It all starts at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. The top track & field athletes that have earned the qualifying standards, battling together inside the Reggie Lewis Center at the Meet of Champions. The best of the best all in one place. It doesn’t get any better than this, folks! Throughout the week, we’ll get you amped up for the Big Dance with full previews of all the individual events. Here we feature the boys’ sprinting and hurdle events – the 55-meter dash, 300m, 600m and 55m hurdles.
We expect this race to be close, really close. Newton North’s Everton Muir owns the top seed with his PR of 6.38 seconds from his victory at the Boston Holiday Challenge on Dec. 27. Since that performance, Muir had generally been in the high 6.4, low 6.5 range. He won this past Friday’s Division 1 states with a 6.48 clocking. There’s more than a half a dozen other sprinters that have run similar times to what Muir has done lately over the last few weeks making us think this race could come down to a lean at the finish by possibly more than one runner. St. John’s Prep’s Sean McDonough finished fourth at D1 and has a best of 6.49. Pembroke’s Andrew Gleason ran 6.50 to win D4s this past weekend and D3 champion Nathan Shultiz of North Attleboro matched that effort at his meet a few days ago. The top 10 in the field have done 6.54 or faster. Yikes! This might just be the perfect way to kick off the runnings with a race that has potential to be determined by a hundredth of a second by two or three runners. The finish line camera will certainly have to be examined extra hard in this one.
We’re thinking there’s a possibility the meet record of 34.22 could get eclipsed this weekend. The field includes six runners that have broken 35 seconds, including four from this past week’s divisional state meets. The top three seeds also happen to be our 1-2-3 finishers from the Div. 1 Championships – Acton-Boxborough’s Alex Landry (34.44), Newton North’s Myles Scott (34.50) and Haverhill’s Nataenel Vigo Catala (34.73). We’re thinking to could come down to a rematch between Landry and Scott. No doubt Scott would like to avenge his loss to Landry, who edged past him in the closing meters of the race. Landry has only run the 300m three times this season. All three have been under 35 seconds. He also has a best of 21.59 for the outdoor 200m to his credit, the only runner in the field that has broken 22 seconds. Winchester sophomore Daniel Killian (34.82), Taunton’s Dmitrius Shearrion (34.84) and Lexington’s Branndon Uda-Thach (34.98) are among others that could place high on the podium.
No one has broken 1:22 this season in a race that has become one of MA’s signature events each and every year. We expect it will happen this weekend. Among the talented runners that will be competing on Saturday, there is really no clear-cut favorite with several capable of breaking the tape at the end. Andover’s Neil Chowdhury is the No. 1 seed but not by much. Chowdhury comes in with a state-leading 1:22.76 from his victory at the Merrimack Valley Conference Championship two weeks ago. At the D1 states this past Saturday, he was fourth overall to Acton-Boxborough’s Ajay Raina, who clocked his current best of 1:22.97. Hopkinton’s Luke Boothroyd (1:22.80) and Ipswich’s Colin Hansen (1:22.87) are two others that have gone sub 1:23 this season. Five more in the race have broken 1:24. There will be a lot of talent on the line this weekend. The last straightaway of the finals could be classic.
The favorite in this race is Hopkinton’s Sean Golembiewski, who comes in with a best of 7.52 from his victory in the Large School race of the MSTCA Coaches Invitational on Jan. 29. Golembiewski has run four other times that are faster than the second seed, including his recent victory at D2s, where he broke the tape on 7.61. Jayden Bai of Lexington has the No. 2 spot with a best of 7.71. Westborough’s Alan Nguyen, Newburyport’s Ean Hynes and Lowell’s Nidlaire Olivier all have seeds of 7.73 to their credit. It should be an interesting race.