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Seniors Karly Gregory and Victor Ricci have been the unquestioned front runners of the Prout girls and boys track teams, respectively, for the past few years.
This spring the Crusaders‚Äô duo will be looking to make their final impressions on their standout high school careers.
‚ÄúEach one wants to make a mark before they leave,‚ÄĚ Prout coach Mark Skinkle said by phone Tuesday morning. ‚ÄúI‚Äôd be remiss if I said otherwise.‚ÄĚ
For the ultra motivated Gregory she has a little extra incentive heading into the outdoor track season, coming away slightly disappointed with a second place performance in the long jump at indoor states.
‚ÄúShe‚Äôs an A-type personality on the track so as motivated as she was before she‚Äôs
doing a lot more running,‚ÄĚ Skinkle says, ‚Äúand I think it‚Äôs going to make her stronger.‚ÄĚ
Along with Gregory junior Jess Elliott is back as one of the top distance runners in the state. Elliott missed nearly the entire cross country and start of indoor seasons with knee problems but according to Skinkle is back running the way she is capable of.
Elliott and Gregory provide major point scorers for the Crusaders ‚Äď who are coming off their best indoor track season ever ‚Äď and should help Prout compete for a Class C Championship.
Challenging the top half of the Southern Division ‚Äď which includes the likes of Westerly, Coventry, South and North Kingstown ‚Äď is likely out of the question but with the depth Prout has it should be fairly competitive with the rest of the division.
Seniors Kelley Magill and Emma McConnell, junior Ally Chretien, sophomore Courtney Moffitt and freshman Caitlin Gosciminski should be consistent point scorers for the Crusaders on the oval, while seniors Jackie Tousignant, Erin Viera and junior Gabby MacLeod will anchor the throwing events.
‚ÄúThey‚Äôre not the front runners per se,‚ÄĚ Skinkle said, ‚Äúbut they‚Äôre collecting points.‚ÄĚ
Newcomer sophomore Olivia Hirst ‚Äď one of the top athletes on the girls basketball team this past winter ‚Äď should also collect her fair share of points for the Crusaders this spring.
‚ÄúShe‚Äôs a tremendous sprinter,‚ÄĚ Skinkle said. ‚ÄúShe looks good on the track. She‚Äôs going to do long jump, triple jump and sprint.‚ÄĚ
As for the boys team, Ricci will once again lead the way as the team‚Äôs distance runner extraordinaire.
While Ricci will be a major point scorer for Prout, the team just doesn‚Äôt have the depth necessary to compete at the larger meets.
‚ÄúThe group I have is a bunch of hard workers and most of them are young,‚ÄĚ Skinkle said. ‚ÄúIt should be interesting. We‚Äôll shine at the class meet. We won‚Äôt win it but that‚Äôs where they‚Äôll shine.‚ÄĚ
In addition to Ricci the team has two other seniors ‚Äď Evan Melillo and Duncan Quinn ‚Äď and each should be consistent competitors for Prout.
Melillo‚Äôs top events are the sprints, while according to Skinkle Quinn can, ‚Äúdo a little bit of everything.‚ÄĚ
Sophomore Ryan King and junior Luke Emby return as stalwarts in the middle to long distance events for the Crusaders and should be strong again this season.
Mitchell Burns is coming off a solid indoor campaign in the weight throw and Skinkle believes the junior thrower still has plenty of potential left to tap into.
‚ÄúHe has the potential of throwing the hammer over 200 feet,‚ÄĚ Skinkle said. ‚ÄúThe hammer is more of his event than the weight and he has the potential, it‚Äôs just a matter of getting him focused.‚ÄĚ
Mitchell will be joined in the throwing circles by freshman Ryan King and junior Ryan Korsen.
If there has been one surprise so far for Skinkle it‚Äôs been sophomore Zach Senger, who according to the Crusaders‚Äô coach has pushed Melillo in the sprints.
Of course it is still very early in the season and it will likely be some time before the Crusaders truly figure out exactly what they have this season on both teams.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre still trying to thaw out,‚ÄĚ Skinkle says. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs been a real tough time trying to get anyone into shape when you‚Äôre out there freezing.‚ÄĚ