The finale of the MIAA in-state competition comes with this weekend's MIAA All-State Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center. The top six (6) finishers in each event this Saturday will qualify to compete in the New England Championships. As the championship season begins to hit its pinnacle, expect for prime performances from athletes to extend their seasons. The following is a preview of Saturday's meet:
The first meet record in jeopardy would have to be Greg
Boursiquot of Stoughton's 7.36 in the 55m hurdles set in 2011. Acton-Boxborough's
Adam Yang (7.38) holds the top seed after his MA#1 win at the Division 1
Championships. David Peters (MA#4 7.59) will look to keep the meet record in
Stoughton while Brockton's Jordan Williams (MA#4 7.59) will seek to avenge his
loss to Yang at divisionals. But eyes better also watch out for Medfield's Ryan
Eng (7.67; MA#2 7.55), Dracut's Jovan Aigbekaen (7.74; MA#2 7.55) and Andover's
Alec Pascoe (7.63; MA#6 7.60) as their seeds don't fairly represent their performances
from the season.
A new champion will be crowned in the girls 55m hurdles as defending New England Champion Ava Vasile of Medway was not able to advance from the Division 4 Championships. The open field lends itself to more underclassmen experience as Central Catholic's Katharine Duren (MA#1 8.35), Brookline's Jamie Chamberlain (MA#4 8.43) and North Reading's Katelyn Gorgenyi (MA#5 8.50) find themselves as the lone sophomores among the top seeds vying for New England's berths. Haverhill's Jayla Kitchings (MA#3 8.41) also finds herself in contention as MA#2 Jada Johnson of Sharon opted to focus on the jumps for All-States. But she will be covered by teammates Elizabeth Lee (MA#6 8.52) making for a potentially quick finals field.
New state 55m record holder Bryan Santos (6.34; US#3 6.33) of Shepherd Hill has the potential to build on his junior year resume by attacking the meet record of 6.34 set by Andover's Christopher McConnell in 2009. This time around, Santos is primed to have competition looking to play spoiler as Lowell's Richmond Kwaateng (MA#2 6.40), Acton-Boxborough's Noah Sweeney (MA#3 6.41) and Shrewsbury's Joseph O'Brien (MA#3 6.41) fill out half a section of competitors within Santos's range. But ignoring last year's All-New Englands and All-American Michael Blake (MA# 6.44) of Hudson and defending All-States Champion Smith Charles (6.45; MA#5 6.42) would be wildly irresponsible. It seems likely that McConnell's record will fall; but will multiple runners break that mark?
Springfield's Kyla Hill (7.20; MA#2 7.19) looks poised to defend her All-States title as last year's New England Champion is returning back to the form that saw her post 7.14. In her way, however, is Natick's Abigail Gerdes (7.25; MA#1 7.18), who did earn bronze in the New England Outdoor Championships 100m dash. Amesbury's Caroline Schissel (MA#4 7.27) Minnechaug's Julia Mastrio (MA#6 7.30) and Shepherd Hill's Madison Marsh (7.37; MA#6 7.30) provide for an even battle amongst the rest of the field kicking for the last four New England Championships spots.
Old Rochester's Mikayla Chandler (10.99) will look to come back in the girls Paralympic 55m dash while Sutton's Julia Perry (10.25) will be keeping her eyes forward on re-breaking the meet record she set last year (10.44). Not too far behind, though, is Douglas's Mia Sheldon (12.13), whose personal best of 10.73 set at the Small School Winter Festival makes for a competitive race among the three. Perry's meet record may be beat but it'll be a tough lean to determine who comes away with it.
Shrewsbury's O'Brien (MA#1 34.33) leads the way in the 300m dash after he claimed victory in the event at the Division 1 Championships but it won't be easy. Last year's New England Championships runner-up, Mange Camara (MA#2 34.72) of Watertown, is right on pace along with Hudson's Blake (MA#3 34.95). Needham's Tommy Jordan (35.37; MA#4 35.18) is seeded a second behind O'Brien but does hold a closer personal best this season while Anthony Spignese (35.38) of Danvers utilized a season's best to claim the Division 3 Championship and will ride that momentum into Roxbury on Saturday.
Scratching from the girls 55m, though, is Wellesley's Anna Jordahl-Henry (MA#2 39.96) who opted to put more eggs in the 300m to improve on her fourth place All-States finish last year. But Oakmont's Alyssa Madden (40.74; MA#1 39.90) still possesses the state's best time but she will have less preferential lane choice due to her divisionals finish. Nauset's Monique Malcolm (MA#3 40.27), Beverly's India Ingemi (MA#4 40.35) and Andover's Delia Barbanti (MA#5 40.44) will keep the field even while Medway's Vasile (MA#7 40.71) rallied back well to place second in Division 4 to get her way back to All-States.
