Helena Hall-Thomsen

Helena Hall-Thomsen

PROVIDENCE — When Westerly High's Helena Hall-Thomsen passed three runners on the final lap of the 4x200 relay early in Saturday's state indoor track championships, she had a suspicion it might turn out to be a good day.

She could not have been more correct.

Hall-Thomsen's anchor leg helped the relay team to a first-place finish (1:47.74) at the Providence Career and Technical Academy.

She also won the 600, crushing her personal-best time on the way to her first individual state championship, and she anchored the 4x400 relay to a first-place finish, overcoming a big deficit on the final leg.

"I had a good feeling," Hall-Thomsen, a senior, said of her showing in the 4x200. "I was really nervous last night, but today I was just going to try my best. Today could not have worked out any better."

Hall-Thomsen beat Portmouth's Nikki Merrill to win the 600, finishing with a time of 1:35.46. Her previous best was 1:37.18.

Merrill led in the early stages of the race, but Hall-Thomsen stayed close. She pulled even on the back straightaway of the final lap, passed Merrill in the final turn and went on to win by a comfortable margin. Merrill finished in 1:38.14.

"I just anticipated following her the first four [400] and then letting her pulling me through to a good PR," Hall-Thomsen said. "I didn't anticipate that I would be able to pass her. I was just excited to run with her."

Winning her first individual state title was a big accomplishment.

"It feels absolutely amazing. I just want to thank my coaches and my teammates, especially Sydney [Federico] pushing me to do my best. I think that is what really pushed me over the edge to have such a huge PR," Hall-Thomsen said.

"Ever since I've come here she has pushed me to be the best I could be, and I couldn't ask for anything more."

Federico finished second in the 300 (41.94), and Caelan Holdredge contributed a third in the 55 hurdles (8.81).

Federico, Holdredge and Nina Cillino joined Hall-Thomsen on the winning 4x400 relay (4:08.62). Hall-Thomsen was about 12-15 yards behind the leader when she received the baton for the final leg. She was able to overcome the deficit quickly.

The same group comprised the 4x200 relay.

"What a great way to end her senior year indoors," Westerly coach Dave Federico said. "She's a hard worker with natural talent who wants to win."

Westerly finished fourth in the team standings with 44 points. La Salle won the title for the 13th straight year with 60.5. Portsmouth was next with 53.

"Today was one of our better meets in a long time," coach Federico said. "We lost some guys from last year, but the guys we have right now are just awesome. A great day. Couldn't be happier."

Chariho's girls finished in 23rd place among the 26 teams with four points after Abby Cole placed fourth in the 3,000 (10:41.52).

Chariho and Westerly finished tied for 17th in the boys team standings with two points each.

Chariho's Tim Champlin placed sixth in the 1,500 (4:06.25). The 4x800 relay team of Sullivan Cummings, Joe Golas, Josh Smithey and Matt Dickerman placed sixth (8:36.49).

Westerly's 4x800 relay of Nick Turo, Aaron Tallardy, Sam Lutzel and Tanner Kelly finished fifth (8:27.30).

Bishop Hendricken won the boys team title for the 19th time in the last 25 years with 84.5 points. La Salle was second with 66 and North Kingstown third (44).

The top six in each event qualified for the New England indoor championships on March 2 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston.

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