dosReis delivers state championship

dosReis delivers state championship

Smithfield native and La Salle Academy senior Joe dosReis, right, has a 20-yard lead on North Kingstown’s Sam Toolin, left, and Hendricken’s Jack McMahon as he nears the finish line during Sunday’s state meet. dosReis captured the state title in a time of 15:38.26. (Breeze photos by Eric Benevides)
Smithfield native, LSA senior wins cross country title; Sentinels’ Maio is Second-Team All-Stater again

GLOCESTER – Last year’s RIIL Cross Country Championships was a meet that Joe dosReis would like to forget.

After landing First-Team All-State honors as a sophomore two years ago by taking fifth place, the Smithfield native and La Salle Academy senior found himself battling an illness, as well as some tough competition at last year’s meet, and he settled for 14th place to barely earn a spot among the Second-Team selections.

But it was obvious at Sunday afternoon’s state championship meet at Ponaganset High that last year’s meet was in dosReis’ rearview mirror. Thanks to a strong kick in the final 500 meters, dosReis took the state title in a time of 15:38.26 that topped the runner-up finisher, Bishop Hendricken senior Jack McMahon, by 2.28 seconds, and third-place North Kingstown sophomore Sam Toolin by 2.45.

A week after placing third in the Class A meet at Ponaganset in a time of 15:54.95, dosReis didn’t get off to a strong start and sat as far back as eighth place when the runners went through the woods for the second time during the first mile.

But dosReis soon made his way to the front of the pack, and he raced side by side with McMahon and Toolin as they exited the woods and took a right around the tennis courts. As they made their way around a loop and toward the football field for the finish, dosReis made his move.

“I just wanted to come in and run really well and try to win,” dos Reis said a few minutes after crossing the finish line. “I knew that I would have to go probably around 500 meters when I went around the tennis courts, just to make sure that nothing came down to the last 50 meters. I wanted to win by a decent amount so I wouldn’t have to be worried about anyone else behind me.”

Next up for dosReis and his La Salle teammates, which ended up placing second in the team standings to Bishop Hendricken, is Saturday’s 84th annual New England Championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester, N.H. On Friday, Nov. 16, dosReis is also expected to sign a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and running career at Division I Davidson College in North Carolina.

“It’s a small school and the academics are really important there,” said dosReis, who also had Princeton and Georgetown on his radar. “They also have some great coaches there, and I know I can grow academically and athletically.”

While dosReis will be returning to the New Englands, Ponaganset junior Seth Drexler came very close to earning a spot on the starting line, but he missed by one place, as he finished 26th in a time of 16:54.60 that was 3.39 seconds behind the 25th-place finisher, Barrington’s Brendan Fay.

Also placing in the top 65 in a time under 18 minutes were Ponaganset sophomore Chase Leach (38th place, 17:18.37), Smithfield senior Ethan DeBassio (43rd, 17:25.24), and Smithfield sophomores Chris Olean (51st, 17:36.83) and Ethan Maione (63rd, 17:50.73).

On the girls’ side, Smithfield junior Ashlyn Maio earned another Second-Team All-State honor and trip to the New Englands by placing 13th in a time of 19:58.10.

Maio, who took 10th place in last year’s meet, wasn’t in the top 20 during the opening mile, but came back strong over the final two miles and beat the 14th-place finisher, Chariho’s Elizabeth LaCroix, by 0.28 of a second as she outkicked her during the final 25 meters.

“I didn’t feel great, but as (the race) went on, I kind of felt a little better,” Maio said.

Two weekends earlier, at the Brown Invitational, Maio fell on the course and needed four stitches to close a nasty gash on her right knee. But before last week’s Class B meet at Ponaganset, Maio personally took out the stitches and took sixth place in 20:00.51.

Another local runner will also be heading to New Hampshire on Saturday, Scituate native Lily Borin, who is a freshman on the La Salle Academy girls’ team that earned its trip to the New Englands by placing second to two-time state champion Portsmouth.

Borin, who won the state middle school title while running for Scituate Middle School last year, took 61st place in 21:34.79.

Ponaganset’s top finisher in the girls’ race was junior Allie Drexler, who crossed the finish line in 60th place, 0.29 of a second in front of Borin.

Smithfield High junior Ashlyn Maio, right, exits the woods with a sizeable lead on Chariho’s Elizabeth LaCroix during the final mile of Sunday afternoon’s RIIL Championships at Ponaganset High. Maio earned her second straight Second-Team All-State honor by placing 13th in a time of 19:58.10.