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 relay events:
(Team names may vary slightly to HS name)
Boys 4x200m Relay (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 12:00 pm
One of the many relay teams being fielded at NBNI from Wellesley HS (1:29.88; MA#1 & US#26) includes the lone MA team to break 1:30 this year. Long jumper Derek Chalmers (6.66 55m) will be holding down the team but they will be facing a strong match against All-States runner-up Acton-Boxborough ("Colonials TC"; 1:30.04; MA#2). A team including Championship hurdle contender Adam Yang (6.70 55m) and emerging elite competitor Noah Sweeney (6.41; MA#4 55m) will be looking to break the 1:30 barrier as well, coming oh-so close at All-States. At the very least, the goal for both will be to make the finals on Sunday afternoon.
Boys 4x400m Relay (Championship) - Sunday, 3/10 at 12:30 pm
As of Wednesday morning, three MA teams were entered into the Championship section of the boys 4x400m. However, All-State Champions Brockton (3:21.97; MA#1 & US#13) may be moved up to the Championship division as they are currently entered in the Emerging Elite section. The Boxers may have a different lineup, though, which is why they're entered in the EE section. For the teams that remain, New Englands second place team Methuen (3:23.51; MA#2) will be running with their MSTCA Pentathlon champion Roan Marcano and individual NBNI qualifier Stanley Hanci. But it'll be a close race between them, Needham (3:23.96; MA#3) and their two individual NBNI qualifiers (Alex Warner & Tommy Jordan), and Newton North (3:24.68; MA#4), while the Tigers are bringing several relays to NBNI to compete for All-American status.
Boys 4x800m Relay (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 7:00 pm
A dominant runner-up finish at the New England Indoor Championships qualified Brookline TC (7:51.31; MA#1 & US#4) for the Championship section. Especially by being pushed by New England Champions and US#3 Suffield (CT), Brookline has shown that they are ready to dance with the fastest legs in the country. Backed by Foot Locker Nationals qualifier Lucas Aramburu and 2:33 1,000m Jon Diaz, the Warriors won't be alone in representing MA. All-State Champions Wellesley (7:53.16; MA#2 & US#6) will be hot on their tails with 4:18.54 miler Colby Zarle and 2:32.51 1,000m Jackson O'Toole. And as always, Arlington TC (8:08.12; MA#9) will be gunning with Stanford-bound Ryan Oosting. The Spy Ponders likely qualified for the Championship division through a compilation time as Oosting has a 1:54 800m best.
Girls 4x800m Relay (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 6:15 pm
A four MA team field of Natick (9:27.44; MA#6), Lincoln-Sudbury ("Warriors TC"; 9:23.87; MA#4) and Billerica (9:21.37; MA#2) may be joined by Walpole (9:22.65; MA#3) who, as of this posting, was listed in the emerging elite division after a fourth place New Englands finish. However, the 3-4 teams will all be chasing New Englands runner-up Boston Latin ("Boston Wolfpack"; 9:19.93; MA#1 & US#16). The Wolfpack will display 2:58.49 1,000m runner Annie Jackson and 2:15.45 800m mid-sprinter Julie Tassinari in hopes of counteracting the likes of Billerica's combo of Nicole Anderson (1:36.65; MA#11 600m), Sam Maffeo (1:37.04; MA#12 600m) and Natick's Nicole Frail (1:37.86 600m). But Lincoln-Sudbury also has sub 3:00 1,000m Meghan Garrett in what will certainly be a race for the deepest team.
Boys 4xMile Relay (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 1:10 pm
The 4x800m won't be the only All-American opportunity for Wellesley; Zarle's MA#8 4:18 mile will be put to the test the next day in the 4xMile. With Jason Norris (4:20.25; MA#9) and O'Toole and Zach Barry sporting 4:28 bests this season, Zarle's legs will be heavily taxed to pull the team into contention. A very strong competitor, though, does present itself, in-state no less. Concord Carlisle ("Patriots TC") is fielded by an eerily similar lineup: Matthew Kleiman (4:17.60; MA#6), Alex Ehrenthal (4:22.12; MA#11), William Chaffin (4:25.41) and Christopher Ratcliffe (4:27.49). The rest of the field is stacked, including multiple relay teams being fielded from last year's national champion Loudoun Valley HS ("The Jungle TC").
