Boston High School: Emma McMillan

New England Runners of the Year announced

January, 11, 2013
The Gatorade state girls' cross country Runners of the Year award were announced on Thursday.

Here are the winners from across the region:

The 5-foot-2 senior raced to the State Open championship this past season with a time of 19:09. Lenehan also won the Class LL state title in 18:51 and took first at the Eastern Connecticut Conference Championships. She earned a ninth–place finish at the New England Cross Country Championships.

Lenehan has maintained a 3.91 GPA in the classroom. Also a nationally-ranked Irish step dancer, she has volunteered locally on behalf of both youth running events and toy drives for underprivileged children.

“Brianna was phenomenal this year,” said Norwich Free Academy head coach Kara Kochanski-Vendola. “She was very focused on what she had to do to be successful and she put in so much hard work, not just in season, but all summer.”

Lenehan will attend Columbia University this fall, where she will compete in cross country and track and field.

The state’s reigning Gatorade Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year, Brown raced to the Class B individual state championship this past season with a time of 17:56.32, leading the Purple Panthers to sixth place as a team. Also the Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year as named by The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel, the 5-foot-4 senior captured seventh place at the New England Cross Country Championships in 19:18.60 and finished 11th at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional championships in 18:42.3, clocking the state’s fastest time at both events.

Also an aspiring poet, Brown has maintained a 4.27 weighted GPA in the classroom and ranks No. 1 in her graduating class. She has received her school’s Renaissance Award, given to students who excel in academics, service and character on behalf of the national Renaissance Program. A Student Ambassador for incoming transfer pupils, Brown has also donated her time promoting science studies in local fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms.

“Bethanie distinguishes herself from her competition through her exceptional focus,” said Waterville head coach Rob Stanton. “She sets very high goals and works relentlessly to achieve them.”

Brown has verbally committed to an athletic scholarship at the University of Connecticut beginning this fall.

The 5-foot-7 senior raced to the Division 1 individual championship this past season with a time of 18:45, leading the Little Green to fifth place as a team. Also the two-time Runner of the Year as named by both the New Hampshire Cross Country Coaches Association and Union Leader, Conway recorded a second straight runner-up finish at the Meet of Champions in 18:32.9, placed fourth at the New England Championships in 19:09.01 and finished 13th at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships in 19:06.70.

Also an accomplished violinist and skier, Conway has maintained an A average in the classroom and ranks No. 1 in her graduating class. A member of the World Language, Tri-M Music and National Honor societies, she has performed ballet in a local production of The Nutcracker and served as managing editor of her school newspaper. Also an active member of her church community, she has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics.

“She’s phenomenal,” said Larry Martin, head of the New Hampshire Cross Country Coaches Association. “Distance running requires an extraordinary amount of focus, so the most amazing thing about her is that she did it while she’s No. 1 in her class, an All-State violinist, the lead in the Nutcracker at the Palace Theater and the editor of her school newspaper. Everything she does, she’s No. 1.”

Conway remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

The 5-foot-8 freshman raced to the All-State Meet individual championship this past season with a time of 18:22.99, leading the Eagles to the state title as a team. A First Team All-State selection as named by the Providence Journal and Rhode Island Track Coaches Association, McMillan also led Barrington to the team championship at the Class A state meet, breaking the tape in 18:35.33. McMillan placed third at the New England Cross Country Championships in 19:07.13 and took seventh at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championships in 18:43.6. She finished 11-0 during the regular season.

Also an accomplished swimmer, McMillan has maintained a 4.00 GPA in the classroom. A member of her school’s choral ensemble, she has donated her time on behalf of her church and as a youth swimming instructor.

“Emma’s trajectory as a cross country runner has been unparalleled among her peers in Rhode Island,” said Barrington head coach Annmarie Marino. “This past season, she was our No. 1 runner, leading her team to an undefeated season. Emma runs for the shear fun of the sport. Her composure as a newcomer to the sport was an example for all to see. Whether covered in mud, sweat, or red in the face from an all-out effort, Emma always wore a smile and offered an encouraging word to her teammates and competitors.”

The 5-foot-2 senior raced to her third straight Division 3 individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:38. Vermont’s two-time returning Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Purrier also won the New England Cross Country Championships in 18:42 and the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional championship with a time of 18:09.4 in 2012. She finished 17th nationally at the NXN Final.

Purrier has maintained a 3.92 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of food drives for the hungry, youth sports programs and blood-donation drives.

“Elle’s ability to stay focused is exceptional,” said Richford head coach Andrew Hathaway. “She’s achieved a lot in running thus far, but running is a part of the whole that does not dominate her life.”

Purrier remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

November, 6, 2012
If they haven’t already, Rhode Island high school football fans should circle Nov. 9 on their calendars.

Rhode IslandThat’s when La Salle and Hendricken – arguably the top two teams in the state regardless of division – will meet at the Hawks’ field with the Division I championship at stake.

La Salle (6-0) and Hendricken (6-1) established that scenario last weekend when the Rams blasted Cranston East, 41-12, and the Hawks flew by Barrington, 18-6.

