NBNI Preview: Championship Girls' Relay Events

From what we see, Massachusetts will be well represented this weekend in the relay events at the New Balance Nationals with more than a dozen teams (boys and girls) competing in seven different relays. The three-day meet kicks off on Friday night and the first of the championship relays, the Distance Medley Relay, will be on the track. 

Littleton and Milton will both have teams in this relay, which consists of a 1,200m leg followed by a 400m, 800m and mile leg. With the foursome of Grace Formichella, Emma Hartzel, and Kaitlyn and Sarah Roffman, Littleton appears capable of clocking a time in the low 12-minute range, especially with the two Roffman sisters book-ending the relay with the opening and closing legs. Sarah has a best of five minutes for the mile, while Kaitlyn has done 5:10.

With a quartet that features Collette and Elise O'Leary, Josie Cousineau and Bridget Mitchell, Milton has a legitimate chance at a podium finish, perhaps top three. In last year's event, North Rockland (NY) won the event with a meet record of 11:34.85.  The Wildcats have potential to run a time in the 11:30-11:40 range. Collette O'Leary, the likely lead-off leg, has done 2:54 for the 1,000. Elise O'Leary has 56-second speed for 400m and 2:15 for  800m, Cousineau has best of 1:42 for 600m and Mitchell is a sub five-minute miler. Put that all together and good things could happen on Friday night.

Milton also has a chance to place high in the 4xMile on Sunday morning with the quartet of Mitchell, the two O'Learys and Ella Affanto, a sub 5:20 miler. In the 2016 event, La Salle Academy (RI) defended its title with a winning 20:11. In the past, a time in the low 20-minute range would win this race. This team is certainly capable of doing that if everyone runs to their ability.

Newton South also has a strong team heading to NYC with Caroline Barry, Katie Collins, Emily Bulczynski and Lucy Jenks making up its foursome.  Based on their best times for the mile, this group combined should run in the 20:45-20:50 range. Competing under the electrifying atmosphere that NBNI creates, you have to believe that there's also potential for an even faster time. The question is will it be enough for a podium placement?

This past weekend's New England Championships produced an exciting race in the 4x800m relay with Franklin finishing third overall with a state best of 9:15.14. The quartet of Katherine Hartnett, Julia Fenerty, Meghan Doherty and Nicole Clement will be racing together one last time this indoor season where they'll be hoping to improve on their nation No. 8. In 2016, Lincoln Sudbury (fourth, 9:05.95) and Milton (sixth, 9:07.49) earned All-American status with a top-six finish. It would appear that a sub 9:10 would be needed once again to crack the top six. Will the Panthers be up for the task? Milton will also have a team on the starting line, hoping to repeat or better its performance from last year.  It will feature the O'Leary sisters, Genevieve Connolly and Eliza O'Donnell.

In the Sprint Medley,  Hopkington (4:12.18) and Marshfield (4:12.98) are ranked in the top 10. Neeham (4:14.39) and Concord-Carlisle (4:15.45) make up the next tier in the top 20. These stats are somewhat deceiving considering the event is seldom run at most meets.  Last year, Sammy Watson anchored Rush Henrietta (NY) to a 3:55.48 win with a 2:07 anchor leg for 800m. For a team to crack the the top 10, it required a time of 4:07.23 or better.




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