Marshfield's Ellen DiPietro gave the Reggie Lewis Center crowd something to cheer about early in the season. DiPietro soared over 5 feet, 9 inches to break the meet record at the Boston Holiday Challenge then proceeded to clear 5-10 on her final attempt. That effort for the Michigan State-bound DiPietro put her at No. 1 in the country this winter and No. 3 all-time in Massachusetts.And seeing that it is only December, DiPietro is nowhere near peaking.
"I usually do very well in my early meets," she said. "I kind of felt a PR because I trained a lot in the summer and fall. I definitely feel a lot stronger. It's all about the takeoff for me."
DiPietro was unbeatable in the infield, grabbing the 55 hurdles in 8.59 ahead of Aly Gardner of Gardner's 8.70 and teammate Kelsy Sullivan who pushed to third in 8.81. Sullivan took the gold medal in the long jump with a 17-4-1/4 effort.
The afternoon at Reggie Lewis was a poignant one with several stellar performances. Newton North's Gabe Montague demolished the mile field by a whopping 12 seconds in a meet record and personal best of 4:15.82.
"I decided to race it as if it was a thousand and six hundred," said Montague. "It felt tough after the thousand and going into the six hunderd. I knew what I had to do."
Michaela Smith took her first step in her quest for a state title by breaking the meet record and defending her title with a scintillating heave of 40-1-1/2. Smith, second in her specialty last season, knows her best throws are in front of her.
"I feel like I'm a little behind," said the Newton North standout.
Abby McNulty of Bishop Feehan easily defended her title in the 2 mile, lapping the field and crossing the finish line in a quick 10:46.57. Cambridge's Shaquille Anderson edged out Zachary Mello of Bishop Stang with both sprinters recording the same 6.69 in the 55 dash. BC High's Jordan Samuels took the 55 hurdles in 7.74 with Newton North's Nick Forana taking second in 7.86. Zakari Jenkins of Nashua North rolled to the win in the 300 in 36.14 and Joe Luongo of St. John's Prep bolted to victory in the 600 with a swift 1:24.13.
Evan Dombrowski of St. John's Prep was untouchable in the shot put circle, getting off a 55-1/2 toss and Bedford's Sam Bradford outdueled Johnny Abraham of Lowell and Tim Loehner of St. John's Prep to win the 2 mile in 9:30.18. Jeffrey Mallard of Weston leaped 21-5 for the long jump win and Hiroto Watanabe of Dennis-Yarmouth ran 2:36.63 to win the 1000.
Dracut's Karina Shepard, who a week ago ran a national season best of 2:52.1 in the 1000, rallied late in the mile to repass Lowell's Kaley Richards in a meet record of 5:07.68. Richards was a step back in 5:07.80 in the photo finish.
"I was going for a faster time but I wasn't feeling it," said Shepard. "I was a little nervous. I could feel myself slowing down a bit, but I was ready for her (Richards)."
Hingham's Sierra Irvin had a big race in the 300, clicking off a 39.80 to defeat Isabella DiMare of Notre Dame of Hingham and Barnstable's Amanda Henson in the process.
Henson was an easy winner in the 55 dash in 7.31 after her rival, Jessica Scott of Hopkinton, false started out of the blocks and was disqualified.
"That was disappointing because I really wanted to race Jessica," said the pint-sized but muscular Henson. "We've been racing each other since freshman year. The false start really threw me. You only have about twenty five seconds to regroup."
Henson, who power lifts during the offseason, finds the added work to benefit her out of the starting blocks. "I'm so short that I have to be twice as strong," she said with a smile.
The 300 was one of the best races of the day as Hingham's Sierra Irvin held off a fast closing Isabella DiMare of Notre Dame for the 39.80 win. DiMare was a strong second in 40.73 and Henson nailed down third in 41.69. Gina Conti of Walpole sprinted to victory in the 600 with her 1:39.83 and Ursuline's Amy Piccolo outkicked the field for the win in the 1000.