All-State Championship: Girls Event Preview

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100m - Taelour Murphy finished 8th in 2010, but she has made tremendous progress in 2011 and enters the meet as the #1 seed with a time of 12.13.  But that’s not to say this race will be a blowout.  Emma Rice is a fantastic technician (as demonstrated by her 55m time of 7.23 from the indoor season) and has been battle tested in the very competitive DCL all season long.  Also in the mix is Brianna Tabin who is seeded second at 12.27; Shanteana Samuels who was 4th in 2010;  Kayla Comer of who has been winning races fairly easily as of late (Division 2 race video); Katelyn Elinoff at 12.37; and Courtney Williams at 12.54.  The wildcard in the bunch may be freshman Dominique Hall of Shrewsbury who ran a season best time of 12.65 last weekend.  Her progression over the past two months has been impressive and you never know how a young athlete will perform on such a large stage.


200m - Rebecca Robinson of Arlington moved up to the 400m and that has left the 200m wide-open.  Selena Yates of Holyoke finished 3rd in 2010 and is the top returner (as well as the top seed) with a time of 25.27.  But Becky Stoyle of Pembroke won the Division III 200m after two very taxing competitions in both horizontal jumps. The multi-event star seems to be handling the tremendous workload with ease as the season progresses.   

Eve Bishop of Andover is lurking in the 6th spot at 26.05 and Cory Ryan of Norwood won the Division 2 meet fairly easily at 26.09.  Again, the wildcard is another freshman.  Jessica Scott of Hopkinton is currently seeded 3rd at 25.66 and each week of added experience seems to be doing her wonders.


400m - After a quiet first half of the season Rebecca Robinson exploded on the scene and took down the Division 2 meet record last week; winning the event in 55.03.  She is the clear favorite by over 2 seconds, but the battle for a podium spot will be a hard fought affair with 5 girls seeded sub 58 seconds.  Strength will play a factor in this one because Robinson will take the pace out hard, and those that can keep from tying-up in the last 100m may find themselves rapidly closing on the rest of the field.


800m - Andrea Keklak (Lincoln-Sudbury) is accustomed to running alone and taking the race out fast.  In week #6 she ran 2:09.00 in a dual meet; splitting 61 seconds for the first 400m.  If she remains consistent with that race strategy, a pack break will form early and two separate races may develop.  Keklak has certainly earned her #1 seed and the respect that goes with it, but she is human, and her team is counting on her for additional points later in the relays.   The field will key off the moves that Keklak makes, and if the race becomes strategic, Laura Williamson of Wachusett can challenge Keklak late in the race.  Williamson is seeded second at 2:13.97 and has the talent to run 2:10, but what Williamson can’t do is get stuck in the open space between Keklak and the rest of the field and be forced to carry the workload all alone.

The rest of the field is loaded with big names.  Freshman sensation Alexia Lipman (Bromfield) ran 2:16.44 to qualify; Jade Paul (Stoughton) is the Hockomock League Champion and has run 2:16.74; Jennifer Fisher (Minnechaug) has run 2:17.34; and Emily Grotz (Oliver Ames) was 7th in 2010 at 2:17.19.  Mikhaela Tropp of Sandwich may catch many off guard.  She won the D3 Championship in 2:20.39 but was holding back and appeared to have another gear in her arsenal. 


Mile - Kathy O’Keefe of Newton South is the top seed at 5:04.55 and boasts the fastest PR of the group at 4:52.68.  Alison Lanois of Hamilton-Wenham is seeded second at 5:05.76, but she demonstrated her tremendous strength by running 10:52.62 in the 2 mile earlier this year.  She would be a contender in both events, but must be very confident in her ability to run under 5:00 if she opted to go with the mile.

Marika Crowe of Lincoln-Sudbury and Madison Granger of Belchertown both have 2:15 800m speed and qualified at 5:07.13 and 5:07.91 respectively.  Both will be in the front pack and have enough foot-speed to challenge for the win.  That front pack should also contain Katie Jessee of Concord Carlisle who has run 5:08.70 this year, and Evie Heffernan of Newton North who is seeded 5th at 5:09.77.  Heffernan is just a freshman and she seems to get faster each week (see her progression stats).