If the Rams prevail and also beat East Providence (1-5) on Thanksgiving, they’ll clinch the outright title plus the No. 1 seed in the Division I Tournament. But should the Rams lose to the Townies and the Hawks beat La Salle, each team would finish 7-1, and Hendricken would earn the top seed by virtue of having beaten La Salle.

All-State running back Josh Morris shredded Cranston East’s defense as he scored four touchdowns – for the second consecutive year against the Thunderbolt. Morris’s scores came on runs of 19, 20, 18 and 30 yards.

In addition quarterback Anthony Francis threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Keon Wilson and scored on a one-yard run.

In its previous game, La Salle only led Barrington 17-14 at halftime but exploded for 24 points in the second half and coasted to a 41-17 victory.

Morris again led the way by running 12 times for 122 yards and two scores.

Ironically, Cranston East was coming off one of the more dramatic victories in school history.

Coach Tom Centore’s team spotted Portsmouth a 25-point lead at halftime and then rallied for a 51-47 victory.

E.J. Isom scored on a three-yard run with three minutes left on the clock to cap the comeback and set up the Bolt’s big game versus La Salle.

As a result of last weekend’s games, the pairings are set for the Division II Tournament.

Johnston (7-0), Mount Hope (5-2), Woonsocket (5-2) and Westerly (4-3) earned the top four spots in Division II-A.

In Division II-B, undefeated Cumberland (7-0) earned the No. 1 seed followed by No. 2 St. Raphael (5-2), No. 3 West Warwick (4-3) and No. 4 Rogers (4-3).

Because West Warwick, Rogers and Central each finished 4-3, tiebreakers determined the last two seeds and Central became the odd team out.

Johnston finished strong by winning each of its last two games, 38-10 over Westerly and 42-6 over Warwick Vets.

In the victory over Westerly, Evan Hopson caught a pair of touchdown passes, kicked a 27-yard field goal and converted three-of-four extra-point attempts.

Hopson was just as prolific against the Hurricanes since he again caught two touchdown passes and returned a fellow Panther’s fumble for a third score.

Don’t waste your time delving through the record books to find the last year when Middletown completed an undefeated regular season in league play (in this case Division III).

At the least, that happened four decades ago - perhaps when the parents of the current Islanders were youngsters. And, if Middletown beats Tolman and Portsmouth in a pair of non-league games, it will record an undefeated regular season – period.

Middletown, which has outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 339-96, handed East Greenwich its first loss of the season, 20-7.

Junior Connor Ross accounted for each of Middletown’s touchdowns on runs of 13, 27 and five yards. Ross clinched the victory when he intercepted a pass with one minute remaining at the Islanders’10-yard line.

Also in Division III, Moses Brown (5-2) clinched a playoff berth by routing Burrillville, 31-13.

Andrew Howard paced the Quakers by rushing for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

Mount Pleasant put the wraps on an undefeated Division IV season by blanking Central Falls, 33-0.

Randolph Zish paced the Kilties (7-0) by amassing 275 rushing yards and each of his team’s five touchdowns.

The field for the Division IV Tournament is just about set.

Hope (6-1) will have the second seed while North Providence (4-2) and North Smithfield (4-2) will battle for the fourth and final seed.

Few teams have dominated boys’ cross country like Hendricken. The Hawks annexed their fifth consecutive state championship on Nov. 4 by scoring 44 points – 20 fewer than second-place La Salle.

Hendricken’s points were accounted for by Connor Doyle (fourth), Colin Tierney (fifth), Tyler Henseler (seventh), Alex Doherty (135h) and Collin Manning (15th).

The Hawks added the state trophy to the Class A championship they had captured the previous week.

Trevor Crawley became the first Cumberland runner to notch the state individual title in 14 years by covering the 5000-meter course at Ponganset High in 15:39.47. That time was 20 seconds faster than second-place finisher Bryce Kelley of Chariho.

The Barrington girls may have needed a trailer to carry home all the trophies they annexed at the state cross country championships on Nov. 4 at Ponaganset.

As a team, Barrington easily captured its second consecutive state title by scoring a mere 31 points – 40 less than second-place La Salle.

In addition, freshman Emma McMillan won the individual title with a time of 18:22.99 on the 5000-meter course.

According to Interscholastic League records, McMillan is the first freshman female to win the individual championship since 1995. She finished 8.5 seconds ahead of La Salle’s Sheridan Wilbur.

After McMillan, Megan Vener-Crist (fourth), Fiona Paine (eight), Julianna Portelli (ninth) and Abigail Livingston (12th) rounded out Barrington’s first five finishers.

When Nov. 14 rolls around, three Lincoln High student-athletes will sign National Letters of Intent.

All-State pitcher Lindsay Mayer will sign with Virginia while teammate Emily Bouthillete will remain in state and sign with Bryant University.

All-Stater Nick Zammarell will head south and play baseball with Elon University in North Carolina.

Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey plus minor league baseball in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y, he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.