Ten Boys To Watch This Upcoming Cross Country Season

Peter Lopata of Pentucket Regional Senior High School running the One Mile at the 2019 Weston Twilight Meet. Lopata would win his heat and finish 8th overall with a 4:26.49. Photo by Maddie Jones.

MileSplit Massachusetts' list of boys to watch includes athletes to keep an eye on due to recent signs of an upcoming outbreak year.

1. Alex Fleury of Phillips Academy Andover

        Fleury ran the 29th fastest 2018 Cross Country 5K for returning runners with a 16:19.00, however, seriously impressed during the Outdoor Track & Field season with a One Mile time of 4:08.32 and an 800 Meter time of 1:52.43. Both of these times lead all returning Massachusetts runners. With these leading times, Fleury looks to be a top Cross Country runner this season.

2. William Chaffin of Concord Carlisle High School

        A rising senior, Chaffin has proven that he is a top Massachusetts Cross Country runner, clocking a personal best 15:53.90 5K during the 2018 season. Chaffin continued his success, running a 9:16.94 Two Mile during the 2019 Outdoor Track & Field season. This time leads all returning Massachusetts runners by almost 20 seconds. Chaffin is going to be one of the largest threats to any top runner in Massachusetts this fall.

3. Peter Lopata of Pentucket Regional Senior High School

        Lopata, a rising Senior, finished 9th in the Division 2 race at the 2018 Cross Country MIAA All States Finals. Lopata's Cross Country 5K personal record of 16:13.00 is impressive, but he really turned heads at the 2019 MIAA Eastern Division 4 Championships where he ran a 4:18.01 Mile to take home 1st place. His Mile time ranks 5th among returning Outdoor Track & Field runners; keep an eye out for Lopata to continue his success this upcoming season.

4. Shane Grant of Walpole High School

        Grant's 2019 Outdoor Track & Field season was phenomenal with personal records in the 800 meters (1:55.30) and the One Mile (4:20.19). Grant also turned heads in the 1000 meters in indoor with a time of 2:31.85. However, with his 2018 personal best 5K time (16:58.10) being about 25 seconds off of his 2017 personal best of 16:33.00, Grant may be lower on some radars than he should be. With his recent success, he should be considered a threat at the top of this upcoming Cross Country season though.

5. Gemsley Cajuste of CityWide Boston

        Massachusetts top Freshman 5K runner from the 2018 season with a 16:45.93 at the Bob McIntyre Twilight Invitational, Cajuste did not run either Indoor nor Outdoor Track & Field his Freshman year. Now heading into his Sophomore Cross Country season, it will be interesting to see if Cajuste will be able to lead his class again after making little noise since the turn of the year.

        We wrote briefly about the impressive Oliver Swabey in yesterday's (June 21) article. Swabey ran a personal best 5K Cross Country time of 17:21.00. He continued his success during the 2019 Outdoor Track & Field season with a 10:33.31 Two Mile time. Did we forget to mention that he accomplished this as a 7th Grade runner? Swabey, Class of 2024 is aiming to be one of Massachusetts' top runners even before he is a freshman.

7. Drew Pesko of Marshfield High School

        Massachusetts' top Freshmen Two Mile runner from the 2019 Outdoor Track & Field season, Pesko is looking to continue his success during his sophomore Cross Country season. Running a personal record 5K of 17:14.20 during the 2018 Cross Country season alongside his 9:47.05 Two Mile time during his previous Outdoor Track & Field season, Pesko has plenty of time to continue to improve upon his already impressive times. 

8. Sean Kay of Arlington Catholic High School

        Sean Kay leads all Massachusetts returning runners with an Indoor Two Mile time of 9:32.95. Adding that on top of his impressive Cross Country 5k time of 15:55.80, Kay is a runner to watch for. Kay also has success in larger meets, finishing 15th at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional last season after finishing second behind Newburyport High School's Sam Acquaviva in the Division 2 race at the 2018 MIAA All State Finals.

9. Nicholas Porter of Lexington High School 

        Nicholas Porter holds the fastest returners' 5K time from the 2018 Cross Country season. However, after running an impressive season of Cross Country during his Sophomore year last year, including a personal record of 15:35.50 at the Middlesex League Championships, Porter has not made much noise apart from his 1st place finish at the Auerbach Freshmen-Sophomore Meet Large School during the 2019 Indoor Track & Field season, running a 10:10.80. Porter will have to pick up where he left off last Cross Country season in order to continue to top the Massachusetts' time charts.  

10. Graham Stedfast of Triton Regional High School

        Graham Stedfast's personal best 2018 Cross Country time was a 17:17.20 at the MIAA Eastern Division Championships. Stedfast, a rising Junior, took off during the 2019 Outdoor Track & Field season by taking over 20 seconds off of his 2018 One Mile time, running a 4:24.86. With this high rate of improvement, Stedfast is a name to keep on your radar over the next few years.