Indoor Track & Field Preview
December 19, 2017
BY STEVE TURGEON
Special to the RIIL
Girls return 10 state champions
And while there is a changing of the guard in boys track & field, it will be more of the same for the girls. Nearly all of the individual champions from last year will be back to defend their titles. The only state champion to graduate was shot putter Samantha Andrews of Lincoln.
Portsmouth Nikki Merrill will lead a strong field of returning distance runners. Merrill won the 600, 1000 and 1500 at last year’s state meet. The distance field includes 3000-meter champion Grace Connolly of La Salle and three-time state cross country champion Ellie Lawler of South Kingstown. Those three, along with La Salle’s Emily Kane, Westerly’s Randi Burr and Portsmouth’s Elizabeth Sullivan, dominated the distance events last year.
Moses Brown’s Marybeth Fitzsimmons established herself as the top sprinter in the state last year as a freshman. She won both the 55 and 300. East Greenwich senior Laura Murphy, runner-up in the 300 and third in the 55, will be back to challenge the Moses Brown sophomore.
Fitzsimmons wasn’t the only freshman state champion last year. West Warwick sophomore Virsavia Goretoy will be back to defend her title in the long jump.
North Kingstown’s Tereza Bolibruch will be going after her third-straight title in the 55 hurdles. She’ll be trying to match the feat completed by her sister Maria from 2012-2014. The Bolibruch sisters have owned the 55 hurdles, winning the event five of the last six years.
Central’s Rachel Mens will be back to defend her high jump title and Ponaganset’s Gianna Rao will look to repeat in the weight throw. Rao currently has the No. 2 throw in the country, followed by Barrington’s Annika Kelly with the third best throw in the nation.
In the team competition, it looks like La Salle and Portsmouth will battle it out, similar to last year.
The La Salle girls edged Portsmouth by 5 1/2 points at last year’s Indoor State Championships, adding to the Rams’ string of state titles.