Girls 4xMile Relay (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 12:30 pm
L-S won't be limited to the 4x800m relay as the same lineup will compete earlier in the day in the 4xMile relay. Both Garrett (5:15.36) and Katherine Knightly (5:16.64) have sub-5:20s on the season to boost the Warriors while they will face a younger Hopkinton squad that features sophomore Schuyler Gooley (5:01.26; MA#7) and freshman Olivia Jones (5:11.13), who will be competing in the emerging elite two-mile the morning prior. The Hillers may have the upperhand on L-S and Concord Carlisle ("Patriots TC") who bring both a boys and girls mile relay to the Armory. The Patriots are led by freshmen Emma Kerimo (5:04.92; MA#14) and Nora Johnson (5:14.92) in what may be a changing of the guard to the underclassmen of MA girls distance runners.
Boys Sprint Medley Relay (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 2:40 pm
The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix champions will bring the Boston magic to New York as the Theo Burba-led Newton North (3:33.32; MA#1 & US#4) will be in a strong position to earn All-American status, less than a second behind US#2 Colonial forge (VA). But an equally deep sprint medley relay in Northampton's ("Hamp Pride TC"; 3:33.93; MA#2 & US#7) quartet will be seeking to avenge their second place finish to the Tigers from the Grand Prix. In a 1,600m race, though, it will come down to the strength of handoffs and speed in their 800m leg. Lexington's ("Hillies TC"; 3:36.68; MA#6) anchor leg of Keith May (1:56.70) does possess middle distance speed that puts him a shot away from Burba (1:53.30 outdoor). In the former, though, Brockton (3:36.24; MA#5) will utilize their sprint handoff experience and depend on Javier Donegan (1:22.46 600m) to expand his indoor range to one more lap. Completing the MA field is Lexington (3:36.23; MA#4) who will call on Eli Gappelberg (9:37.22 Two Mile) to race down and hone in on his middle distance speed to keep up with the rest of the Championship field.
Girls Sprint Medley Relay (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 1:55 pm
Natick (4:09.74; MA#1 & US#8) will make it two NB Indoor Grand Prix winners from two months ago looking to earn All-American status, though this relay will not sport either of the Connolly sisters. Looking to take advantage is Billerica (4:10.50; MA#2 & US#12), runner-ups to Natick at the Grand Prix. With a strong 800m leg in Nicole Anderson (2:18.75 800m; 2:54.68 1,000m; MA#3), a swap of placings amongst MA schools is within possibility. But don't count out Shepherd Hill ("Ohana TC"; 4:14.49; MA#5) or The Bromfield School ("Attached TC"; 4:14.63; MA#6) and their 800m leg from Tessa McClain (2:56.81 1,000m; MA#5).
Boys Distance Medley Relay (Championship) - Friday, 3/8 at 7:55 pm
Spearheaded by dual-citizen Oosting (4:13.32; MA#1 & US#13 Mile), the Arlington TC brings their US#10 DMR to the Armory. Their 10:25.07 was achieved in a second place finish at the nationally-recognized VA Showcase in January. And while all of the attention of the squad may be on Oosting as the 1,600m leg, keep in mind he will be racing individually this weekend as well. The Spy Ponders do have a strong supportive cast, though, including 2:34.00 1,000m runner Jeffrey Candell, 1:22.37/1:58.11 mid-distance star Roger Buckley, and sub-10:00 two-miler Miles Harrison. Whether or not the order is switched around will be based on Oosting's schedule.
