One way to ensure a bright future is to preserve the past. Norwell coach Chuck Martin has undertaken the painstaking process of documenting the rich history of our fine sport and will be sharing with us a series of lists that illustrate the elite pedigree of Massachusetts distance running.
Recent performances are always the best indicator of future performance, and with that said, the Division Championships usually provide the first opportunity to see what the top tier teams truly look like. Rosters begin to stabilize, peak cycles start to take hold, and effort levels are raised by the depth of the field. All of that holds true if......you had to race hard to qualify for the state meet. For 90 percent of the teams, that is the case. The other 10 percent are just so dominant that they didn’t have to run all-out. Some looked entirely too comfortable blowing away the field, and the thought of them being able to run faster is a frightening. Every state championship is close because all the best teams have been condensed into two races, but this one might be one for the ages.
Jonathon Riley is one of the most highly decorated high school athletes in the history of the state. While a senior at Brookline, he won the 1996 Division 1 State Championship to cap-off a prep career that included 16 All-American honors and the fastest 1500m in 20 years (3:43.16). But his high school days were just the beginning of an illustrious career.
Smoke billows from the barrel of the gun and you explode from the line. 300 bodies jostle for position in a sea of elbows and spikes. Ten seconds of an all-out sprint and you begin to feel comfort as you take the position you rightfully earned over a season of racing. Order has been restored to a social structure that is dictated by time. The tension dissipates as you settle into the front pack, but the feeling of being watched has not gone away. You glance to you right and there he is……..your nemesis; a shadow that seems to always appear during your biggest running moments.
The projected sloppy conditions add a dimension of strength to racing 5,000 meters at Franklin Park that you would not otherwise see in other regions of the country. The added energy it will take to traverse the soggy fields will only be second to the perils of a full descent down Bear Cage Hill. But the good news is that Massachusetts has some very strong female runners and messy conditions are nothing new to racing in New England. The majority of the impact will be felt by those athletes who are not confident in their mid-race strength and try to hang on just long enough to outkick opponents. Race strategies may shift towards a significant push in the second mile to test the mettle of the field, thus opening gaps and spreading out the race. So many of the girls teams are reliant on 1-5 gap times that contact may be more critical than ever.
Luis Martinez, Erin Hooker, American Fork, Fort Collins win NXN SW; Daniel Vertiz, Madi McLellan, South Lake Carroll win NXN S. Much more inside!
Katie Powell and Abbey McNulty finished second and third, respectively, leading Bishop Feehan to its third Division 2 state title in a row. The Shamrocks finished with 65 points to Hamilton-Wenham’s79. Abby Baker led the Whitman-Hanson girls to the Division 1 team title with her 19:27 for 15th overall. The Panther's top five couldn't have run much better as they finished within 20 seconds of each other. Jordan O'Dea and Catarina Rocha ran from the field in their respective divisions to post impressive individual wins.
Jonathan Green had every reason to be happy after reeling off a sterling time of 15 minutes, 41 seconds in the Division 1 race to outlast always-tough Joel Hubbard of Marshfield (15:42) and Wachusett’s Colin Bennie (15:46). The race proved to be the deepest off the day as eight runners dipped under 16 minutes on what is slowly becoming the legendary 3.1-mile Franklin Park layout. Pembroke’s Wesley Gallagher had plenty of challengers on his way to defending his Div. 2 title with a scintillating 15:43. Wakefield’s star harrier Stephen Robertson was the final runner to take on Gallagher and finished second in 15:44. In the team battles, Brookline (110 points) defeated Lowell (147) and Oliver Ames (177) to successfully defend its title from a year ago. After capturing its third consecutive girls title, Bishop Feehan went to work in the boys Div. 2 race against defending champion Pembroke. Only 21 seconds separated the first five Shamrock runners as they edged out the Titans for the title.
John Keklak was on-site at the Massachusetts State Championships and captured hundreds of photos from each race. Click onthe picture to view the album from that race. You can view all of John's work at http://johnkeklak.smugmug.com.
What if the state meet was one big race for each gender? Since it may never happen, the closest we can get is merging the results and rescoring it. Now, before your traditionalists get in an uproar, we understand that weather, course conditions, and racing tactics vary from race to race. Remember…….it’s hypothetical.
High school coach Jack Dempsey combines his knowledge of sports with over twenty years of video production experience to create high quality highlight videos for athletes. His crew from JD Sports Video was on site for the 2011 Massachusetts State Championships and created highlight films from all four races.
Northampton High School Cross Country at the MIAA All-State Meet, held on November 19, 2011 at Franklin Park in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to the Northampton runners, there is a lot of footage of both Division 1 races, and I tried to focus on Western Massachusetts runners.
Division 2 race footage that I shot at the MIAA All State Cross Country meet on November 19, 2011 at Franklin Park in Boston, Massachusetts. There are two passes of the girls, and three passes of the boys. Video of the Division 1 runners, including the Northampton HS fab four, can be found at http://youtu.be/NS6CZCfro8E
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