LaSalle’s D.J. Principe Wins Second Straight New England XC Title, South Kingstown’s Ellie Lawler Finishes Fourth In Girls Race


R.I. Track & Field Foundation

   12 Nov.  – – La Salle’s amazing David “DJ’’ Principe put the perfect finishing touch on his four-year RIIL cross country career on Saturday at the 82nd New England Championships, held for the third time at Ponaganset’s “Covered Bridge’’ trail. Running in clear and brisk weather conditions, the Ram senior notched his second straight regional title, cruising to the finish line on a 15 minute, 13-second performance. In so doing, Principe became the only Rhode Islander to win two consecutive New England championships; that accomplishment places him alongside Glastonbury (Conn.) star Don Cabral, the victor in 2006 and ’07.

     Teamwise, the La Salle girls finished fourth (234). The overall prize went to meet favorite Champlain Valley, Vermont (121). The La Salle boys, defending champs going into Saturday’s competition, placed second to Staples, Conn., 155-72. Adding points to the Ram effort was freshman standout Max Dimuccio, who placed fifth in 15:50. Dimuccio was third in the state a week ago.

     The top Rhode Island girl over the line was South Kingstown junior Ellie Lawler. She finished fourth in 18:01. Coming across a close fifth was Westerly junior Randi Burr in 18:07.    

“DJ”: Helping the team

     “I went out hard, but then tried to kick it back today,’’ said Principe who – as he did last year – entered the New England field as R.I. champion. “I was blessed to have the opportunity to help the team as much as I could.’’

     “He’s in rarefied air,’’ La Salle head coach Ken Skelly said of his No. 1 harrier. “He’s fearless. He designed his own race plan today. He executed the way he wanted.’’

     Principe, who turned in a 4:44 mile en route to a 9:37 two-mile clocking, was challenged by Pat O’Brien, a senior from Oyster River, N.H. O’Brien posted a 15:20 time for second place. Staples (Conn.) senior Zakeer Ahmad was No. 3 man in 15:30.

     “I knew D.J. was going to be tough,’’ said the Dartmouth college-bound O’Brien. “He pulled away at the hill, and I kept the gap the same. I was happy with my race. The course here is tough, but the weather was perfect.’’

     North Kingstown sophomore Sam Toolin hit the tape in 14th place (15:57) behind East Greenwich’s Jackson Cronin, who placed 11th (15:55). Barrington’s talented senior Mars Bishop was the fifth local finisher; he clocked 15:58 for 18th overall spot.

Lawler, Burr lead Rhode Island contingent

     As the gun went off for the girls’ race, South Kingstown’s Ellie Lawler and Westerly’s Randi Burr established themselves in the front pack. Portsmouth sophomore Liz Sullivan was in the mix in the early stages. Ultimately, Lawler finished fourth in 18:01. Burr was next through the chute in 18:07. The race was won by Jackie Gaughan, a junior from Exeter (N.H.) High School in 17:34.

     “I had a terrible start,’’ said Lawler, who said she caught the heel of her shoe, but recovered quickly. “I was focused on catching the leader. I went as hard as I could; it was the adrenalin coming off [the mishap]. I didn’t feel anything else but that.’’

     “I didn’t have a good race last year,’’ said Gaughan, who logged a mile time of 5:30 on Saturday. “I ran my own race today. I tried not to get caught up at the start.’’ Gaughan came into Saturday’s event as the New Hampshire state champ.

     “I’m happy to get a better time [than last weekend],’’ said Westerly’s Burr, who finished second to Lawler at the State Meet. “I was able to be in the front pack.’’

     La Salle’s Emily Kane (22nd) and Grace Connolly (23rd) were the Nos. 3 and 4 Rhode Island finishers, respectively. Kane ran 18:30 to Connolly’s 18:41. Portsmouth’s Sullivan was the fifth local runner (27th) in 18:48. Cranston East’s talented senior Shayna Cousineau was No. 6 Rhode Islander: 35th overall in 19:01.

     Course Notes: The New England meet paid its third visit to Ponaganset over the past decade . . . Going back into history, the regional event has been staged localls 22 times since its 1934 inception . . . The first R.I. site for the New Englands was Triggs Memorial Golf Course in Providence; that was in 1936. La Salle’s John Ramaeka was the top R.I. man, at No. 6. The ’36 champ was Richard Meade, of Concord, N.H. . . . The Rams finished second to team champs Arlington, Maine . . . In 2006 at Ponaganset the top local boy was Barrington’s Sid Griffin (24th); the top girl was La Salle’s Jeanne Mack (fourth) . . . in 2011, the last N.E. meet visit, the Rams’ Molly Keating placed second. Charho’s Mike Marsella was crowned New England boys’ champ.



     4, La Salle 234; 13, S. Kingstown 350; 14, Portsmouth 372; 19, N. Kingstown 468; 25, Bay View 558; 28, E. Greenwich 647.

Top 20 R.I. finishers (w/overall place)

     1 (4) Ellie Lawler, SK 18:01; 2 (5) Randi Burr, West. 18:07; 3 (22) Emily Kane, LS 18:38; 4 (23) Grace Connolly, LS 18:41; 5 (27) Liz Sullivan, Ports. 18:48; 6 (35) Shayna Cousineau, Cr. East 19:01; 7 (52) Kate Zitzmann, Barr. 19:19; 8 (55) Claire Hanlon, BV 19:21; 9 (61) Alyson Walsh, LS 19:24; 10 (74) Wyndom Chace, NK 19:34; 11 (86) Kata Cummings West. 19:40; 12 (87) Una Treanor, Smith. 19:41; 13 (101) Sofia White, Ports. 19:57; 14 (103) Lily Nunnery, NK 19:58; 15 (111) Sydney Bagus, Smith. 20:03.2; 16 (112) Liz La Croix, Char. 20:03.3; 17 (120) Nikki Merrill, Ports. 20:08; 18 (131) Hannah Southwick, SK 20:15.3; 19 (132) Kali Vanderlaan, SK 2015.5; 20 (136) Samantha Leal, Linc. 20:22. Dist. – 3.1.



     2, La Salle 155; 5, Hendricken 210; 12, Barrington 339; 14, E. Greenwich 387; 15, Chariho 389.

Top 20 R.I. finishers (w/overall place)

     1 (1) DJ Principe, LS 15:13.3; 2 (5) Max Dimuccio, LS 15:50; 3 (11) Jackson Cronin, EG 15:55; 4 (14) Sam Toolin, NK 15:57; 5 (18) Mars Bishop, Barr. 15:58; 6 (21) Ben Drezek, Cumb. 16:02; 7 (34) Joe dosReis, LS 16:11; 8 (48) Matt Walker, West. 16:21; 9 (54) Dom Campagna, LS 16:28; 10 (59) Aidan Tierney, BH 16:32; 11 (68) Evan O’Neil, Char. 16:37; 12 (72) Nik Reygadas, TG 16:38; 13 (74) Willy Por, EG 16:39; 14 (76) Hayden Ivatts, Barr. 16:40.2; 15 (78) Jordan Dagrin, BH 16:40.9; 16 (79) Jon Iamarone, BH 16:41; 17 (82) Sean Meehan, BH 16:42; 18 (90) Kyle Keefe, Char. 16:45.3; 19 (91) Garrett Miller, Char. 16:45.6; 20 (107) Noah Tellier, NK 16:51. Dist. – 3.1.