Weston's Peter Diebold (MA#1 1:19.82) rides the hot streak into All-States after a convincing win over second seeded Ethan Cooper (MA#2 1:21.15) of Northampton at the Division 4 Championships. However, All-American Theo Burba (MA#3 1:21.27) of Newton North is returning to form just in time for his most competitive 600m run of the season after edging out Jonathan Polanco Soto (1:21.32) of Leominster to take the Division 1 crown. The top four slightly separated themselves from the rest of the pack but don't be surprised for a runner out of another heat to grab a New England's ticket, including Murdock's Richard Swanson (1:22.28; MA#5 1:21.72).
teammate Lilly Digman (MA#7 1:36.55) finds herself in elite company as the lone
freshman to make the seeded section of the girls 600m. But she'll have her work
cut out for her from sophomore Makayla Paige (US#7 1:32.33) of Tewksbury and
junior Abby Comella (1:35.75; MA#2 1:34.35) of Wellesley. Littleton's Sarah
Roffman (MA#5 1:36.11) and Wilmington's Emma Garrity (MA#6 1:36.14) also piece
together the field but Roffman plans to double in the Two Mile afterwords which
makes for an interesting case for the seeded section. Expect some possible displacement
from earlier heats.
With the boys 1,000m field primarily focusing on the single event, there'll definitely be a push to make a break for the 2:30 barrier. Led by Northampton's Benjamin Gordon-Sniffen (MA#5 2:31.78), Holyoke's Donovan Kro (MA#8 2:33.25), and Wellesley's Jackson O'Toole (MA#9 2:33.30), there's a plethora of low-2:30 guys who'll be looking to make the push for the top six a tough one. The depth goes well into teens so displacement from a slower heat is definitely a possibly.
Meanwhile on the girls side, seven girls are all under 3:00, with Shepherd Hill's Christina Gunsalus (3:00.07) being the first one out if the seeds hold up to the New England Championships. Bromfield School's Tessa McClain (MA#3 2:56.81) and Milton's Elise O'Leary (MA#5 2:57.49) lead the pack but Natick's Grace Connolly (2:59.69; MA#1 2:53.44) used a controlled divisonals performance to give Natick points rather than to seed herself high, so she will be amongst the lead pack, if not leading it. Billerica's Nicola Anderson (2:58.80; MA#6 2:58.24) and Burlington's Juila Hovasse (MA#8 2:58.86) also have New Englands and All-States experience that may lend to their advantage once the gun goes off.
One of the more interesting matchups of the day can be found in the boys mile. After an impressive Mile/Two Mile double victory at the Division 4 Championships, Burlington's Rishabh Prakash (4:24.39; MA#2 4:14.88) has been entered in both events for All-States. His best time surpasses the top seed Jack Mariano (MA#5 4:21.37) of Xaverian Brothers and Tyler Brogan (4:22.33) of Franklin. But there still is a possibility that he scratches the Mile for a big Two Mile showdown. If he does so, Foot Locker Nationals Qualifier Lucas Aramburu (MA#8 4:23.21) of Brookline or Jason Norris (4:24.73; MA#7 4:22.93) of Wellesley may be able to take advantage as well. On the girls side, it is Natick's Grace Connolly's (4:58.84; US#10 4:51.78) to lose. The multiple All-American and Stanford commit has plenty of national exposure to control the pace of this race; however, a healthy scratch to prioritize the 1,000m opens a door for Milton's Ava Duggan (MA#9 5:01.80) and Hopkinton's Schuyler Gooley (MA#10 5:01.94). But the clear favorite, who'd be making the race for Connolly would be Newton South's Lucy Jenks (5:03.66; MA#3 4:51.88).
If Prakash scratches the Mile, it creates for a momentous Two Mile showdown between him (9:24.39; US#7 9:15.56) and Arlington's Ryan Oosting (9:25.48; US#2 9:13.90). The future Stanford Cardinal ran a controlled divisional race to get to All-States which suggests that he's looking to get out another quick time prior to New Balance Nationals. Prakash, a Cornell commit, certainly has the strength to keep up with Oosting but should not be limited to just the two of them. The man who pushed Prakash to the limits last week, Newburyport's Sam Acquaviva (MA#3 9:26.90), won the Division 2 All-State Cross Country Meet and continued to ride that success into indoors. Though not too far back, don't count out Arlington Catholic's Sean Kay (MA#4 9:32.95) and Wellesley's Colby Zarle (MA#6 9:33.51), the latter of which has top five mile speed (4:18.54).
