Massachusetts NBNI Preview - Sprint/Hurdle Events

Reggie shuts down for the Winter while MA's finest conclude their season this weekend at the New Balance National Indoor Championships at The Armory in New York City. All week, we will provide a thorough preview of the Massachusetts individuals/teams heading to New York to compete for All-American status and backpack-worthy performances to wrap up the indoor track season.

Today, we preview the sprints and hurdle events:


Boys 60m Hurdles (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 10:15 am

Acton-Boxborough's Adam Yang (7.38; MA#1 & US#7 55mH) will face his stiffest competition this season as he takes on a slew of hurdles sub-7.30 in the 55m hurdles. The extension of the race into the collegiate distance may be a change of pace for the Division 1 Champion. However, his bouncing back from his All-States runner-up to New England Indoor Champion shows the fighting spirit that Yang is ready to bring to NYC. He will not go easily and will do his best to advance to Sunday's semifinals/finals.


Boys 60m Dash (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 9:25 am

The late addition to the field of the Rivers School Myles Epstein (6.56; MA#15 55m) will not deter Shepherd Hills junior Bryan Santos (6.33; MA#1 & US#4 55m). Santos has already made a splash this season by setting the Massachusetts state record in the 55m but he also travelled down to the Armory to win the 112th NYRR Millrose Games 60m dash, clocking a strong 6.79. Keep an eye out for Santos to race hard enough to earn a spot in Sunday's semifinals/finals but not too much more. He, along with Yang and Innovation Academy's Aiden Felty, are among the MA favorites to claim an NBNI Championship this weekend.


Boys 200m Dash (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 5:55 pm

Also leading the charge for a national title from Massachusetts is Hudson's Michael Blake (34.85; MA#3 300m). The All-State runner-up and New Englands third place finisher is hoping to improve on his 22.84 showing from last year's NBNI that earned him a 34th place finish.


Girls 200m Dash (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 5:35 pm

Wellesley's Anna Jordahl-Henry (39.33; MA#1 300m) will have her work cut out for her this weekend. Along with the high jump, she will be facing an incredibly powerful field in the 200m championships. Her All-State Championship and 24.93 200m outdoor best will give her the credibility to compete but it will be her fast race at NBNI after jumping the last two seasons. Joining her will be Oakmont's Alyssa Madden (39.63; MA#2 300m) whose runner-up finish at the New England Indoor Championships propelled her into the Championship field.


Boys 400m Run (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 3:55 pm

The state's best 600m runners this season will toe the line for the two-lap race in NYC. All-State Champion and New England third place finisher Theo Burba of Newton North (1:20.41; MA#2 & US#10 600m) squares off against All-State runner-up Peter Diebold of Weston (1:19.82; MA#1 & US#3) in what will surely be a matchup to watch closely. Diebold opted to skip New Englands which makes NBNI the unofficial rematch between the two. The storylines are plenty between the two, from Burba's 1:18.87 sophomore year PB to Diebold's 49.28 outdoor 400m best. The addition of Watertown's Mange Camara (34.22; MA#1 & US#10 300m) through his 300m best only thickens the plotline. But Burba is slated to run on Newton North's relays which may bring fatigue into this race, as Saturday's trials will be followed by a Sunday afternoon finals.


Girls 400m Run (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 3:35 pm

Another Wellesley competitor in junior Abby Comella (1:32.31; MA#2 & US#8 600m) will be toeing the line in the championship 400m trials on Saturday. She earned her bid through her runner-up finish at the All-State Championships. But she brings in a mix of short speed (200m - 24.94; 300m - 40.21) along with her outright NBNI/NBNO experience, in which, she ran a personal best 54.90 400m last spring. With the season she's been having, Comella should be anticipating additional racing on Sunday in the finals.


Boys 60m Hurdles (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 9:20 am

Thanks to the New England Indoor Championships, the boys emerging elite 60m hurdles field received a boost of MA talent. In fact, North Reading's William Lord (7.53; MA#4 55mH) managed to squeeze himself underneath the standard in the preliminaries on Saturday while Medfield's Ryan Eng (7.48; MA#3 55mH) improved his seeding. The two ended up finishing fifth and third respectively in the finals. Andover's Alec Pascoe (7.60; MA#7 55mH) was also a late addition to the field.


Girls 60m Hurdles (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 9:00 am

Inexperience will not phase Peyton Rollins as she rolls into the girls emerging elite 60m hurdles. Though she does not compete for a MA high school, the Cambridge Jets TC star clocked an 8.17 55m hurdles time last year to win the USATF Hershey Youth Championships at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island. Look for her to breakout even further this weekend.


Boys 60m Dash (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 10:15 am

A short list of MA's top short sprinters will toe the line in the 60m dash on Friday to prove they deserved to be in the Championship sections. In fact, it'll be a replay of the Division 1 Championships as Lowell's Richmond Kwaateng (6.40; MA#2 55m) and Acton-Boxborough's Noah Sweeney (6.41; MA#4 55m) went 1-2 on February 14th. Kwaateng came back the following week with a bronze medal 6.41 at the New England Championships while Sweeney grabbed sixth place at All-States. Filling out the MA field are Hudson's Division 4 Champion Blake (6.44; MA#7 55m) and Medford's Division 5 Champion Tristen Howard (6.47; MA#8 55m). Blake does have an eighth place finish from the finals of last year's NBNI so experience may lend him an advantage to earn his finals ticket.