Girls Distance Medley Relay (Championship) - Friday, 3/8 at 7:35 pm
Both Grace Connolly (4:51.78 Mile; MA#3 &US#11) and Kate Connolly (2:59.62 1,000m; MA#14) are putting all their eggs in the DMR basket as Natick (12:16.57; MA#1 & US#16) is saving the two of them for the DMR. The elder, Stanford-bound Connolly is likely to race the 1,600m leg as her younger sister, Kate, will likely handle the opening 1,200m leg. It should be an exciting race for the quartet as the only other MA team in the field is Wellesley, which opted to post a composite seed to qualify. Nevertheless, Margaret Donahue (4:56.38 Mile; MA#4) boosts a strong sub-5:00 mile that will keep the Raiders in contention.
Boys 4x55m Shuttle Hurdle Relay (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 10:40 am
The shuttle hurdle relay fields an interesting race as the big races in New England (East Coast Invitational & State Relays) that offered the race provided different distances and hurdles numbers. Though, the Last Chance to Qualify Meet did provide a great replica as to what the teams attempting to qualify/seek additional practice would face in New York. Andover (31.28) won out the preliminaries at the full 55m/5 flight races at the East Coast Invitational thanks to Alec Pascoe (7.60 55mH; MA#7) while Tewksbury (31.84) claimed a second place finish from the Last Chance to Qualify Meet to earn their bid on the heels of Zack Lalonde (7.64 55mH; MA#9) and Ethan Exilhomme (7.86 55mH). Meanwhile, Stoughton's ("Ftc TC"; 26.75 4x55y) won the Division 1 State Relays in the shortened 4x55y race. However, they still have All-State Champion David Peters (7.46 55mH; MA#2). Norton (27.20 4x55y) will hope to defend the effort that won them the Division 4 State Relay Championship in the event.
Girls 4x55m Shuttle Hurdle Relay (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 11:15 am
Meanwhile, six teams will be putting relays on the infield on the girls side of the shuttle hurdle championship relay. The 4x55y state leaders Westborough ("Sivaco TC"; 29.30 4x55y) will utilize Grace Desmond (8.64 55mH; MA#14) and Emma Phelps (8.66 55mH; MA#16). Westborough is the only team with multiple Top 20 State talent though they won't be the only state leaders representing. Andover (29.34 4x55y) and freshman Jodi Parrott (8.76 55mH; MA#19) will be there along with Hopkinton (29.39 4x55y), North Attleboro ("Nahs Rockets TC"; 30.43 4x55y) and Acton-Boxborough ("Colonials TC"; 30.69 4x55y). In placing second at the Last Chance to Qualify Meet, Belmont ("Belmont Hurdler Belles"; 34.44 4x55m H) managed to earn their qualifier at the complete distance.
Mixed Gender 4x400m Relay (Championship) - Saturday, 3/9 at 7:45 pm
In one of the more unique events that NBNI has promoted over the past few years, the mixed gender 4x400m relay involves teams of two girls and two boys from the same high school. This year, two MA teams will be giving it a go, led by Woburn. The Tanners will have two boys with sub-1:26 600m on the year, Anshel Isles (1:25.78) and Andre Klimkiewicz (1:23.83), to couple with the Bazzarella sisters, led by Liana (1:38.78 600m). Woburn will be joined by Peabody, who will field Jordon Ilori (38.20 300m), Chris Morales (38.55 300m), Lex Bettencourt (43.72 300m) and sub-400m sophomore Jolene Murphy (58.34).
Boys 4x200m Relay (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 6:30 pm
The Emerging Elite section of the 4x200m relay will feature two teams that narrowly missed the Championship section. Both Brockton (1:30.77; MA#3) and Amherst-Pelham (1:30.85; MA#4) missed the standard by less than a second. Meanwhile, Acton-Boxborough ("Colonials TC"; 1:30.04; MA#2) will await their fate to see if their time, achieved at the All-State Championships, will advance them to the Championship section as it reached the 1:30.60 standard. If they move up, Newton North (1:30.96; MA#5) and North Andover ("Scarlet Knights TC"; 1:31.26; MA#7) will have one less team to compete against to claw their ways under 1:30.
