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Defending champs donât sneak up on anybody.
This fact is hardly lost on senior Nick Tierney and North Kingstown boys outdoor track teammates as the Skippers attempt to win their second outdoor track title in a row.
âI can only hope we can come with what we had last year,â Tierney says. âWe lost a few guys in some key areas but as you know we have some new faces and weâre really looking for them to step up.
âI donât know the talent of the other teams as well as I know my own but it should be fun.â
Last season Chariho, Hendricken and Westerly were considered favorites ahead of the Skippers to capture the RIIL Boys Outdoor Track Championship but thanks to some standout performance from NK and some help from the opposition North came through with its second outdoor state title in school history.
This season North is returning the bulk of last springâs championship squad and donât expect anyone to overlook the Skippers this time around.
What makes NK an instant favorite for the title is the makeup of the team; stars at the top to capture big points coupled with great depth to cover the additional events in the spring season.
âWeâve always had a good turnout,â Tierney says, âbut it seems like these past few years especially weâve always had guys who can step up if someone on the top drops out.â
Tierneyâs leadership and abilities will certainly be an asset this season but the Skipper everyone will be chasing is junior Zach Emrich.
Emrich broke the state record in the 800 this winter and has a great chance of taking down the RI record in the 600 as well.
Ben Stewart returns as one of the best hurdlers in the state, while Dallin Smith, Matt Quainoo, Ben Sawyer, Tyler Levesque and Rob Rocchio are also set for strong springs on the oval.
Pole vaulters Connor Heyward and Brenton Kreiger, high jumpers Joe Johnson, Ben Lee and Kyle Sayre and thrower Alex Madoian should also contribute this season, but with a little over 80 athletes on the roster there is still plenty of time for other contributors to emerge.
On the girlsâ side this season will mark the return and final push for senior Aisha McAdams.
One of the more talented distance runners to come out of NK in recent memory, McAdams missed the indoor season with a stress reaction in her foot.
âIt was kind of like a slow process build up but Iâm back,â she says. âIâm back to the regular plan now.
âI want to leave my mark and I want to show âem what I have this year.â
Now fully healthy, she will be counted on to score major points for the Skippers this spring as they fight their way through the competetive Southern Division.
âOverall thereâs a lot of new people running but then we still have the cross country girls, the indoor girls so thereâs still a lot of depth,â McAdams says. âI think we have a ton of potential.â
In addition to McAdams, Maria Bolibruch will be chasing a state title in the hurdles and Jaxine Wolfe provides great versatility in the jumps, pole vault and relays.
Juniors Peyton Wallace, Sydney Curran and Holly Bobola, coupled with seniors Tori Stack, Kelsey Spitalnick and Allison Lomas should help the Skippers compete at the divisional, class and state levels.
Underclassmen Brenna Coppola, Jen Croteau, Grace DâAntuono, Molly Feid, Alanah Gaudreau, Beth Nunnery, Ansley Ostiguy, Caroline Rocchio, Catherine and Allison Lenox should also contribute this season.