Girls 60m Dash (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 9:50 am

Late additions/modifications have been extended to the entries through Wednesday. Which means we may see a move here as Springfield Central's Kyla Hill (7.04; MA#1 & US#14 55m) had her New England Indoor Championships runner-up finish qualify her for the Championship division. The All-State Champion made significant improvements this year to drop a full tenth of a second off last year's indoor time to this year. As of Tuesday night, she is listed in the emerging elite entries. If she is moved to the Championship division, expect Natick's Abigail Gerdes (7.18; MA#2 55m) and late addition Oakmont's Madden (7.20; MA#3 55m) to do their best to fill the void left.


Boys 200m Dash (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 2:50 pm

It will be a Massachusetts homecoming in the emerging elite 200m dash; out of the 75 entrants, 12 of the athletes hail from the Commonwealth. Through the variety of means to qualify, the simplest to qualify outright was achieved by the Rivers School's Myles Epstein (22.07; MA#1 200m), who took his talents to Boston University to race unattached. The following athletes earned their bids through their 300m bests this season: Murdock's Richard Swanson (35.14; MA# 4) Needham's Tommy Jordan (35.18; MA#5), Algonquin's Matthew Madamba (35.21; MA#6), Danvers' Anthony Spignese (35.38; MA#7), North Andover's Trevor Nassar (35.38; MA#8), Bishop Feehan's Matt Zawaski (35.49; MA#11), Lexington's Kazu Uda-Thach (35.50), Haverhill's Sean Glass (35.52), Medford's Tristan Howard (35.60), Amherst-Pelham's Kai Bailin (35.62), and Shepherd Hills' short sprinter Santos (35.66). Whoever wins the start out of the blocks will have the best chance to advance to the finals.


Girls 200m Dash (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 2:30 pm

Following her fourth place finish at the New England Indoor Championships, Medway's Ava Vasile (40.00; MA#4 300m) qualified to race the 200m dash. This will be her second trip to NBNI as she raced her lifetime best 25.83 in the preliminaries last year. She'll be joined by Beverly's India Ingemi (40.35; MA#6 300m) and Andover's Delia Barbanti (40.44; MA#7 300m). Watch out for Barbanti as her 24.85 200m best won her the Division 1&2 Outdoor Championship last year.


Boys 400m Run (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 12:25 pm

The emerging elite section provides plenty of starpower from Northhampton's Ethan Cooper (1:21.15; MA#3 600m), Westfield's Brenden LaForest (1:21.63; MA#5 600m) and Murdock's Richard Swanson (1:21.72; MA#6 600m) alone. The trio finished in their respective 4-5-6 place order at All-States but LaForest earned fourth at New Englands to Swanson's sixth while Cooper elected to not race the 600m. But outside talent in Needham's Alex Warner or Methuen's Stanley Hanci may make things interesting. While Warner's 50.11 400m from last spring's outdoor season qualified him, Hanci's 49.95 400m from a BU Mini Meet may have some heads turning on Friday.


Girls 400m Run (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 11:55 am

Not a stranger to NBNI, Medway's Vasile (40.00; MA#4 300m) will be making the most in her final trip to the Armory. The All-New England runner, and MSTCA Pentathlon Champion, will finish her high school track career prior to pursuing lacrosse at the University of Vermont. Vasile posts a 56.90 indoor best at the distance and will be challenged by The Middlesex School's Charlotte O'Toole, who brings a 56.80 best from one of last spring's Battle Road Twilight Meets.


Boys 60m Dash (Freshman) - Sunday, 3/10 at 10:50 am

The Division 5 runner-up in the 55m run, Jonas Clarke of South Hadley (6.61; US#7 Freshman) will race up the extra five meters to compete in the freshman 60m dash. A stellar Division 5 Championship performance broke a string of 6.7mids for Clarke who hopes to bounce back from his All-States 6.72 time to end the indoor season on a high note.


Boys 400m Run (Freshman) - Saturday, 3/9 at 4:45 pm

A nearly 70-strong field will make for plenty of heats on Saturday. However, only two MA runners made the cut: Saint John's Kwame Adu-Gyami (1:23.04; US#1 Freshman) and Wakefield's Bradley Diaz (1:27.94; US#8 Freshman). Both made the meet through their 600m bests while Adu-Gyamfi earned from his last competition; a fourth place finish at the Division 1 Championships. He does have a 39.69 300m best but Diaz has the edge there (38.22). This will provide a case example of which indoor event prepares an athlete best for the 400m.


Girls 400m Run (Freshman) - Saturday, 3/9 at 4:10 pm

Led by MA#9 600m Lilly Digman of Murdock (1:36.55), the youth of Massachusetts will be well represented in the girls freshman 400m. A mainstay at the state level of several years competing for Murdock, Digman has All-State caliber experience and qualified through her 600m best this year (US#2 Freshman). However, a 59.84 outdoor best makes her a top contender. But she is not alone; Newton North's Charlotte Kouroriez (1:38.64;US#4 Freshman), Weston's Emilia Tutun (1:38.65; US#5 Freshman) and Woburn's Liana Bazzarella (1:38.78; US#6 Freshman) follow closely behind in Digman's wake. The three have not competed yet for their high schools outdoor track teams and, therefore, do not have recorded 400m bests.