Francis Porrini III and Treshawn Blair represented the Bristol Central Rams at Nationals last week as the two competed in several track and field events in Oregon and Philadelphia.
An All-American junior, Porrini placed fifth in the 2,000 steeplechase at the Nike Outdoor Nationals at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. He also placed ninth in the Emerging Elite 800 and set a new personal record time of 1:56.774.
Blair competed in the triple jump at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals at the University of Pennsylvania. While he unfortunately fouled all three of his jumps, Rams coach Tamara Stafford-Kirk said he’ll be right back at Nationals next year.
“I’m really proud of both of these guys,” Stafford-Kirk said. “Blair is the first jumper that I’ve had qualify in the last few years so that was pretty great. For Frankie to qualify for multiple events was very cool. It’s only the second time that we’ve had a distance runner qualify for one of the championship events.”
Stafford said Bristol Central has been fortunate over the past 10 years to have an athlete qualify for nationals in nearly each year. She said in the 25 years that she has been with the program they have been able to build it to a point where now the athletes trust and believe in what they’re doing.
That statement holds true in the example of Blair, who had never triple jumped prior to his sophomore year of high school.
Stafford said since Bristol Central doesn’t have a youth program, track and field becomes a very big teaching sport even at the high school level. She said when she first saw Blair in the gym she noticed how athletic he was and told him that he has something special.
Blair committed himself to track and to learning the high jump, long jump and triple jump. It paid off. He not only made it to Nationals, but also qualified for states in all three jumps, something Stafford said is not easy to do.
“It’s just about the time that he puts in, the repetition and breaking everything down so that he can know every step of the jump,” she said. “He’s just a natural athlete. You can see his athleticism in everything that he does.”
Blair said competing at nationals was a great experience and that he enjoyed meeting people from other states and competing at the highest level.
“It was my first time at Nationals,” he said. “My coaches just had me work every meet toward that goal. I finally qualified and I just felt joy and happiness.”
For Porrini, it was his third time competing at Nationals, but this time was different. It was his first time on the West Coast and also the first time he competed in a championship race.
He said overall he was happy with his performance.
“The journey there was a lot of training, a lot of mileage and a lot of hard workouts,” he said. “It was a cool experience to go out there and run. It was fun. I feel like I did pretty well.”
Stafford said Porrini is truly committed to his training and believes in the program.
“We went pretty heavy on him with his training to really try to get him in the best shape possible,” she said. “He's just a hard worker on the track and is really into the sport. He’s a true student of the sport, which is really cool.”
Stafford said she is excited to get both Blair and Porrini back for their senior years and continue to build on the success that they had this season.