WESTERLY — Perhaps no track and field event has been affected by the pandemic more than the girls high jump.
The cancellation of 2020’s season and the late start to 2021 contributed to the fact only six girls entered and four cleared heights at Saturday’s Southern Division Championships at Westerly High
But that doesn’t make Chariho’s Margaret Weeden’s 5-foot-1 first place leap any less special. The junior was Chariho’s lone first-place finisher at the meet, a qualifyting for the state meet later this month at Conley Stadium in Providence.
“Winning feels good, especially since the main competition (Brooke Thompson of North Kingstown, who was second at 4-11, and Victoria Pariseault of Exeter-West Greenwich) beat me in regular-season meets,” Weeden said. “After going 5-3 for third in the state indoors, I’ve been trying to peak for postseason now.”
Weeden added a sixth in the triple jump (31-5) for Chariho, which was sixth out of 10 teams with points. North Kingstown (186.25) outdistanced second-place South Kingstown (102) by more than 80 points.
Chariho’s other state-level performer, distance runner Erin vonHousen, was fourth in the 1,500 in 4:56.7 and fourth in the 800 in 2:27.26. Charger coach Fortune was pleased with the time.
“Erin has placed high in cross country and track in her career, but this year’s Southern Division distance field is unusually tough,” he said.
East Greenwich’s Reece Fahys won the 800 in 2:15.43, shattering the meet record by eight seconds, for example. Rylee Shunney of East Greenwich won the 3,000 in 10:09.19, breaking the old mark by 18 seconds.
Abby Cole added distance points with a sixth in the 3000 (12:17.3). The Chargers’ 4x800 relay of Grace Gillett, Cole, Tori Babineau and Anna Lacroix was fifth in 10:35.
Also scoring for the Chariho girls were Weeko Thompson, fourth in the shot put (26-11) and fourth in the discus (87-2), Rachel Abbott, sixth in the 100 in 13.69; Brooke Kanaczet, fourth in the 300 hurdles in 52.89, and the fourth-place 4x100 relay of Grace Abbott, Elle Clark, Maria Mykaylyshyn and Rachel Abbott (54.4). Chariho’s 4x400 relay of Kanaczet, Babineau, Lacroix and vonHousen was sixth in 4:33.43.
Chariho’s boys did not produce an individual winner but featured some impressive seconds. Joe Golas was second in 1:58.35 in a duel with South Kingstown’s Antonio Capalbo (1:57.63) in the 800. Chariho grad Tim Champlin (2018) holds the meet record of 1:57.54.
Also, Charger freshman Christian Manfred was second in the 100 in 11.4.
“Joe shattered his PR by five seconds,” Chariho coach Bill Habarek said. “Christian is very impressive considering he’s a freshman in a sprint event usually dominated by upper classmen. Christian is very talented and is working on his mechanics and block starts. For a freshman to go to the states in the 100 is a big deal.”
Manfred, who attended Westerly Middle School before enrolling in Chariho’s Career & Technical School, looks forward to both the freshman states and regular state meet.
“I’ve focused more on the 100 this spring than I did at Westerly Middle,” Manfred said. “If I can hang with these guys in the Southern Division, I like my chances at the freshman states.”
Manfred helped Chariho’s fourth-place 4x100 relay of Lucas Corah, Logan Smallridge and Mason Cabida run in 47.5. All are freshman except Smallridge.
Sullivan Cummins took seven seconds off his PR to place third in the 1,500 (4:08.56). C.J. Elwell and Finn Weeden went second and third, respectively, in the 3,000 in 9:19.1 and 9:27.03.