2 Mile - Catarina Rocha (Peabody) is the top seed at 10:55.76 and has the #1 time in the state at 10:48.15.  She has plenty of big meet experience and always seems to be firing on all cylinders in the post season (Division 1 race video).  Camille Blackman of Longmeadow and Viviana Hanley of Bishop Feehan have both run under 11 minutes this season, and appear poised to do it again given the relative ease at which they won their division meets. 

The rest of the field is just too close to call.  Megan Ross (Franklin), Magie Mullins (Andover), and Jillian Corcoran (Weymouth) have also run under 11 minutes in past seasons and know what to expect at a meet of this caliber.  Katie Carlson (Wachusett), Abby Hurd (Nashoba), and Julie Solimine (Haverhill) all qualified with times under 11:10 and will look to challenge the 11 minute barrier.  Finally, you can’t discount Olivia Brackett of Weston who suffered an early season hip injury but seems to be recovering well, and Eva Lauer of Wellesley who won the Division 2 meet comfortably.


100m Hurdles - Vanessa Clerveaux of Brockton continues her unbeaten streak and has gone head-to-head with the state’s best hurdlers several times this season.  She is the top seed at 14.37, but Nicole Genard of Somerville (14.75) and Kayla Wong of Newton North (14.78) will challenge her the entire way.  The finals should also contain Kristen McDonagh of Mansfield who has run 15.00, Meghan Petrolia of Hingham who is seeded at 15.23, and Lauren Ready of Lincoln-Sudbury who always seems to find her way to the finals. 

Also in the hunt is Karla Ganley of Wellesley who is seeded at 15th (15.34) after clipping a hurdle late in the race during the Division 2 Championships (race video).  Her tremendous athleticism carried her to a qualifying spot despite the glitch and it’s rare that she makes the same mistake twice. 


400m Hurdles - Alex Stanton of Medfield won the Division 2 Championship easily and posted a MA#2 time of 63.08 in the process.  But Jen Esposito of Mansfield leads the state and is still US#12 at 61.54.  She proved that her performance at the Penn Relays was no fluke and nearly matched that time at the Division 2 championships; winning in 61.55.  Emily Clark of Nashoba and Amanda Foote of North Andover have also run under 64 seconds and should be a factor in the finals.


4x800m Relay - Four of the top six times in the state were the product of the Division 1 Championships.  In that race, Marika Crowe ran the third leg for Lincoln-Sudbury received the baton in a distant 7th place.  She then proceeded to run past the entire field before she entered the final exchange with teammate Andrea Keklak (race video).  Lincoln-Sudbury won the event in a state leading time of 9:25.79 and is the #1 seed going into Saturday.

Weymouth put up a good fight and the Division 1 Championships and ran an impressive 9:35.42 to finish second.  They should be in contention with Central Catholic, Hamilton Wenham, Newton South, and Bishop Feehan for the top 3 spots.  Central Catholic won the Division 2 Championship by 12 seconds, and Bishop Feehan ran 9:40.27 at the Loucks Games.  It’s unclear how much of a gap one needs on Lincoln-Sudbury to hold off Crowe and Keklak, but it’s certain you need more than 50 meters.  Keep in mind that Lincoln-Sudbury ran 9:19.00 at the 2010 All-State Meet without a senior in the group.


4x100m Relay - Brockton has been on a roll lately, and clean handoffs coupled with a dominant anchor leg has resulted in multiple sub 50 second performances.  They enter Saturday as the #1 seed at 49.06, but three other teams have run sub 50 seconds.

Watertown, Hingham, and Somerville all have high profile sprinters and pose a threat to Brockton.  In addition, sitting just above the 50 second threshold is Mansfield (50.04) who will need significant points in this event to keep their team title hopes alive.  In the end, we may see a rematch of Vanessa Clerveaux (Brockton) and Nicole Genard (Somerville) racing down the final 100m for the win.