Boys 4x400m Relay (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 8:50 pm
Brockton (3:21.97; MA#1 & US#13), Amherst-Pelham (3:26.41; MA#6) and North Andover ("Scarlet Knights TC"; 3:26.93; MA#7) will double back later in the evening on Friday from the 4x200m relay. Additionally, the Boxers will wait to see if their All-State Champion squad will be bumped up to the Championship division, as they very handedly cleared the 3:25.00 standard. With the tight time schedule, Weston (3:27.08; MA#9) will try to take advantage and sneak ahead of the other two MA schools, as the quartet will be running on fresh legs.
Girls 4x400m Relay (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 8:20 pm
Newton North (4:03.59; MA#4) leads Peabody (4:03.90; MA#5) in the girls Emerging Elite 4x400m relay sections. This will be a preview of the mixed-gender relay as Peabody will race Lex Bettencourt and Jolene Murphy in both races. If it comes down to the anchor, however, it'd be tough to beat Murphy's 58.34 speed.
Boys 4x800m Relay (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 4:35 pm
The battle will be on to get under 8:00 on Friday and we should see at least one team, maybe two, use The Armory magic to their advantage. Leading the way is All-States third placers Franklin (8:02.94; MA#3) and All-New Englanders Saint John's (8:03.90; MA#4). In fact, all four teams are under 8:10, as Northampton (8:06.39; MA#5) and North Andover ("Scarlet Knights TC"; 8:06.79; MA#6) will be looking to continue their school's respective traditions of mid-distance strength.
Girls 4x800m Relay (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 3:55 pm
North Andover ("Scarlet Knights TC"; 9:26.68; MA#5) will be well-represented in the girls 4x800m relay as well, which will also feature Walpole (9:22.65; MA#3) in their quest to break 9:20. Newton North (9:34.82; MA#7) brings another relay quartet to the track on Friday while Andover (9:37.98; MA#9) will be looking to face their crosstown rivals in hopes of pulling an upset against the top seeded Scarlet Knights.
Boys Sprint Medley Relay (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 2:00 pm
A massive nine-team field leads the MA contingency in the boys emerging elite SMR which should produce a great bragging rights battle for years to come for interleague teams. Billerica (3:38.07; MA#8) and Milford ("Hawks TC"; 3:38.19; MA#9) took advantage of the Division 3 State Relays to go 1-2 and qualify while Natick (3:37.19; MA#7), Methuen (3:38.63; MA#10) and Westford Academy (3:39.74; MA#12) earned their tickets from the Last Chance to Qualify Meet. Old Rochester's (3:39.43; MA#11) win in the Division 4 State Relays was just quick enough to get them to the Armory. Lastly, Needham, Lincoln-Sudbury ("Warriors TC") and Peabody earned their bids through composite times put up between their first/second best 200m runners, best 400m and 800m runners to artificially produce the SMR time. We will see if the teams can replicate the calculated times on Friday.
Girls Sprint Medley Relay (Emerging Elite) - Friday, 3/8 at 1:30 pm
Wrapping up the relay previews is another nine-team MA field in the girls SMR. North Andover ("Scarlet Knights TC"; 4:15.65; MA#7) leads the charge of qualifiers followed by Newton North (4:16.34; MA#10), Burlington (4:16.41; MA#11) and Andover (4:16.52). Hopkinton (4:17.90) and Woburn (4:18.29) got in along with Norton (4:18.93), by a slim 0.07 seconds at the Last Chance to Qualify Meet. Peabody and Lincoln-Sudbury, however, got in on composite times. With the 200-200-400-800 format, handoffs at the beginning of the race will either break or make a team.