CUMBERLAND â€“ The story Tuesday afternoon at the Monastery wasnâ€™t so much whether host Cumberland High would sweep its Northern Division tri-meet against other local foes.
They did, and then some.
Instead, it revolved around a rivalry that began last year. That is, how would Clipper sophomore Amy Laverty perform against junior Betsy Dumais, one of Burrillvilleâ€™s top harriers over the past decade or more.
Laverty captured this particular outing, outhustling Dumais to the finish line with a stellar 3.1-mile clocking of 19:50. She edged the runner-up Bronco by a mere four ticks.
â€śI like racing against Betsy because sheâ€™s such a great competitor,â€ť Laverty grinned afterward. â€śShe pushes me, just like she did last year. I felt I was going to go fast because I had somebody right on my heels for most of the race, and I had to keep up my pace.
â€śShe really brings out the racer in me,â€ť she added. â€śThe whole day, I didnâ€™t stop thinking about it. I had so much adrenaline going through me, I could barely sit still (in class). I couldnâ€™t get it out of my head.
â€śAs it gets closer to a meet, I start to get a little nervous, but once the gun goes off, it all disappears, and the adrenaline rush is unbelievable.â€ť
Lavertyâ€™s best time this summer/fall came at the Injury Fund meet at the 3.1-mile Burrillville Middle School course. She made the trek on a proven faster course in 19:59, so improved â€“ on a more difficult Monastery trail â€“ by nine seconds.
â€śIâ€™m happy; I wanted to get my time down more, but â€“ for me to do this, and itâ€™s still early in the season â€“ Iâ€™ll take it.â€ť
With Lavertyâ€™s win, not to mention strong showings from teammates Meaghan Scullin, Nichole Barger, Ashley Bricault and Kerry Connolly, the Clippers garnered elementary victories over Burrillville (21-40), Woonsocket (15-50) and North Smithfield (15-50) to remain unbeaten at 6-0.
Scullin took third in 20:39, Barger fourth (21:39), Bricault sixth (21:53) and Connolly seventh (22:10).
The only interruption, after Dumais, came from BHS junior Kaidy Cornell, who took fifth in 21:46.
As excited as Laverty was after claiming the triumph, Dumais expressed the same feeling.
â€śI ran here Friday in the Blackstone Valley Invitational, and I came in at 20:42, so that was a big improvement for me,â€ť Dumais smiled later of hustling 48 seconds faster than she did just four days before. â€śI know I was 6:06 at the mile, and we were side by side. At the two-mile, we were virtually side by side, so it was really close.
â€śIn the back loop, the middle portion between the first and second mile, (Laverty) opened up a four or five second lead,â€ť she continued. â€śWe came into the third mile together, but she pulled away over the last couple tenths.â€ť
When asked how she felt about placing an unusual second in a dual meet, Dumais smiled again, â€śActually, I am used to losing, but Iâ€™m really happy with this race. She dragged me along to a good time. Facing a great competitor like Amy, it really does help. You learn from every race, and getting beaten puts everything in perspective.â€ť
Stated Broncosâ€™ mentor Marty Crowley, whose squad fell to 4-2: â€śAmyâ€™s a great runner, a girl who finished seventh in the state meet last season (to snag All-State first-team laurels), and for Betsy to go stride for stride with her virtually the distance, itâ€™s a testament to all the hard work Betsy put in during the off-season. She ran a great race.â€ť
Burrillvilleâ€™s other top scoring placements came from Lauren Lamontagne (11th) and Morgan Allen (13th). Brianna Lake of Woonsocket placed 14th overall in 23:14, while North Smithfieldâ€™s Annemarie Votta took 17th in 24:21.
Cumberland head coach Joyce Bonner appreciated the wherewithal Laverty exhibited during her triumph.
â€śThat was an amazing race for her,â€ť she noted. â€śI just told her beforehand to run her race. We knew sheâ€™d be close to Betsy, and she ran really well. This is the first time sheâ€™s really been pushed. Itâ€™s her personal-best this season, and her best time ever on this course.
â€śWe have one more home meet left here against Scituate, and that team is pretty tough,â€ť she added. â€śIf we win that, then we have to face Smithfield and Mount St. Charles the week after that (Oct. 7) at Deerfield Park. That would be for the division championship.
â€śMeaghan Scullin ran a great time; she PRâ€™d by 15 seconds, and so did Nichole, who hasnâ€™t been running because of a knee injury. Ashley, Kerry and Hannah are our senior tri-captains, and theyâ€™re such an inspiration. Some of the younger girls are faster, but thereâ€™s no animosity between them. They lead and teach by example; thatâ€™s why theyâ€™re our captains.
â€śTheyâ€™ve all been injured, so they know the heartache when the younger kids canâ€™t compete. They understand.â€ťView more articles in: