Barrington Middle School perseveres through protests, wins state title

Middle school girls cross country team wins state championship by nearly 40 points

Posted 11/1/23

The Barrington Middle School girls cross country team won the state championship last month … twice.

The local girls team won the race held at Ponaganset High School on Sunday, Oct. 22, …

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Barrington Middle School perseveres through protests, wins state title

Middle school girls cross country team wins state championship by nearly 40 points

Posted

The Barrington Middle School girls cross country team won the state championship last month … twice.

The local girls team won the race held at Ponaganset High School on Sunday, Oct. 22, but results were left unofficial after a group of runners in the lead pack went off-course and coaches from two schools (McCourt Middle School and North Cumberland Middle School) filed protests. (A volunteer who was supposed to keep runners on-course allegedly left his or her post during the race.)

League officials decided to hold a second middle school cross country state championship for all the girls teams, and that race was held on Oct. 28. 

Officials said the times from the first race would remain for any girls who wanted to keep them and not run a second race. Those times would be compiled with the finish times from the second state championship, and team totals would be tallied.

A couple days after the Oct. 28 race, BMS Coach Larson Gunness learned his team had won… again.

“This was such a crazy end to the season, but ultimately very, very satisfying,” Gunness wrote in an email. “Throughout the drama, our girls stayed calm and focused. While many other schools in the state seemed to get quite upset by the controversy surrounding the lost runners, on our team we talked about things like sportsmanship, perspective, and forgiveness.”

Gunness said that the BMS team was not happy with the decision to leave the first race results unofficial, but they were confident in their times. 

“Also, we know our team has depth,” he wrote. “Our original times from all of our one through seven runners were super strong. In looking at the results from the vacated race, I knew we had a good chance to protect our win.”

Barrington decided to send only two girls to run in the second state race: Gracie Gaines and Annabelle Meech.

“I felt pretty confident that they would do what they needed to do during a re-race,” Gunness wrote.

In the end, he was right. 

Barrington placed all seven of its runners in the top-30. Gaines led the way with a fifth place finish overall — she finished the 3K course with a time of 12:30.09. Molly Reagan was 16th overall with a time of 13:05.10, and Kendall Blaney was right behind her, finishing in 19th overall with a time of 13:09.24. Carley Gill crossed the finish line in 22nd place overall with a time of 13:13.00, and Abby Glass was 25th with a time of 13:16.44. Charlotte Farrell finished 27th overall with a time of 13:18.51, and Meech crossed the line less than one second later, in 29th place with a time of 13:19.38. All of the Barrington girls were either seventh- or eighth-graders.

“This group showed how cross country is a team sport,” Gunness wrote. “Other schools had one or two stars. We had seven terrific athletes, all of whom showed up consistently all season. That's tough to beat. That's why they won states, in fact in my view they won it twice in one season…”

Team totals

1. Barrington Middle School — 82 points

2. Cole Middle School — 121

3. North Cumberland Middle School — 123

4. McCourt Middle School — 136

5. Kickemuit Middle School — 139

6. Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School — 187

7. Hope Highlands Middle School — 223

8. Broad Rock Middle School — 235

9. Portsmouth Middle School — 240

10. Burrillville Middle School — 250

11. Gallagher Middle School — 264

12. Chariho Middle School — 288

13. Scituate Middle School — 289

14. Wickford Middle School — 330

15. Tiverton Middle School — 333

16. Warwick Vets Middle School — 402

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