First High School Steeplechase in Mass?


 The Steeplechase is ready to make a splash at the High School level at Regis College on Saturday as part of the 15th annual Weston Twilight Invitational.  Is this really the first ever High School Steeplechase race in Massachusetts? Some of Massachusetts most knowledgeable track and field historians believe it is !  We have had High School runners compete in Open Steeplechase races, as well as Junior Olympic competition. We believe the runners competing in Saturdays meet will make history, and possibly pave the way for more races in the future. Milesplitmass caught up with meet Director and long time Weston coach Joh Monz to find out how the steeplechase made its way into his Invitational.

Q & A  w/ John Monz

Milesplitmass : How many years has the twilight meet been around? 

Monz: This is our 15th year.

Milesplitmass : Where did the idea come from to run a Steeplechase at your Weston Twilight Invitational?

Monz:   Steve McChesney had suggested it years ago, that he could get some barriers and we could run one at Weston without a water jump. The effort involved in getting the barriers over here and still not having the “real” event seemed too much for the payoff. Once the Regis track opened last year – just a half-mile up the street – it seemed like a much more feasible idea. We could run the actual event without lugging barriers from school to school – why not give it a try? After all, it’s an event in the New Balance Nationals now, along with Glenn Loucks and the Danbury Dream meet, and there are some Mass kids who would like to give it a try.

Milesplitmass:  How accommodating has Regis College been in this process? 

Monz:   Christine Kloiber (the Regis coach) has been wonderfully helpful. She really loves the sport and is interested in promoting it at every level.

 Milesplitmass:  Most of the kids in our State have very little knowledge of the steeplechase, can you give us a rundown on Distances, number of hurdles, differences in the boys and girls races. 

Monz:  Steeples can be run at 1500m, 2k, or 3k. Pretty much all HS girls races are at 2k, while some places run boys at 3k and other run 2k. We chose 2k for boys since that is the distance the New Balance Nationals will run. Boys barriers are 36” high, while the girls’ barriers are 30” high. In the 2k steeple, the first lap has 2 barriers and 1 water jump; the other 4 laps have 4 barriers and 1 water jump, for a total of 18 barriers and 5 water jumps over the full race. 

Milesplitmass: How many High School Boys and girls are scheduled to compete in the Steeplechase Saturday afternoon? 

Monz:  We have 12 boys and 2 girls entered. Boys: Hegarty, Mark   (Cathedral-Springfield),  Branco, Danny   (Sandwich),  Perry, Mark   (Brookline), Freeman, David  (Weston), Sternstein, Evan   (Brookline), Dec, Patrick   (Needham), Kotowski, Brett   (Stoneham), Conlin, John   (Stoneham), Gaj, Evan   (Andover), Galat, Max   (Andover), Krause, Andrew   (Malden Catholic), Rufo, John   (Malden Catholic).

Girls: Armstrong, Hallie (Needham) and Abigail Pohl (Weston)

Milesplitmass:  Do you think the Steeplechase could be a common High School event sometime in the future?

Monz: Well, the facility issue will always limit it somewhat. Very few high schools will have a water jump. I think we’ll see it more and more in invitational meets if they are at college sites. It might develop into an event something like the decathlon-heptathlon where there are a few chances a year for athletes to compete in it, maybe qualify for Nationals and show college coaches are different side of their talent.