The Bishop Hendricken cross country team won its 24th state title on Sunday afternoon at Ponaganset, edging out rival La Salle among others.
The Hawks have had a historic campaign this fall, and are ranked No. 4 in the nation. Hendricken had five runners finish in the top nine while the Rams had four, including the first-place finisher Joseph dosReis.
“It was exactly what we expected … two teams that are nationally ranked and both dominated the top-10. It’s been like that all season long, it’s been close and we were fortunate to come out on top,” said Hendricken coach Jim Doyle, who was proud of his team’s mental toughness on the state’s biggest stage. “A couple of guys had an off race but that can happen to any team. The important thing was that everyone on the team stepped up and recovered. Our team average was 15.55 which is incredible … a lot of guys ran a great race.”
Doyle also felt that the Hawks had their best outing of the season, and was excited to add another trophy to the case.
“Whenever you win the state championship you consider it your best outing. We had some big wins, big performances, when we won the Eastern States title that was big, winning the class championship last week was big, so was when we won the Manchester Invitational. Every week it is exciting, it gets tougher every week,” said Doyle. “We have regionals next week then two weeks after that we have the northeast regionals to see if we can go to the nationals. It gets tougher every meet.”
The next stop for Hendricken is the New England meet next week, and the Hawks are confident as they take the next step forward.
“We feel strong. It’s always great to get the state meet off of your back,” said Doyle. “Pressure-wise it’s always the one that’s the hardest. We were expected to win which I think put some pressure on our guys, next week we can be a little more relaxed going to New England’s.”
Jack McMahon led the Hawks with a second-place finish while teammate Aidan Tierney took fifth. Hendricken’s Matt St. Jean finished right behind at sixth while teammate Luke Henseler finished eighth and Nick Braz ninth.
Matt Rene wrapped up a 20th-place finish for Hendricken, while teammate David DelBonis took 31st. Tyler Robbio led Pilgrim with a 47th-place finish.
The Portsmouth girls team took home first place, while a handful of locals also made some noise.
Ava McCann led Pilgrim with a 36th-place finish while teammate Emmanuelle Degos took 59th. Sofia McCann finished in 79th while Mollie Cunningham led Toll Gate at 81st.