Barrington boasts New England track champions


Barrington High School student-athletes performed very well at the New England Track and Field Championships recently — the girls’ 4x800 relay team won its event and Charlie Ionata was tops in the hammer throw.

The Barrington relay team of Julia Zitzmann, Julianna Portelli, Megan Verner-Crist and Abby Livingston came from behind to defeat LaSalle Academy by .77 seconds, finishing the run with a time of 9:05.45.

The Eagles’ team broke the meet record of 9:12.16 set by Bromfield in 2001, and broke the state record of 9:07.3 set by LaSalle last year. It was reportedly the eighth fastest time in the event in the country this year. It was the first New England Outdoor Championship title ever for Barrington, said coach Steve Turgeon.

“Freshman Julia Zitzmann and junior Julianna Portelli ran the first two legs in the 2:20 range. They each ran exactly how we wanted, but because we were saving our two strongest legs for the end, we were in the back of the pack,” wrote coach Turgeon in a recent e-mail.

“Junior Megan Verner-Crist then brought us to the front with a stellar leg 2:13. She moved from seventh to second in the final 300 meters. Junior Abby Livingston then finished with an incredible 2:08.1. She was 3 second behind La Salle’s Sheridan Wilbur when she got the baton. She closed the gap in the first 200 meters. She stayed on Wilbur’s shoulder until 300 to go. She then move about a stride ahead and then held that lead all the way to the finish. 

“It was a great race.”

In addition, Barrington freshman Emma McMillan finished fifth in the 3,200 meter race with a time of 11:00.52. Barrington will shift the lineup when they race in 4x800 meter event at nationals. Coach Turgeon said Emma McMillan will run the opening leg of the 4x800 instead of Zitzmann.

“In addition, McMillan, Verner-Crist, Portelli and Mary Cate Coogan will run the 4x1 mile. Livingston will run the open 800 as well,” he wrote.


Thrower is New England champ

For the boys, Charlie Ionata earned himself a New England title. Ionata threw the boys’ 12-pound hammer 241 feet, a new personal best, a new school record and the second best performance in the country this year, said coach Bob Gourley.

Charlie’s throw also crushed the old meet record of 209 feet 2 inches set by Hendricken’s Mike Gama in 2009, and moves Charlie up to number eight on the national all-time ranking list. 

Barrington freshman Bobby Colantonio finished seventh in the same event at the New Englands with a throw of 196 feet, 6 inches. Barrington’s Adam Kelly won the boys’ 5K youth hammer throw with a toss of 209 feet 5 inches. That throw set a new meet record in the event. Colantonio was third with a throw of 197 feet 8 inches.

Charlie also won the boys’ 16-pound college/international hammer throw with a toss of 193 feet, 3 inches. It was a new personal best, and it was the best 16-pound hammer throw by a high school student this year.

Charlie Ionata, Adam Kelly, Bobby Colantonio will be competing in the New Balance National Outdoor Championships at North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, NC Saturday, June 15.

Barrington’s Tom Barry ran to a 10th place finish in the 1,600 meter race at the New Englands, breaking the old school record in the process. His time of 4:21.47 improved upon Tom Webb’s time of 4:21.95. Barry will also compete in the nationals.


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.