NEWPORT — The East Providence High School boys’ track team, despite arriving late for its April 1 meet in Newport and not being able to participate in the 3,000, and despite vying in windy and rainy conditions, still managed to sweep to victories over Portsmouth and host Rogers.
The Townies edged Portsmouth 78-76 and downed Rogers 85-55 in the season-opening Eastern Division meet for all teams involved.
“Today is like April Fool’s Day to me watching some of these performances with the rain on top of it,” East Providence coach Bob Lyons said. “But don’t judge us by today. Everybody that’s been with me for four years, my seniors, they know we have a little saying that when the weather warms up so do we. That’s the way we look at it at East Providence.”
If the Townies are as successful against other division teams as they were against Portsmouth and Rogers, whom Lyons said, “could be factors in the Eastern Division meet,” then they could be heading for a highly successful season. And the veteran coach pulls no punches when grading his team’s chances.
“This year I think we’re a threat to win the Eastern Division,” Lyons said. “For the first time in a long time I think we’re probably going to be a better big-meet team than we are a dual-meet team. I think we’re a threat at any of the invitational meets you put us in. I’m not going to sell us short. It’s not fair to sleep on us this year.”
Lyons exudes confidence based on the athletes on the squad and the fact the Townies finished seventh in the indoor state meet with basically those same athletes.
“We’ve got three or four kids at the top of the roster and we’ve added two to that,” said Lyons. Those four or five kids we’re hoping will carry us through the state-meet level. We’ve got a really good chance to do well at the state meet during the outdoor season.”
Seniors Chris Moura, Justin Andrade, Josh Rambert and Charlie Walker, who’ll form “a pretty good” 4 x 400 relay team according to the coach, along with junior Ryan Williams and sophomores Trystan Casey and Justin Pelletier will be the main point-gatherers for the Townies.
“Chris Moura nearly won the long jump indoors if not for a minuscule foul which cost him the state title,” Lyons said. “He ended up third but got his revenge in the New Englands where he finished fifth. He’ll be a threat in the triple and long jump.
“Rambert will be a factor in the long jump, 300 hurdles and 400 meters at the state level. Walker in the 800 and Andrade in the 800 and 400 also are good. Ryan Williams will be tough in the 100 and 200 and also anchor our 4 x 1 team which last year was seventh. All our relay kids are coming back while other teams have lost kids to graduation so we should be a factor there as well.”
Casey figures to score points in the long and triple jumps with classmate Pelletier doing likewise in the high jump and 110 hurdles and possibly in the triple and long jumps. The coach also is looking for a boost from junior Leon Edmonds.
“He could possibly do something in the weights,” said Lyons. “You never know what’s going to happen. Sometimes kids pop up and improve by leaps and bounds.”
Newcomer Alex Gorman could provide some immediate help while his classmates just up from middle school could add on some needed points in close meets.
“Alex Gorman is a freshman who, if he progresses the way I think he can during the season, could be a factor in the 800, the 3,000 or the 1,500 depending on where we want him to run,” Lyons said. “We’ve got some good young kids that will be developing.”
The coach said he had about 40 athletes out for the team which bodes well for the future. But this team’s immediate future looks bright. Lyons has high hopes his squad will be able to surpass perennial power Barrington in the division meet and also leave a lasting impression at the final state meet of the season.
“Attendance has been good and we’ve been working hard,” Lyons said. “We’ll see what happens. Like I said, don’t sleep on us this year. The program is on the upswing. We’re ready to go I think. That’s the way I’m looking at it. You’ll know we’re on the track at the state meet this year.”
— By Steve Rogers