4x400m RelayFour teams enter the meet with seed times under 4 minutes, and two others are on the verge.  Andover had a fantastic team effort last weekend to hold off Newton North at the Division 1 Championships, and Mansfield had a similar scenario with Wellesley at the Division 2 Championships (race video).  The question remains ….. how fast can Northampton run when pushed by four team of this caliber?  They have flirted with the 4 minute barrier all year and appear ready to take a shot at the podium.  But do not forget about Lincoln-Sudbury who ran 4:02.30 at the District E Relays.


High Jump - Moira Cronin’s winning jump last week was nothing short of spectacular.  Her 5’10” clearance catapulted her to the top seed and tied her for 3rd in the country. She is the clear favorite and her new PR may have changed the strategy for the entire field.  It will be interesting to see her opening height and how the rest of the field adjusts to that decision.

But Cronin will not be alone when the bar is raised above 5’6”.  Kristen McDonagh of Mansfield is the defending state champion and has jumped 5’8”.  She had some nice attempts at 5’7” last week and has the added benefit of jumping at the Bridgewater State track.  Joining her will be Hadlee Coker of Falmouth who has jumped 5’5”, Jess Salley of Andover who has cleared 5’6”, and Haley Laird of Algonquin who has also cleared 5’6”.


Pole Vault  - With Steph Brown of Newton North out of the competition due to an injury, Karla Ganley of Wellesley assumes the role of being the top returner from the 2010 All-State Meet.  Ganley is the top seed at 10’9”, but Erin Silva of Westborough has cleared 11’0” this season.  Catelyn Griffin (Marlborough), Michelle McGahan (Acton-Boxborough), Eve Bishop (Andover), Meg Darnley (Westborough), and Kial Church (Acton-Boxborough) have all cleared 10’0” and should be in contention.


Long Jump  - Nicole Gilbert of Hanover launched a 19’0” jump to win the Division 4 Championship and sits atop the seed list just under 2 inches ahead of Nadia Eke of Holy Name.  Nadia had a MA#2 jump of 18’8.25” at the District E Championships and topped that with a 41’9” triple jump the same day.  But Carla Forbes, the 2011 Indoor National Champion, is quietly sitting in 4th with a 17’5.75” seed mark.  Forbes has jumped 18’6” this season and won the New Balance Indoor Championships at 19’5.5”.


Triple Jump  - If you want to see five of the most competitive athletes in the state you will need to get up from the stands and walk over to the triple jump.  This event features Nadia Eke, Carla Forbes, Vanessa Clerveaux, Becky Stoyle, and Kristen McDonagh; each with very diverse competitive backgrounds, but all fiercely competitive.  Eke leads the group with her winning jump from last week of 41’1”.  Forbes is second at 40’2”; followed by Clerveaux (39’1) and Stoyle (38’7.75”).  McDonagh is sitting deep in the pack at 36’2”, but you can be sure, if Mansfield needs the team points she will deliver. 


Discus - Holly Lanchantin of Natick is the top seed at 125’4”; followed by Adrienne Thornton of O’Bryant (122’8”), and Jackie Vahey of Winchester (120’9”).  But deep in the pack is Chidimma Nwanko of Canton who has thrown 120’5”, Tatiana Froehlich of Newton North who has thrown 123’0”, Sarah Dahlstrom of Algonquin who was 4th in 2010, and Naloti Palma of Westborough who was 6th in 2010.  There is no clear favorite and it should be a great competition.


Javelin - Katie Cataldo of Bishop Feehan is the top seed at 133’6”, but Meghan McHugh of North Attleboro has the top mark in the state at 138’2”.  Nicole Genard of Somerville is going to have a long day on her hands, but she is a tremendous athlete and can certainly deliver on her #3 seed of 127’3”.  Sitting in 5th at 124’8” is Corrie Molleur of Tantasqua who was 7th in 2010, and in 10th is Andrea Caprio of Tewksbury who has the 3rd best mark in the state of 130’2”.


Shot Put - Courtney Williams of New Bedford was 3rd in 2010 at 37’6.5”.  Oh what a difference a year makes.  In 2011, Williams leads the state at 42’0” and is the only athlete in the state with a mark over 40 feet.  Brittany Green of Lunenburg was 6th in 2010 and is now seeded second at 37’10.75”.  She will be challenged by Alyssa Jasper who qualified at 37’9.5”, and Chidimma Nwanko who was 8th in 2010.