Littleton's Sarah Roffman (MA#2 10:43.87) leads the runaway threesome group of Ursuline Academy's Lauren Grela (MA#3 10:45.65), Amherst-Pelham's Sophia Jacobs-Townsley (MA#5 10:50.49) and Pope Francis's Emily Boutin (MA#6 10:56.04). These four are the only four to have clocked times under 10 minutes, but with Roffman doubling in the 600 meters, expect for a scratch or for Grela or Jacobs-Townsley to control the pace.
A-B's Yang isn't limiting his All-States appearance to just the hurdles as his US#4 24'-2" leap to claim the Division 1 title is an exact foot farther than defending champion and New England's runner-up Charles (21'-6.5"; MA#2 23'-2") of Milton. Compared to divisional performances, he bests second seed Omar Jasseh (MA#5 22'-5.25") of North Attleboro by almost two feet; in short, it is Yang's to lose. But the top guys still made it to the meet, including Wellesley's Derek Chalmers (22'-5"; MA#4 22'-6"), Lowell's Richmond Kwaateng (22'-3.75"; MA#3 22'-6.5") and Longmeadow's Carter Rosewell (21'-7"; MA# 6 22'-2.25"). Though Yang was the sharpest last week, the adrenaline of All-States may propel these men, or the rest of the field, to further distances.
Weston's Bharathi Subbiah (MA#1 18'-5") continues to thrive off her New England Championships Outdoor fourth place finish by winning the Division 4 Long Jump in a state's best distance. Brookline's sophomore Chamberlain (MA#4 18'-2.75") used her Division 1 win to catapult into the state's top five. Though the rest of the divisional seedings are separated behind the pair, Andover's Jodi Parrott (17'-5.75"; MA#5 18'-1.5") and Chelsea's Stephanie Simon (17'-9.5"; MA#6 18'-0.75") are the other two athletes to have cleared 18 feet this year.
Continuing to ride high, Lowell's David Ajama (MA#1 6'-8") continues to shine in his lone indoor season. Having jumped 6'-10" outdoors, Ajama has approached it once again, jumping 6'-8" twice this season but will not be alone as North Attleboro's Owen Nassaney (MA#2 6'-7") is seeded right behind him. Sharing the MA#2 at 6'-7", Nauset's Matthew Cahill could only muster 6'-2" to claim Division 4; but it's just that he did not need to jump any higher. So despite his seed, Cahill is a worth competitor and should be in the mix for the top six along with Newton South's Danny Collins (MA#5 6'-6") and Reading's Thomas Allardi (MA#5 6'-6").
Forgoing her MA#2 in the 55m hurdles, Sharon's Jada Johnson shares the MA#1 height with Wellesley's Jordahl-Henry (5'-8"), who will be seeking to punch two tickets to New Englands. The pair are two and a half inches ahead of Somerville's Aislinn Cannistraro (MA#3 5'-6.5") and North Andover's Sarah Lavery (MA# 3 5'-6.5"). Though only placing fifth at divisionals, South Hadley's Lindsay Marjanski (5'-0"; MA#5 5'-6") still belongs up there with the other top seeds as does Pentucket's Madi Krohto (5'-4"; MA#6 5'-5.25").
If fireworks don't go off during the individual events, they are sure to during the relays. Right from the gun, the boys 4x200m relay is comprised of MA's top four teams, all having run their top time during the divisional championships, and all separated by less than a full second. The seeded section will be the race to watch as Wellesley (1:29.88) takes on Acton-Boxborough (1:30.59), Brockton (1:30.77), and Amherst-Pelham (1:30.85). Baton work may be the deciding factor here as the individual legs are racing so quick that passing outside of the zone or botching a clean exchange may be the difference between an All-State Champion and a "DQ". Even qualifying for New England's is no guarantee with Newton North (1:31.22), Lowell (1:32.00), North Andover (1:32.22), Shepherd Hill (1:32.33) and Pembroke (1:32.35) all sub-1:33. Madness may ensure with this much speed vying for space on the track. On the girls side, Lowell (1:44.72) has a half second lead on North Attleboro (1:45.20) and a full second on Andover (1:45.76). However, MA#2 time of the year comes from the fifth seeded Wellesley (1:46.58) so no ticket is safe to New England's.
