NORTH SCITUATE—Contrary to what most high school students are likely to believe, Hall and Oates is not the generic supermarket brand of Raisin Bran.
The popular late ’70s, early ’80s duo, however, was responsible for the Billboard Top 100 No. 1 song in early November of 1981, ‘Private Eyes.’
At the same time the Chariho girls cross country team had its eyes set on finishing off a tremendous season; second in Class B with and 8-1 record and runner up at the state championship meet.
Sunday at Ponaganset High School’s Covered Bridge Trail the Chargers capped off their best season in 32 years with a ninth place performance at states. It was the first top 10 finish for Chariho at states since 1991.
“I was really, really happy. The girls had a great day, they did excellent,” Chariho coach Dianne Leith-Doucett said. “I want to see exact times but a lot of them ran better than they ran last week, which is hard because they had such great races last week [at class].”
The Chargers (255 points) finished at the tail end of a cluster of four teams that were vying for the sixth and final spot in the New England Championships as South Kingstown (243 points) was eighth, East Greenwich (240 points) seventh and Coventry (216 points) sixth.
In the race for the state title La Salle narrowly edged out Barrington 36-39 in the closest state championship race in over 30 years. Barrington sophomore Emma McMillan (17:42.87) defended her individual title by breaking the course record set just one week ago by La Salle’s Eliza Rego.
North Kingstown (117 points), Cumberland (133 points) and Smithfield (181 points) rounded out the top five teams.
Leading the way for the Chariho girls was junior Isabel Baker as the lone Charger to make the cut for New Englands as an individual in 17th place – good enough for Third-Team, All-State – with a time of 19:37.25.
Junior Caroline Duksta (20:37.91) was the next Charger across the line in 38th place, while freshman Natalie Keefe (21:42.46) was next in 71st place.
Senior Delaney Silvestri (22:03.25) and sophomore Pam Lelli (22:09.32) rounded out Chariho’s scoring in 79th and 84th, respectively, while junior Kerry Wallbillich finished in 94th place with a time of 22:29.57.
Unfortunately it was a tough day for Paige Ross, as the senior fell ill at about the one-mile mark and could not finish.
“Normally she has been running third or fourth for us but that’s really hard,” Leith-Doucett said. “She’s OK, it’s just sad to see her not be able to finish this race.”
Sunday was a tough day for the Chariho boys team as well.
After years of competing as one of the best in the state the Chargers were forced to settle for eight place with 232 points to miss qualifying for the New England Championships for the first time since 2009.
“It’s always interesting,” Chariho boys coach Bill Haberek said, “because obviously we came up a little short on the team part of it.”
Chariho got very strong performances from seniors Stephen Gencarelli (16:42.57) and Jung Kim (16:46.57) as the duo each garnered Third-Team, All-State honors by virtue of their 15th and 19th place finishes, respectively.
“I’m really happy for Jung. That’s a great, great race. We talked about it, we knew that he could be in the top 25 or top 20,” Haberek said. “For [Gencarelli] everything that he’s been through he really only ran three races up to today and one of them was last week.
“Very hard for him to do that but everything that he’s been through with his knee he was patient during the season and he took advantage of that today.”
After Gencarelli and Kim, however, the Chargers had to wait some time for their next finisher as junior Mitchell Carrier followed in 52nd place with a time of 17:36.07.
Seniors Alden Andrea (18:13.38) and Matt Drummond (18:22.75) rounded out Chariho’s top five in 80th and 87th, respectively, while junior Andrew Ferrigno (18:26.69) was 93rd and senior Andrew Sardelli (19:31.03) came in 129th.
Baker, Kim and Gencarelli will return to action Saturday when they travel to Derryfield Park in Manchester, N.H. for the New England Championships.