MIAA Divisional action kicks off on Wednesday with the Division 5 Championships which means that the last chance to qualify for divisionals comes up this weekend at the MSTCA Last Chance to Qualify Meet at Reggie. While some may be looking to up their seed to automatically qualify for the next two weeks' competitions, others may be trying to book their ticket to NYC for the New Balance Indoor National Championships prior to championship season. Here is a quick preview of those looking to extend their season this weekend:
This year, the MSTCA is upping the ante for MA teams looking to qualify for Nationals by offering the full 4x55m hurdle relay event. The event will have four hurdles for each athlete making the event NBNI-qualifiable. On the boys' side, Tewksbury (27.40) has the lone seed under the championship event NBIN qualifying mark of 31.44; however, the team was disqualified from the State Relays for missing two hurdles. Look for Norton (31.99), North Andover (32.00) and Brockton (32.00), traditional hurdle powerhouses with history of NBIN experience, to lay claim for qualifying marks as well. As for the girls, North Attleborough (30.43) comes in with the NBIN 4x55 yd standard, looking to gain experience to make a run at All-American honors in March. The full 4x55m hurdle standard of 35.44 has been achieved by Andover (34.49) at the East Coast Invitational, but will also be threatened by Douglas (31.91), who just missed the 4x55 yd standard at State Relays, and North Reading (34.50) who was on pace at the State Relays but was disqualified for a pass violation.
A run at the 4x200m emerging elite (EE) standard (1:31.90) and Championship standard (1:30.60) is likely to take place as MA#5 Amherst-Pelham (1:31.27) has punched their ticket but is looking to break into the Championship division. Hopefully giving them chase, in what has the making for a fast race, is MA#8 Brockton (1:32.55), while Boston College HS (1:34.25) is hoping that the NBIN chase will carry the field to a stronger state ranking. While the MA#8 Natick girls (1:47.78) leads Groton-Dunstable (1:49.96) in a field that will need a big boost to make a run for the EE standard (1:45.20)
MA#4 Brookline (8:08.52) and MA#5 Needham (8:08.68) will showdown in the boys 4x800m relay, needing just a slight push to reach the EE standard (8:07.0) while the girls 4x800m has MA#5 Natick (9:38.47) itching to shave off a half second to get the EE standard (9.38.00). If Natick runs both Connollys in the relay, however, watch out for the Redhawks to grab that Championship standard (9:32.00), which Boston Latin already achieved at the Coaches Invitational.
Meanwhile in the 4x400m relay, MA#5 Brockton (3:27.21) may be forced to solo their Championship standard attempt (3:25.00). After already achieving the EE standard, the Boxers will look to drop two seconds off their time while being nine seconds ahead of second-seeded East Bridgewater (3:36.03). A similar story can be made for the Holliston girls (4:10.64), as the MA#11 girls relay sits six seconds over the EE standard (4:04.00) although they should be pushed by Natick (4:13.83), barring any setbacks if the Redhawks use similar personnel for the 4x800m relay. If so, tired legs may make the race Holliston's to lose.
The second NBIN-special event will be the sprint medley relay (SMR) but with a 200m-200m-400m-800m order. Methuen (3:38.00) is seeded six seconds faster than their State Relays finish but will likely focus their efforts on qualifying the team for NBIN Emerging Elite (3:37.00). Wakefield (3:38.12) and Westford Academy (3:38.62) are likely to follow suit with strong opportunities to qualify, having not done so yet this season. Meanwhile, the girls SMR field will solely feature Brookline (4:15.91) as a team that has qualified; yet, results for Andover (4:09.68), Shepherd Hill (4:14.00), Medway (4:16.00), Woburn (4:16.00) and Beverly (4:18.27) could not be found to defend their EE qualifications. Nevertheless, the standard to reach for the EE SMR is 4:19.00.
Out of the top three entries, results could only be found for the third seed, Mackenzie Condon of Martha's Vineyard (8.74), whom currently sits in tie at MA#10. But multi-talented Madi Krohto of Pentucket (8.79) is poised for an explosive race after a MA#6 8.58 runner-up finish at the Cape Ann Championship. For the boys, expect more of the same from the Brockton Boxers as MA#3 Jordan Williams (7.61) and Zion Barber-Amado (7.90) are ready to make a case for the EE hurdles (7.54), especially after Barber-Amado upgraded to MA#12 with his 7.82 win in the Tri County League Championships this past week. Pentucket's Jack Clohisy (7.92) and Nauset's Matthew Cahill (7.98) lead the field as the only sub-8.00 performers.
Shepherd Hill's Madison Marsh (7.30) and her MA#5 seed leads the charge in the girls 55m dash as most of the other top entries cannot be supported by MileSplit meet results. Look for Marsh to run away with the short sprints unless one of the other top entries was earned through an unreported dual meet result. Similarly, Swampscott's Najique Henry (6.30) was seeded highest amongst the boys despite his MA#48 being 6.77. Coaches likely seeded their athletes quicker than expected in order to guarantee preferential heat assignments. Nevertheless, Shepherd Hill's Kobe Jean-Guillaume (6.50) has a certified-MA#4 seed along with Brockton's Ahmik Watterson (6.59) at MA#12. The pair will need a strong finals performance to give the EE standard a threat (6.35).
