New England Championship Boys' Preview


Judging by the entries for the boys' event at Saturday's New England Championship, there's potential for at least three, possibly more, meet records that could be broken inside the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

Towards the latter part of the meet, keep an eye on the 4x200-meter relay. The top seed in the field is Central High from Rhode Island, a team that currently ranks No. 7 in the country with a state record of 1:29.05. The Knights will be challenging the 2015 record of 1:29.23 by Windsor (CT). With the right kind of race the New England mark of 1:28.28 is a long-shot, but within reach. The Knights recently won their second straight state title with a fast 1:30.19 effort on a flat surface. A handful of schools have clocked a time faster than 1:33 and should challenge for some podium finishes, including Brighton (MA) and Hamden (CT), who have times of 1:31.61 and 1:31.95, respectively.

At the far corner of the track, behind the curve on the backstretch, good things have potential of happening at the shot put circle where Maine's Austin Lufkin of Brewer is the No.1 seed with a best of 61 feet, 5.25 inches, a distance that ranks No. 10 in the country and is nearly four feet further than Massachusetts' Colin McCabe of Dartmouth, who has done 57-10. Fellow Bay Stater Nathaniel Klein of Newton North ranks No. 3 in the field with an indoor best of 52.3.5. With a PR performance on Saturday, Lufkin could challenge the 16-year-old mark of 62-2.75 by Andre Reid of South Windsor.

The 600m mark is sure to go down, too. This race matches the 1-2 finishes from last week's MIAA All State Meet and the top two runners in the country, Burncoat's Rodney Agyare-May and Newton North's Theo Burba. Agyare-May and Burba engaged in a thrilling, down-to-the-wire battle at the states with the Burncoat standout edging his sophomore rival with a winning time of 1:18.76 to Burba's 1:18.87. Agyare-May already holds the New England record of 1:18.40. With an expected battle occurring again in this three-lapper, current world-record holder Cass Loxsom's 1:18.72 record could get eclipsed. Of note, the national record is 1:17.58! You never know. Other top runners that will be toeing the line are  Leominster's John Gove (1:20.39), Trinity's Tim Zepf (1:21.49) and Trumbull's Tyler Gleen (1:21.68).

Speaking of exciting races, the infield could produce a photo finish. In the 55m dash, defending champion Mark Doyley of Weaver (CT) will face a talented field that includes Central's Donatien Djero and La Salle's Sam Colman of R.I. and the Massachusetts' tandem of Milton's Smith Charles and Northampton's Nikolas Smith, who have all broken 6.50 this winter. Doyley, Djero and Coleman have all done 6.40.

Smith, Doyley and Djero will be back at it again in the 300m. In order, they're the top three seeds in this event with Smith at No. 1 based on his winning 34.50 clocking from his state meet this past weekend. Doyley, who was fifth in the 200m at the New Balance Nationals this past June, is a consistent sub 35-second performer. Djero and teammates Dametrius O'Connor and Austin Wolo and Phillips Magre of Sommerville (MA) are among several that have cracked 36 seconds this season.

La Salle's DJ Principe, who last year established a MR of 8:59.05 in the two mile, has opted not to defend his title this Saturday, focusing on next weekend's New Balance Nationals. With Principe out of the race, the individual crown appears up for grabs. Fairfeid Warde's William Brisman (9:19.49) and Staples' Zakeer Ahmad (9:19.69), last week's 1-2 finishers at the CT State Open, Newton North's Andrew Mah (9:17.62 best). and New Hampshire's Patrick O'Brien of Oyster River, who clocked 8:39 for 3K to win his State Meet, are all possible contenders.

Maine's Zach Hoyle of Messalonskee, who last week ran a best of 1:56 to take the 800m at his Class A State Meet, is one of the top seeds in the 1,000m. Andover's Devin O'Connell, a sub 2:31 guy, Maine's Ben Steves (2:32.21), New Hampshire's Noah Bellomo of Alvirine (2:32.59) and Connecticut's Josh Bedard of Tolland (2:32.99) are a few others that could make things interesting up front.

St. John Prep's Tristan Shelgren, who last weekend ran a nearly four-second PR for the mile to win the MIAA All State Meet in 4:15.93, is among the favorites in a loaded race. The event features a plethora of competitors that have run times in the low 4:20 range and under.  Westborough's Connor Schoen (4:20.72), a fourth-place finisher this past weekend at the All State Meet, Vermont's Jeremy Hoyne-Grosvenor of Montpelier (4:22.09) and Barrington's Mars Bishop (4:18.49 best) are all capable of podium placements.

New Hampshire boast the two fastest runners in the 55m HH with Trinity's Oliver Thomas (7.58) and Winnacunnet's Billy Powers (7.56) the only hurdles with seeds times faster than 7.60.

In the jumping events, Massachusetts' athletes occupy the top seeds with Old Rochester's Danny Renwick at No. 1 in the high jump and Milton's  Charles the best leaper in the long jump. Renwick displayed good form in his near record and PB of 6-10 at last weekend's All-State Meet. St. John's Nikolas Reardon, a runner-up in the meet, has a 6-8 best and should duke it out with his familiar foe.

Just minutes after winning his dash title, Charles nearly went 23 feet in the long jump, coming just short of the mark with his winning 22-10. If he can repeat that performance, he'll be tough to beat. New Hampshire's Philip Antonio of Winnacunnet (22-4), Michael Mecha of BC High (22-1.5), Jason Pinnock of Windsor (22-1.25), Reardon of St. John's (22-1) and Safir Scott of Greenwich (22-0.25) have also gone further than 22 feet this season.

Without a doubt, Central is the overwhelming favorite in the 4x400m.  The Knights just won the event at the Eastern State Championship in New York on Tuesday with a state record of 3:21.87. Bay Staters' Newton North (3:25.79), Wachusett (3:25.81) and Brockton (3:26.77) are the next three higher seeds.

The 4x800m will be minus last week's MIAA state champion Marshfield, which ran a meet record 7:54.  The field does include others capable of dipping under eight minutes such as Lowell (MA), Bishop Henricken (RI) and St. John's (MA) to name just a few.


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