Above: Rylee Shunney leading the pack during Saturday’s 800m state final. Shunney went on to win. Photo by oceanstaterunning.com
The EG Track and Field teams competed in States over the weekend, with several strong finishes for the Avengers, including a first-place finish for sophomore Rylee Shunney in the 800 meters (2:18.01). Shunney had been struggling with a cold earlier in the week but pulled out all the stops for States, pulling off a third place finish in the 1500 meters too.
“This was a race that went out pretty slow and closed very fast,” said Coach Mike Thibodeau of the 800. “[Rylee] was able to really really buckle down and run a fantastic race and come from behind.”
In the 1500 meters, Shunney missed placing 2nd by less than 2 tenths of a second, at 4:40:11. EG had two other runners in the 1500 – freshman Ava Peters placed 12th (5:05.14) and senior Jessica Martin placed 13th (5:06.16). Martin will run for Coastal Carolina.
Reese Fahys, also a sophomore, finished 2nd (10 minutes .0011 seconds) in the 3K, behind La Salle’s Kaylie Armitage (9:54.52), the reigning state champ.
For the boys, senior Andrew Mega had a big day, placing 4th in the 300 hurdles, with a time of 42.16, a PR, and 6th in the long jump (19’9”).
“It was a very good day for him,” said Thibodeau.
Senior Jack Lombardi and sophomore Nick Martin placed 9th (4:10) and 11th (4:16) respectively in the 1500. “It was an incredibly fast year for the 1500,” noted Thibodeau. They both ran in the 800m too, with Martin placing 12th (2:01.40) and Lombardi 17th (2:04.5). Lombardi will continue his running career at Merrimack College in the fall.
Junior Nate Plympton placed 23rd in the highly competitive 100 meters, with a time of 11.85 seconds. For context, the top finisher, Franz Eliasson from Rogers High School, ran a 11.05.
Junior Lola Balkcom placed 7th in the 100 hurdles, with a time of 16.45. “She ran a fantastic race. She nailed her technique,” said Thibodeau. “It was really nice to see.”
Freshman Stella Ruff finished 22nd (13.58) in the 100m and 18th in the 200m (27.58). “As a freshman making it in, there’s a tremendous amount of potential for this runner,” Thibodeau said.
Junior Kendall Stearns placed 12th in the 400m, with a time of 63.25, a PR for her.
EG doesn’t have a deep bench for field events but in addition to Mega’s long jump, there was senior Damon Brouillard, who tied for 9th place in the high jump with 5’6”. Sophomore Jillian Tracey came in 15th in the javelin (87’2”), just a few weeks after taking up the event.
Junior Jacob Connelly didn’t do as well as expected in the 3K (9:27.26), having come down with a cold just before the meet. Fortunately, he has one more year with the Avengers. “His gains were huge this year,” said Thibodeau.
He added, “Our kids performed fantastic. They worked very hard under difficult conditions with COVID going on. I’ve got to give it to them.”
Overall, the Girls placed 8th and Boys place 22nd.
Reese Fahys will be competing in Nationals in Eugene, Oregon, in the 2 mile, which takes place Saturday at 4 p.m. (7 p.m. for us here in Rhode Island). Good luck, Reese!