WARWICK – A lingering shoulder problem, one that bothered him during a still successful indoor campaign, has limited the number of meets for Freddy Gobewole this spring.
But it hasn’t stopped him from winning.
The Shea High senior ran the fastest time in the state in the 100-meter dash on Saturday, winning the individual title at the annual Hendricken Invitational with a time of 10.5 seconds. Gobewole’s performance, where he defeated junior Josh Gilkenson of Moses Brown by a tenth of a second, comes just a week before the state championships at Brown Stadium.
Gobewole will be trying to make it 2-for-2 this year with a victory at next Saturday’s meet. He won the 55 dash at the indoor state championship in February.
“I am just going to do what I can do,” Gobewole said. “No one is a lightweight.”
The speedy Raider, who suffered his shoulder injury during the football season, was able to withstand the pain en route to his first state title in the winter. After taking some time off, he suffered a minor mishap at the start of the outdoor season
“My shoulder has been healing up but I pulled it in like the second dual meet,” he said. “I have been taking it slow. I try to practice but the pain is still there a lot.”
Gobewole’s first meet after about a short hiatus proved successful when he won the 100 at the Eastern Division Championship on May 9 with a quality 10.9 clocking. The talented sprinter didn’t run in his class meet last week, but felt competing at the Hendricken Invitational was important with the outdoor championship a mere seven days away.
He was pleasantly surprised by the results.
“I wanted to get a legitimate time down for the states,” he said. “I know I haven’t been getting my time down because I have been missing so much. I felt like I got a good start (on Saturday) and felt like I was running well. I mean, a 10.5, that’s amazing! The beginning of the season my goal was 10.6. For me, to get a 10.5 today, I thank God a lot for that. I felt good. My shoulder was not hurting. I stretched out well. Everything felt good and smooth. I just ran and it took me to a victory.”
“I wouldn’t say that I doubted myself,” he continued. “I just knew what to look out for. I wasn’t going in just thinking I would win. In the performance list, (Gilkenson) had a better time than me. Coming into this, I knew it wasn’t going to be a relaxed meet. I knew it would be intense and I would definitely have to take it serious.”
Gobewole will not run against his good friend Gilkenson, a Pawtucket native, at the state meet. Moses Brown competes in a separate private school championship. But there are still plenty of legitimate sprinters he’ll have to contend against with seven other runners that have dipped under 11 seconds this year. Among that list is East Providence freshman Ryan Williams (10.8) and Woonsocket sophomore Jalen Evans (10.9).
Three other area athletes also earned gold at the Hendricken meet. Defending high jump state champion Steven Vazquez of Central Falls won his specialty with a leap of 6 feet, 6 inches. St. Raphael junior Robert Parker broke the tape in the 3,000 with a personal best time of 9:08.6 and East Providence’s Trent Depina copped the triple jump with a distance of 44-0.
Vazquez opened the meet by clearing six feet. He made 6-2 on his first attempt, but had to go to his last try at 6-4.
“I was helping my mom move stuff (on Friday) and they say you shouldn’t be doing that (before competing),” he said. “I was a little tired.”
Vazquez made his winning leap on his initial attempt.
“I’m pretty sure I could have gotten 6-8 easily,” he said. “When I jumped over the bar my back was over it but I arched at the wrong time.”
At the Mount Pleasant Invitational, a final state meet qualifier for girls on Saturday, the area crowned four individual champions.
Central Falls multiple all-stater Aleide Fernandes won the shot put with a heave of 37-11. She was also second in the discus at 110-2.
Woonsocket sophomore Kaylnn Pitts continued her mastery in the triple jump as the state’s leader in that event won with a distance of 37-10. Pitts most impressive performance of the afternoon came in the high jump where she had a four-inch best of 5-7. She placed second overall as La Salle Academy’s Dakota Dailey-Harris tied a state mark by clearing 5-9.
Smithfield’s Angela Ragosta won the 100 high hurdles with a 15.1 clocking and Tolman’s Cassie Gustafson claimed the javelin with a toss of 108-1.