Marsh is likely to double back in the 300m as well, sporting the top seed at MA#16 41.63 which should fair to be a competitive race along with Pentucket's Syeira Campbell (42.32) and Holliston's freshman Mia Luisi (42.35 - MA#24). Campbell moved up to MA#19 after her 41.88 win at the Cape Ann Championships. However, the star power will be in the boys 300 meters as Hudson's Michael Blake (34.80) is seeking out the Championship standard (35.09). Blake's MA#8 time of 35.67 was run at the Coaches Invitational which has already squeezed him into the EE division (35.69). Brockton's Marvin Dure (36.03), who is now MA#14 at 35.86, and Medford's Tristen Howard (36.07) hope to make it a seeded heat to remember this Sunday.
The girls 600m run should produce unpredictable results as the top two seeds belong to athletes "racing down" to hone in on their speed. MA#6 miler, Sarah Conant of Westwood (5:01.50), is seeded at 1:40.00 right behind 3:00 1,000m runner Sara Fragione of Methuen (1:39.00). While Conant already has the EE mile standard, she may be using this weekend to determine her divisional championship entry. The pair will have some experience in their heat as Wachusett's Amyah Santana (1:40.76) has posted a certified time and is seeded third in the event. Newly-minted MA#5 in the boys event, Brockton's Javier Donegan (1:24.05), will be gunning for the EE standard (1:21.60). Donegan's Tri County League win this past week (1:22.46) puts him within range while Westfield's Brenden LaForest (1:23.91) and Melrose's Liam Rittenburg (1:25.96) promise to make it a good race, especially for Wakefield's Tanner Jellison (1:25.00), who posts a 1:27.13 best from a Middlesex dual meet.
Looking to break the 3:00 mark in the 1,000m will be Hopkinton's Schuyler Gooley (3:01.22 - MA#14) and Nashoba's Alexandra Bettez (3:03.52). But don't sleep on Shepherd Hill's Emma Sullivan (3:04.40) whose 1:37.72 sits at MA#10 in the 600m. For the boys, Malden's Omar Asousy (2:37.60) and Groton-Dunstable's Thomas Orcutt (2:40.74) look to dip further under 2:40 with everyone in tow hoping to take advantage of the quick pace.
In the distance events, there appears to be a lack of national-qualifying potential, as the focus may be aimed more towards improving performances to either qualify for divisionals or to protect a seeded section entry. While MA#17 Rebekah James of Shepherd Hill (5:08.52) is seeded to compete, she is still four seconds away from qualifying for the EE girls mile (5:04.80). She will be chased by Norton's Isabella Pietrasiewicz (5:14.47) and Hopkinton's Olivia Jones (5:18.39) as the duo compile a heavily underclassmen-laden field. While in the boys mile, Old Rochester's Adam Sylvia (4:31.04), Wakefield's Carter Margolis (4:33.61) and Belmont's Stephen Carvalho (4:34.54) lead a charge hoping to break the 4:30-mark during this particularly tough year for MA milers; the state's top 32 runners have all run under 4:30.
Similarly, the girls two mile is comprised of athletes seeking their respective state standards. Parker Charter's Sophie Odell (11:59.61) currently sits at D5#10 while Shepherd Hill's Emma Whitehead (12:05.00) will be making her season debut at the distance. It's likely the two, along with the rest of the seeded field, will be aiming to improve their seeds to lock themselves into the seeded section of their divisional championships. The boys' race, on the other hand, will be interesting as Foot Locker XC qualifier Lucas Aramburu of Brookline (9:29.82) may be taking a stab at an NBIN qualifier (EE - 9:30.00). His season debut at the distance, Aramburu has options as the Championship 5,000m also has a two mile qualifier at 9:28.9. Regardless, Aramburu will be on his own in seeking the standard as the second fastest seed is nearly 30 seconds behind him with Brockton's Imanuel Fernandes (10:00.12).
Having already achieved the EE standard (18'-0") in the long jump, MA#4 Stephanie Simon of Chelsea (18'-0.75") may try to move up the MA list while Weston's Bharathi Subbiah (17'-8") hopes to join her on the trip to NYC. Brockton's Ahmik Watterson (21'-9.5") sits in the MA Top 10 but is also only five inches off the boys EE standard (22'-2"). Medford's Tristen Howard (21'-0") is seeded more than a foot behind Watterson but hopes to break into the MA Top 20.
Just a half inch off the Championship standard (6'-7.5"), Nauset's Matthew Cahill and his MA#2 6'-7" are eyeing that extra half inch to jump into contention for All-American status at the Armory. Southeastern's James Cordon (6'-3") needs an inch and a half in order to compete in the EE high jump (6'-4.5") while the rest of the field is jostling for state qualifiers. Pentucket's Madi Krohoto and her MA#4 5'-5.25" is also looking to up the ante ever so slightly to qualify for the Championship division (5'-6.5"). She does have company to compete with from Wakefield's Olivia Fetherston. Her MA#6 (5'-4.5") should encourage a long battle in the infield, as she always has the EE standard, and is likely looking for a strong field to push her adrenaline towards the Championship standard.
Shataeya Smith of Malden (37'-9") leads the charge on Sunday, a full foot ahead of Barbara Cunha Silva of Durfee (36'-9"). Smith's MA#13 throw has her as less than a foot off NBIN's EE standard (38'-4"), which she'll likely try to hit or approach prior to the beginning of next week's divisional championships. On the boys side, Nathaniel Packer of Martha's Vineyard (47'-2") is over four feet away from NBIN's EE standard (51'-6") so he'll likely be looking to improve on his best heading into divisonals, as he currently sits at MA#14 and D4#6. He will need a top three finish at divisionals to extend his season into late February's All-State Meet.