PROVIDENCE â€” On a Saturday when one of the state's finest floundered, the future flourished.
Woonsocket High senior Connor Fugere had hoped to defend his indoor shot put title at the R.I. Outdoor Championships at Brown Stadium, but didn't earn a berth in the finals. He also wanted to place in the top six in the three other throwing events, but walked away with â€śjustâ€ť a bronze medal in the hammer toss.
That came courtesy of a decent heave of 196-7, though far behind victor Bob Colantonio of Barrington (215-6) and runner-up Adam Kelly of the same (213-8).
Freshman teammate Quinn Harlan, however, flew to a second-place finish in the 100-meter dash (12.36), only .40 behind eventual champion Quashira McIntosh of Hope, then claimed a third in the 200.
â€śConnor was pleased with the placement, but not so much with the distance,â€ť stated Villa Novans' throwing coach Marc Piette. â€śHe's thrown 203-1, but was about seven feet behind that (Saturday). He had a tough day in the shot, but we hadn't been concentrating on that too much in practice because we were focusing on the hammer and the discus.
â€śI mean, his best (distance) ever in the shot is 54-plus, but he only threw a bit over 44 here,â€ť he added. â€śWe don't concentrate on the shot too much in outdoor as he's got three other throws to worry about.
â€śAll I can say is I'm shocked; Connor is an all-around athlete who's usually very consistent. He's never this far off his PRs like he was here. It just doesn't make sense. He's always right there near his best-ever (tosses), but his discus was 20 feet off and his shot five or six feet back.
â€śNaturally, he's not too happy; he's the consummate competitor. We had a good week of practice, but he only threw about 122 in the discus, and in practice he was throwing in the 140s. Then again, no one is really uncorking one. Tom Battis from Classical was 20 feet off his best during the (discus) semis.â€ť
Then there was the â€śkidâ€ť Harlan, who seemed pretty satisfied with her time and placement in the girls' 100.
â€śI'm really happy because I did a lot better this season (at states) than I did at (the) indoor (championships),â€ť Harlan stated. â€śI came in fourth in the 55 dash, which was OK, but I knew I could've done better.
â€śI feel the same way (about this 100 finals), but I'll take second in the state; after all, I'm just a freshman,â€ť she continued with a smile. â€śMy goal was only to try to do the best I could, and I think I did. In my last race against (McIntosh), I think it was at Cumberland, I lost by more of a distance than I did here, so I'll take it.â€ť
Also in the boys' discus, Lincoln senior Stefan Balestra seemed in control in the finals after unleashing a distance of 141-4 on his initial try. But Rogers senior Garret Davis manufactured a throw of 141-10 to edge Balestra for the crown by a mere six inches.
Cumberland managed some superb performances on both the male and female sides, with a pair of sophomore girls busing home with some coveted hardware. After what she deemed an unsatisfactory long jump of 15-9 Â˝, Meaghan Scullin rebounded with a fourth in the high jump (5-1), then took third in the 400 with a stellar clocking of 58.51.
She also almost garnered one point for her Clippers in the triple jump, but settled for seventh with a leap of 33-11 Âľ.
Madison Soullier noted she was thrilled with a sixth in the 100 high hurdles (16.13), and even happier after placing fourth in the 300 low hurdles (48.52).
â€śMy best time is 16.0 in the 100, but I wanted to place in the top six â€“ a lot,â€ť Soullier grinned. â€śThis is my first time ever qualifying for the New Englands (slated for next Saturday at Bridgewater State University), and I'm really glad I made it.
â€śIt was tough weather with the heat and the sun,â€ť she added. â€śMy first race (in the 100) wasn't very good because I clipped four or five hurdles, but by coach, (Chris Fernandes) told me to stay straight and not worry about anyone else, just to run my race. This is my first-ever state medal, so it feels great. Now this is something I can build on.â€ť
As for the guys, Lions' senior Jordan Zerva collected a third in his pole vault specialty (13-0), while junior teammate Joe Taylor snagged fourth in the javelin (150-11) and Cumberland senior Ricky Goodreau finished sixth in the put (46-0).
Mount St. Charles senior Chris Miele, who didn't place in the premier six in the shot put, earned fifth in the 110 hurdles (15.25), just ahead of the Clippers' senior Jared Talbert (15.48).