By ALEX SPONSELLER
The Western Hills Middle School girls track and field team recently took home the state championship after winning the western division title, finishing the day with a score of 64 while Warwick Vets and Curtis Corner finished in second with 42.
This was the third season since middle school sports were reinstated in Rhode Island, and the first state title win for Western Hills in that span.
“I had a pretty good feeling going into it. Being around those girls last year I knew I had something special coming but winning the way we did was definitely a surprise. It was a very proud accomplishment, very proud,” said Western Hills coach Daniel Burns. “It was kind of a running joke with the other coaches, who was going to see a banner raised first. I had a lot of great help with (coaches) Frank Notarianni and Mike Parente stepping up too.”
Lindsey Hobin took home first place in the 80 meter hurdles while also finishing second in the 200 yard dash. Madison Alves finished second in the 100 meter dash while Mikaya Parente claimed third in the 200 yard dash as well as the long jump. Rachel Hobin finished third in the 800.
Alves also finished fourth in the high jump while also taking home fifth in the long jump. Gianna Degatis placed fifth in the discus, followed by teammate Gabrielle Valletta in sixth.
The 400 meter relay team of Alves, Parente, Lindsey Hobin and Alani Sutherland finished first with an impressive time of 50.94 seconds.
Burns was proud of his team’s hard work throughout the season.
“The girls work very hard. They came to every practice, the weather was horrible this spring, we got a late start to our season. When we did have practice, they were there all day, every day. They were a great, coachable group of kids. In and out of the classroom they were great kids,” said Burns.
Burns is also excited to see the heights that this group may be able to reach in the future and will miss the departing eight graders.
“If this group stays with it, if this group stays together I can see them doing great things. I know Lindsey and Rachel train year-round. Lindsey is a special athlete, she’s my fastest girl. Rachel works very hard and she deserved it. Maddie Alves is a talented girl, she’s the best at every sport she plays, Mikaya is great. They’re a bunch of great athletes,” said Burns. “I’m hoping another crop shows up next year but I don’t think it’ll happen … this could be a once in a lifetime group.”
The boys team also had a solid outing, finishing in sixth place after also winning their division with an overall score of 32.
Stephen Faccenda took home first in the discuss and shot put, while Blake Santos got gold in the 1,500.