason to put them in the running for state champs.
The Skippers blew the division away with a final tally of 163 points, coming in first over Charihoâ€™s 99 and Rogers with 42.
Not only did North take the division, the Skippers took first in nine out of the 14 events that were scored and earned points in every one.
â€śGreat performance, weâ€™re very, very happy,â€ť NK coach Charlie Breagy said after the meet. â€śWe set out to do some things today and it happened.â€ť
One of those things Breagy and the team set out to tackle was the 4x200-meter relay. Seniors Ben Stewart, Zach Emrich, Jose Gibayeaux and junior Joe Craven went out against fierce competition from Narragansett, Chariho, Portsmouth and Coventry, but the Skippers pulled through and took first with a three-second lead and a finish time of 1:34.30.
â€śThe 4x200, thatâ€™s the one we wanted today,â€ť Breagy said,â€ť and it went well, so weâ€™re happy.â€ť
As if that was not a sufficient dayâ€™s work, Stewart went out and placed first in three more individual events, and Emrich in another two. Along with the relay triumph, Stewart took first in the long jump with his 20-foot, 5 3/4-inch leap and he won the 300 dash in 37.03. However, his biggest accomplishment of the meet was his first place win in the hurdles, which will earn him new respect statewide.
Stewartâ€™s 8.02-second finish time sets him up to be a real contender in the state meet, as well as ranking first in Rhode Island for that event.
With still weeks of practice before the state meet, Stewart has a good chance of claiming that title to top off his stellar senior indoor track career.
â€śHeâ€™s looking really good,â€ť Breagy said. â€śHeâ€™s getting quicker and heâ€™s improving every week. His times and his performances today were incredible.â€ť
Also earning significant praise at Saturdayâ€™s meet was Emrich. The future Brown University athlete racked up some serious points for the Skippers with his wins in the 1,000 (2:46.5) and 600 (1:29.60).
Both Emrich and Stewart humbly accepted congratulations and handled the weight of several gold medals with ease. For these two, itâ€™s not about the applause or awards.
â€śWe focus on the times,â€ť Stewart said.
In Jason Flanaganâ€™s case, the focus is on distance. The sophomore broke his person best in the weight throw by over four feet, winning the event with a throw of 61-8 1/2. Fellow Skipper junior Glen Vallee placed third with his throw of 51-10, bringing in more points for NK.
Another win came from the 4x800 team of juniors Ian Connors and Ben Sawyer, sophomore Nicholas Musumecki and senior Dallin Smith, finishing at 8:50.50. Smith also took the 1,500 with a time of 4:19.90.
Carney fell two places back in the 3,000, the event he took by surprise a week before, taking third on Saturday with a solid 9:47.20 final time.
Overall, Breagy was raving about the quality of his team as athletes and as individuals. A self-sufficient and hard-working bunch, the boys learned from what Breagy called an early meet and came back to PCTA at 9 a.m. to take names.
â€śThey learned from last week,â€ť Breagy said. â€śThey all went to bed early and had breakfast so I have to give them all credit; they acted like a championship team.â€ť
About the meet and his Skippers as a whole, Breagy summed it up in five words,
â€śIt was a championship performance.â€ť