Eastern Massachusetts Girls' Division Previews

Eastern Massachusetts Girls' Division 1

This one certainly has potential to produce a dogfight between defending champion Lexington, Newton South and consistent power Lowell expected to figure in the mix for that top position. You also can't count out Newton North and newcomer Franklin. Both Lexington and Lowell, our 1-2 finishers at the divisionals last year, have nearly identical squads from last fall with few graduates. Senior Olivia Sheffield, a runner-up in 2016-17, leads Lowell and is one of the favorites to snare individual honors. She finished seventh overall at the All State Finals last fall. The Red Raiders also have the junior tandem of Lindsey Ahern and Sarah Meehan, who are capable of cracking the top 10 at this year's division meet after placing 17th and 18th, respectively, last year. In all, Lowell will have six of its seven scoring runners back this season. Newton South, which finished fourth at last year's Eastern States without injured star Clare Martin on the trails, will be fueled by senior Caroline Barry. Barry was the No. 1 harrier for the Lions at last year's divisionals, finishing fourth overall. Four of the top five scoring runners from last fall will all be returning for Newton South. Lexington is minus its top two finishers from last year's division meet - Grace Leightheiser (third) and Alexandra Wolf (sixth). But the next five are all coming back, including Barrett-Tzannes, Kesina Sorter and Kohlasch Anna, who all cracked the top 20 at last year's divisionals. It will be interesting to see how Franklin fares this year in a higher division. The Panthers, who finished seventh in Division 2 last fall, consistently produce strong squads. All seven of their runners will be returning.

Several in this division appear capable to taking individual honors with Sheffield and Barry among the leading contenders.