Determining the placement of team's star power will play a large role in the 4x800m relay. While Wellesley (8:03.40) has the top speed and is the only team in the state to dip under 8:00.00, third seeded Arlington (8:08.12) could play spoiler if Oosting races. The recovery from the Two Mile is short but it's not outside of the realm of possibilities. If he doesn't double, however, Wellesley's and Lincoln-Sudbury's (8:08.05) depth may be too much to overmatch. Aside from Wellesley, however, the top 2-10 times in the state are within four seconds of each other, making for a tight field. Though divisional seeds put Shrewsbury (8:10.99) and Brookline (8:14.01) at 4-5, anticipate Concord-Carlisle (8:17.11; MA# 8:08.04) to make a case.
Similarly for the girls, Boston Latin's MA#1 9:30.73 is not too far off their 9:35.19 seed But Division 2 Champions Lincoln-Sudbury (9:35.44) are breathing down their necks along with Andover (MA#5 9:37.98), Walpole (9:38.35; MA#2 9:32.73), and North Andover (9:41.32; MA#4 9:35.58). Latin will be racing three of their legs earlier in the meet whereas North Andover is racing solely relays. The 4x800m relay presents another event that may allow for fresh legs to prevail; although, too fresh may not be ready for the pounce that is needed in the last two laps.
With nine teems under 3:30, the boys 4x400m relay should be quite a blast to wrap up the meet. Division 1 Newton North (MA#2 3:24.87) holds the top overall seed but Brockton (3:25.27; MA#1 3:24.14) holds a slim advantage after their NBNI-qualifier at the Last Chance Meet. But Division 1 runner-up Needham (MA#3 3:25.77) and Methuen (3:27.65; MA#4 3:26.68) make it an interesting dogfight while BC High (MA#8 3:27.95) rides their Division 1 medalist team into All-States looking to shake it up with the traditional powers. North Andover (3:28.38; MA#7 3:27.45) and Amherst-Pelham (3:28.72) will also duke out in what will be a fair fight to represent Massachusetts in the following weekend's events.
The women of Wellesley (4:00.16), however, will look to crack under 4:00 in a battle of teams coming off the MA#2-MA#8 times of the season from the divisional championships. Division 3 Champion Shepherd Hill (4:01.56) has the speed pedigree this year while Division 1 Champion Andover (4:02.88) and runner-up Newton North (4:03.59) bring depth and support to the All-State Championships. Peabody (4:03.99) and Westborough (4:05.84) wrap up the top six in what will likely be the New England's contingency unless Hingham (4:07.99) or Milton (4:08.05) drops significant time of last week's season's best.
The easiest bet to be made this weekend will be on US #1 Aiden Felty (64'-8.5") of Innovation Academy. The Duke signee comes into the All-State meet with almost two full feet on US#2 Patrick Piperi of The Woodlands (TX) and his seed throw, from Division 5s, has over 12 feet on MA#2 Ben Kyeremeh (52'-4") of Lowell. Felty broke the state record this year by throwing 67 feet at the Boston Holiday Challenge in late December. Having broken meet records in every invitational competed in this season, Felty look to continue his consistent 60+ feet heaves in targeting Jeff Chakouian of Seekonk's 2000 All-States record of 61'-9". Aside from Kyeremeh, teammate Brian Callery (51'-10.5"), Newton North's Henry Sobieszczyk (51'-5"), Mansfield's Colbey Eason (51'-2") and King Philip's Terrell Jacobs-Baston (50'-0.75") lead the charge for grabbing a top six spot to New England's. But don't count out North Andover's Beau Bernadeau (48'-9.75"), whom still boasts a MA#6 toss of 50'-3" from the season-opening MVC meet.
Though not as defiant a lead, but still comfortably ahead of the pack, Division 5 Champion Cameron Garabian (45'-2.75") of Seekonk has been the consistent MA#1 and has been on an upward trajectory in the last few weeks. In setting an all-seasons PR at divisonals, the All-American Garabian moved up to US#7 in the shot put. She's almost five feet in front of Dennis-Yarmouth's Tiana Bazie (40'-6.5") but Bazie still has a MA#4 41'-0.75" season's best. With Brockton's Julieth Nwosu (39'-4.5") in a comfortable third preliminary seeding, the battle for 4-6 should be hotly contested as Seekonk's Ashleigh Wyrostek, Cambridge Rindge and Latin's Khadija Romain and North Attleboro's Julia Mechlinski are all separated by only five inches. Look for Romain to prevail amongst the three, as she still has a MA#9 ranking from her 39'-0.25" win from the Large School Coaches Invitational.
In the girls paralympic shot, defending champion Mikayla Chandler (21'-1.45") of Old Rochester will look to defend her title against Mia Sheldon (13'-5.75") of Douglas. Look for Chandler to also better the meet record she set last year (19'-11.25") as her season's best from the SCC Championship puts her nearly two feet ahead of last year's All-State meet record (21'-11.75").