NORTH SMITHFIELD – It is widespread for athletes to have a household lineage of expertise in sports activities. However, it’s unusual for siblings to achieve success in the identical sport.
The brother-sister duo of Ray and Beth Marsella are an exception.
Ray, who’s a senior, and Beth, who’s a junior, are hurdlers at North Smithfield High School who’ve confirmed themselves to be among the many greatest within the state. This previous winter, they shined throughout the Northern Division season and on the Class C meet and certified for the state championship meet.
With just a few years of expertise as a part of the Northmen’s observe and discipline applications, the Marsellas have excelled as athletes and leaders, and their veteran coach, Gary Seal, can’t cease singing their praises.
“They are great role models, especially for the younger athletes,” he mentioned. “They are always helping out teammates, whether it’s during the indoor or outdoor season. They never miss practice and work hard.”
Ray was all the time intrigued to affix the observe staff, however was already occupied with soccer. As a freshman, he was a member of the North Smithfield/Mount Saint Charles co-op staff that went undefeated and captured the Division IV Super Bowl. Soon after, he was approached by considered one of his classmates to affix observe.
“My classmate Matt (Stamatelatos) brought me in during my freshman year.” mentioned Ray. “Ever since then, we’ve been working hard and always challenging each other to improve.”
Beth was additionally concerned with different sports activities earlier than starting her success in observe. She was a prized gymnast for eight years, which helped immensely with future coaching for hurdling. Just like Ray, she was recruited to affix the staff.
“Ray told me I should do track,” defined Beth. “He kept persuading me, and I joined my sophomore year. Ray is always motivating me and provides me with helpful advice.”
The two state-qualifying hurdlers discovered immense inspiration from their two older brothers, Tommaso and Christopher, who had been dominant athletes themselves. Both older brothers had been additionally twin sport athletes for North Smithfield High, succeeding in soccer and observe. Tomasso was an All-State soccer participant and state qualifying observe thrower, and Christopher was a speedy halfback and state qualifying hurdler.
“I remember growing up watching Tommaso and Chris participate in track and field,” mentioned Ray. “Chris’ hard work and dedication was something I always admired.”
“Watching my brothers playing sports growing up inspired me,” added Beth. “Always seeing Tomasso practicing his discus and shot put at home outside of practice really spoke to me.”
The expertise of being a part of a observe staff “has made me a leader,” mentioned Ray. “The sport has taught me many valuable lessons, including ones I will use for the rest of my life.”
“At school, I tend not to be the most social person,” added Beth. “Experiencing bonding with teammates has helped me. Here on the track, I am a completely different person.”
Unfortunately, this previous yr’s indoor state meets didn’t go as deliberate for the Marsellas within the finals of their respective 55-meter hurdles. After posting the second-fastest time within the boys’ preliminaries in 8.03 seconds, Ray ended up in sixth place within the finals in 8.35 seconds. Beth, in the meantime, fell halfway by way of the ladies’ race and broke her foot. She remains to be not at the moment cleared to take part in any bodily exercise till the foot is healed.
Even with these setbacks, they each plan on bettering and dealing onerous to solidify themselves among the many greatest hurdlers within the state.
“Each track event has an ultimate goal, which is a personal achievement you want to succeed,” mentioned Ray, who earned Second-Team All-State honors within the 110-meter hurdles final spring. “My ultimate goal for the 110-meter hurdle event is to run it under 15 seconds. I also want to finish top at the state meet.”
“As soon as I am able to run again, I am going to work harder than ever before,” added Beth, who’s the college report holder within the 55-meter hurdles along with her time of 9.11 seconds. “My ultimate goal for this season is to finish the 100-meter hurdles in under 16 seconds. I want to pick up exactly where I left off at the end of the indoor track season.”