Zachary Fraielli went into the New Balance Ocean State Invitational on Sept. 25 with a purpose. Considering that this was his first big race of the season, the senior from La Salle Academy in R.I. wanted to test himself against some of the top runners from the northeast in the premier regional meet.
Oh yeah…and he also wanted to be the first to break the tape.
“I knew from last year’s results, from my training, that I had a chance to win,” he said.
On a hot and humid afternoon at Goddard State Park in Warwick, R.I., the slender harrier turned that chance into reality as he claimed the individual crown in the featured event of the day, the Championship race, with a time of 15 minutes, 50 seconds for the moderately-challenging five-kilometer course.
Fraielli beat pre-race favorite Bobby Allen of Cranston West (R.I.) High, who took second at 16:05.
In the top race for girls, senior Lindsay Crevoiserat of Glastonbury High in nearby Connecticut was a runaway victor, finishing exactly a minute ahead of runner-up finisher Betsy Edinger of Greenwich (Conn.) Central with her winning effort of 18:29.
Fraielli, who placed sixth (16:05) in last year’s event, never led in the race until there was 600 meters remaining. It was at that point that he passed the front-running and surprised Allen and then shifted into high gear to the finish line.
“I was behind the whole race,” he said. “I didn’t want to jump too forward and burn out. No matter what happened, I knew I would push it the final 600 meters.”
Allen held the lead from about a half mile until the last stretch. He admitted he thought he was far ahead of the field.
“Towards the last 800 meters I felt good and then I realized someone was behind me,” he said. “In my mind, I thought I was leading the whole time. I thought there was no one behind me. That kind of messed up my train of thought. Then on the last hill I caught a cramp and I couldn’t push myself anymore…I caught that cramp and that was the end of it.”
Ian Albert of Xavier (Conn.) High was third out of the 96 finishers with a time of 16:21. Smithfield (R.I.) senior Liam Hillery, who is competing in his first season of cross country, was fourth with a time of 16:28.
St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) High copped the boys’ title, defeating St. John’s (N.Y.) High, 92-102.
Crevoiserat, a runner-up in last year’s race, didn’t have to worry about someone running on her shoulders. She went through an opening mile of 5:37 and already built a sizable gap by the time she hit the midway mark.
“I just ran it like I normally do - just get out there and don’t let anyone mess me up or anything,” she said. “This race, because there are so any good people, I just want to get out and do what I can. If it was a race without competition, I would worry about my splits. I just wanted to go out there, do my best and try to win.”
Running on a flat terrain last week at the Haddad Windham Invitational in Willimantic, Conn., Crevoiserat won the Girls’ Invitational 5K with a 17:58 clocking . With a little more challenging course at the New Balance meet she was content with running her 5:57 pace.
“I am really happy with the way I ran,” she said. “It would have been nice for someone to push me but it was nice being by myself.”
Senior Cara Dorris of Glastonbury was third overall at 19:46. She was followed across the line by Whitinsville (Mass.) High senior Annaliesse Vander Bann in fourth at 20:06.
With both teams even after its five runners at 58 points, Waschusett (Mass.) Regional edged Glastonbury for the team title on the sixth-runner tiebreaker.