The Bishop Hendricken indoor track and field team cruised to its 29th state championship this past weekend at the Providence Career and Technical Academy to maintain its place as the gold standard program in the state.
The Hawks had three individual state champions and were well-represented across the board. Hendricken once again had to hold off rival La Salle, and it did just that as it won by a mere three points.
The season that Hendricken had was ridiculous, as the Hawks were barely pushed for much of the year. The Hawks had top-five talent in all events and could have picked up even more first-place finishes given the day.
This is a remarkable accomplishment for this team and program as it widens the gap between itself and La Salle, who has 24 titles.
Let’s address the obvious here. Of course Hendricken and La Salle will always be toward the top considering the talent pool that they have to choose from … you can’t ignore that fact.
However, and I have written similar columns about other Hendricken teams, but you also can’t deny that there is something special to this club and it’s more than just a talent gap here.
Jim Doyle, whether it be indoor track, outdoor track, or cross country, has established a culture of winning in these programs throughout the years. Even with a talent pool similar to public schools, he has a method that works and I believe he would find success anywhere. The talent is just what puts the organization over the top.
To win 29 titles in 40 years is incredible, and goes so far beyond just talent alone. These teams have top-notch athletes, coaches, and a system that clearly works and has worked for the past four decades.
On the one hand, I would love to see more public schools in the mix for titles. Since 1994, there has only been one indoor track champion other than Hendricken and La Salle, and that was Chariho back in 2011-2012. Like I said, the Hawks and Rams will also be the favorites, but I would love to see other schools close that gap.
I guess the only real way for this to happen would be for schools to devote even more resources to their track programs, which is much, much easier said than done. For now, it looks like we will have to just continue to wait and see.
But, on the other hand, it is always fun seeing a champion reign. Whether it be track, football, or any sport really. There is a part of me that loves watching a champion defend their crown for the long haul because ultimately when they come up short, it usually makes for a heck of a story.
Congrats to the Hawks on another historic campaign, see you all in the spring for the outdoor season.
Speaking of the Hendricken-La Salle rivalry, I am excited to see how the boys hockey playoffs unfold in Division I.
As of Monday, La Salle boasted a 12-0 record and was sitting in the drivers seat to claim the top seed. The Rams also topped Hendricken in each meeting this regular season.
The Hawks, meanwhile, sit at 7-4 and in third place. Hendricken is going through somewhat of a transitional year, losing a big senior core from last year’s championship run and welcoming in new head coach Mike Soscia.
Although the Hawks have had some lows this season, they have also had plenty of highs and have still managed to keep pace toward the top of the standings and even beat some of the top teams in the state in the process.
One thing that I love about hockey, is that it is one of the most unpredictable sports. I do not think it is much of a stretch to say that momentum means more in hockey than any other sport out there.
The wise prediction would be La Salle here. The Rams have been dominant this season and have only been tested a couple of times. It is hard to see any team beating them in a three-game series.
But, if there is any team that has the pedigree to pull off the upset, it’s Hendricken. Obviously, Mount St. Charles is always in the picture as well, and the Mounties sit in second place.
This is what I love about hockey. On paper, La Salle should skate to the title (pun intended) with ease and get revenge after losing in the big game last year.
However, you just never know with hockey. Hendricken won two games over the weekend and looked outstanding in doing so. After the wins, Soscia felt that his club was playing its best hockey and made big progress despite the record not always indicating it.
To say that regular season records don’t matter in hockey would be a little strong, but they certainly don’t carry the same weight as other sports.
Will Hendricken be able to defend its title and pull off the upset? The safe bet would be no, but I reserve the right to wait a little longer. Hockey is a crazy game.