Striders have strong showing at Jr. Olympics

The Sentinel Striders track club placed two teams among the top 10 in their divisions and had six individuals finish in the top 50 at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships held last week in snowy conditions at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno, Nev.

More than 2,400 runners from across the country earned berths in the nationals through their local association and regional qualifying races.

The Striders, with members from Smithfield, Scituate, North Providence, North Smithfield and Cumberland, had 42 runners earning berths in the competition. It is the highest total of qualifiers ever for the Striders.

The top Strider performance of the day belonged to North Providence High School junior Alex Gallo, who earned All-American honors by placing third in the Intermediate (15-16) boys race. Gallo covered the 3.1 course in 16:05, just 11 seconds behind winner Ammar Moussa.

Gallo was just 5 seconds off his 3.1 mile personal record despite running at 4,600 feet altitude as a driving snowstorm reached its peak during the race. The Striders have now had 71 runners earn All-American status in the club's history, including a current streak of 20 years with at least one All-American runner.

Gallo's placing led the Intermediate Boys team to a sixth place finish with 205 points. Ian Laplume finished 32nd in 17:03, followed by Smithfield High School junior Brian Musard placing 49th in 17:32. Zack Chadwick was 91st in 18:01, followed by Greg Conroy (134th), Kyle Gerlach (143rd), and Andrew Rose (162nd).

Smithfield High School senior Katie Meinertz placed 28th in the Young Women's (17-18) race in a time of 20:46. Danielle Brown finished 78th followed by Amanda McMichael in 84th.

The Intermediate Girls team placed eighth with 247 points.

Alexandra Reardon of Smithfield, who was runner-up at the Region 1 race last month, led the Striders with a 71st place finish. Rebecca Tellier (96th) and Stephanie Ward-Smith (97th) were next, followed by Emily Meinertz in 108th. Julia Bousquet rounded out the scoring for the Striders in 126th, followed by Jessica Souza (129th), Alisha Brown, and Amanda Brown.

The Midget (11-12) Girls team placed 13th with 294 points. It is the third straight year the Striders Midget Girls team has placed in the top 15 in the country, after finishing ninth and 10th the previous two years. Smithfield's Caitlin Paredes led the team finishing 46th out of 271 entries in 12:25. Rebecca Meinertz finished 92nd in 12:54, followed closely by Cassidy Bissitt at 13:06 in 113th. Emily Towne (149th - 13:26) and Kayla Almeida (167th - 13:46) rounded out the scoring for the Striders, followed by Molly Millea (219th) and Kate Butler (224th).

Ian Gould of Scituate's 43rd place finish in 11:27 led the Midget Boys team to a 15th place finish. North Cumberland's Matt Fownes (12:21) and Jack Wainwright (12:48) were next for the Striders, followed by Nathan Gallo (13:03) and Noah Coogan (13:39).

The Young Men's team finished in 12th place with 321 points. Adam Coogan of North Providence led the way finishing 93rd, followed by North Smithfield High School senior Mike Martin in 114th and Xhoi Gjojdeshi in 116th.

Smithfield seniors Chris Bennett (127th) and Tom DeCristofaro (137th) rounded out the scorers for the Striders.