MA Athletes To Watch: Grace Connolly, Natick

Grace Connolly, Natick

Connolly is coming off another dominating cross-country season where she won a majority of her races by more than a minute and captured her second straight individual title at the All State Meet. On the indoor surface, prepare for the junior to be equally dominating, although the company will be a little closer. Connolly primarily competes in the two longest events, the mile and two mile. For the shorter race, she owns a best of 4:52, which she did to finish sixth overall at the New Balance Nationals. For the deuce, her indoor best is 10:45, which she did as a freshman. This is an event that Connolly didn't necessarily run all out last year, generally doing it as a second event and focusing just on the win to accumulate team points. We are curious if Connolly will take this event further this season, perhaps running it solely at a major invitational either in-state or beyond the borders at meets like the Yale Track Classic (3K) or Dartmouth Relays. Based on her previous history, it's not too far-fetched to believe that she could run a time in the 10:30 range, possibly faster. Her biggest challenge will come in the mile where several are capable of breaking five minutes. It's also an event she won by barely a lean over Tewksbury's Rachel Sessa at last year's All State Meet (see above photo).