Westerly girls track

Members of the Westerly High girls track and field team celebrate their third straight state championship Saturday at Brown University. | Keith Kimberlin, The Westerly Sun

PROVIDENCE — Seven scorers.

That's right, seven athletes is all it took for Westerly High to claim its third straight RIIL girls outdoor state track and field title Saturday at Brown University.

When the athletes are talented, committed to work extremely hard and possess the ability to perform on the biggest stage, things like that can happen.

Senior Helena Hall-Thomsen won the 400 (56.62) and finished second in the 200 (24.62) in school-record time.

"It's unbelievable that we are able to accomplish this," Hall-Thomsen said. "I think it's the result of hard training, strategy and determination on a day like this.

"It's my last state meet and we are closing it out with a third-year-in-a-row win. It's couldn't be any better. It feels like a dream."

Hall-Thomsen, a New England champion in the 600 during the indoor season, has emerged as one of the state's top runners. She said endurance work for the 600 during the indoor season has helped improve her performances.

"I definitely changed my mindset, running for myself and for the team and not caring about my place," Hall-Thomsen said. "That really seemed to be beneficial for me."

Westerly was in fourth place (44 points) with three events remaining. Portsmouth was first with 53 and Barrington second with 51.

But the Bulldogs picked up 14 big points in the javelin when Megan Albamonti finished second (127-6) and Anna Cozzlino claimed third (124-6), exceeding her personal best by more than 10 feet.

Heading into the final event, the 4x400 relay, Westerly was leading with 58 points. South Kingstown, which ran in a slower heat in the final relay, was next with 57 points and Portsmouth was third with 53.

Westerly only needed a third or better to win the meet. Instead, Nina Cillino, Sydney Federico, Cozzolino and Hall-Thomsen combined to win the event in 4:00.60.

"It was a great day. I couldn't be happier," Westerly coach Dave Federico said after the Bulldogs captured their eighth title in school history. "We sat around last night just messing around and 70 looked like the magic number. We had 68, so it was good.

"I enjoyed the year. It was a great year. We got help from other teams. Softball helped us out a lot and lacrosse did, too. I have to thank those guys for letting us borrow their athletes."

Albamonti plays softball and Diana Turano, who plays lacrosse, ran a leg on the 4x100 relay.

Holdredge won the 300 hurdles in school-record time, 45.95, and was fourth in the 100 hurdles (15.81). Her time in a qualifying heat (15.25) in the 100 hurdles was a school record.

Holdredge was out of the lead heading to the final turn of the 300 race.

"I thought the best thing for me to do was settle in for the first 100 and then really, really kick it in at the end," Holdredge said. "When you can hear the girls behind you breathing, you really gotta move if you want to be successful.

"That is basically how I approached it: Stay comfortable, but work hard."

Holdredge, a senior, wanted to pursue hurdling in middle school, but was told not to.

"The first week in high school I really wanted to try it because I thought I could be semi-decent at it, and it turns out I think I'm pretty dang good," Holdredge said.

Holdredge said there is definitely a fear of falling in the hurdles races, but she has been fortunate.

"I do really enjoy it. This is the final race of my high school career and my life, and I've never fallen," Holdredge said.

Federico contributed a fourth in the 200 (25.43) and a fourth in the 400 (59.28).

The 4x100 team of Turano, Hall-Thomsen, Holdredge and Federico placed fourth in 50.36. Coach Federico was hoping for a better showing — the Bulldogs had problems during one of the exchanges.

Westerly's boys finished 22nd with four points when Tanner Kelly, Sam Lutzel, Nick Turo and Aaron Tallardy placed fourth in the 4x800 relay (8:11.16)

Hendricken won the boys title with 134 points.

Chariho High finished 24th with two points as Tim Champlin placed fifth in the 800 (1:55.7).

Chariho's girls tied for 28th as Abby Cole was fifth in the 3,000 (10:32.36).

The top six finishers in each event qualified for the New England meet Saturday at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine.

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