Building off impressive state championship performances, Warwick crowned five more All-Americans with the girls sprint medley relay (SMR) and pole vault at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, NC.
Sophomore Alissa Madura put Warwick in a great position with a 200 meter run of 27.3 seconds at the start of the SMR. Senior Kaeli Thompson ran a strong second 200 meter leg of the medley relay with a time of 26.5 seconds, handing the baton off to her sister, Kristen Thompson, who put the team in medal contention with a personal best 400 meter run of 56.2 seconds. Anchoring the medley relay was sophomore Katherine Smith. Knowing she had to perform big to ensure a podium finish for her team, Katherine blazed by multiple competitors in the final stretch of the 800 meter leg of the relay, running a personal best of 2:11.15. The team finished third in the nation with a time of 4:01.68.
In her last event wearing purple and gold, Duke-bound Kaeli Thompson soared in the pole vault. After celebrating on the podium with her teammates in the SMR, Kaeli set her sights on wearing the All-American crown once more in her individual event. In what was a close battle for the gold medal, Kaeli finished in third place with a jump of 13’5”. Kaeli’s final performance as a Wildcat marked the end of one of the most successful high school careers for a Warwick athlete, holding multiple school records, section titles, and state and national championship wins.
Junior Behailu Bekele-Arcuri also contributed to a stellar weekend for Warwick. He rewrote the Section 9 record books with his racing performance at this year’s outdoor track and field nationals. Running a 5,000 meter time of 15:07.28 made him the fifth fastest in all of Section 9; this time was also the third fastest in school history. In a marvelous show of his athletic prowess, Behailu returned the following day to run a time of 9:21.57, placing second in the emerging elite 2-mile run.
Rounding out a successful national showing, the girl’s 4×400 meter relay team competed in the final event of the outdoor season. Fighting against temperatures rising above 90 degrees, Jade Liguori led off with a time of 62.1. Kristen Thompson (58.1) and Katherine Smith (57.75) battled a tough field of competitors in the second and third legs of the race, while junior Caroline Fatta anchored the relay in a time 60.90, fighting her way to the finish line, putting forth a valiant effort on the track. The team ran 3:59.16, finishing 28th in the nation.
Young pole vault standout, Lily Beattie (seventh grade), also competed in the junior high school championships, jumping 8’7” and finishing her season in 15th place at the New Balance Nationals.