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 (MOC). 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’ middle & long distance events – the 1,000-meter run, mile and two mile.
This race should generate some excitement inside Reggie with several runners capable of getting in that low 2:30 range or faster. Our top seed has already gone faster with Andover’s Colin Kirn having the target on his singlet after clocking a state best of 2:29.99 from the Merrimack Valley Conference Championships on Feb. 10. The UMass-Amherst-bound senior followed up that performance by capturing last week’s Div. 1 title with a solid 2:32.68, a race he had to hold off strong efforts from the 2-3 finishers, Dylan Brenn of Wachusett (second, 2:33.43) and Cambridge Rindge & Latin’s Jacob Bronstein (third, 2:33.64). Only Bronstein will be back on the line among those two finishers and is the No. 4 seed with a 2:32.40 best. Reading’s Jack Quinn is having a breakthrough season after clocking a 1:58 800m during the outdoor season this past spring. He ranks No. 2 among the entries after a huge PR of 2:31.24 to capture the D1 crown last Friday. Quinn was able to beat a flurry of top competitors in the race, including North Andover’s Camden Reiland (2:32.15) and Natick’s Ben Feldman (2:32.49). A dozen runners in the race have a seed time that’s under 2:34. That’s a pretty fast field! Kirn is the top returnee in this event. He was fourth last year. We’re predicting he’ll go under 2:30 again with a field like this and the magnitude of the meet. Will anyone challenge him? We’ll get an idea on that if the pack is still tight in the closing laps. From there, it could be a Battle Royale.
A time of 4:12-4:13? Maybe faster. That’s what we’re predicting in this race where we have a loaded field up front. Newton North’s Tyler Tubman has the No. 1 seed of 4:16.61 from his victory at the Div. 1 states. Tubman also went sub 4:20 at the Coaches Invitational last month where he was timed in 4:17.22. He leads two other runners that have also gone under the mark with Boston College High’s Christopher Larnard (4:16.99) and Burlington’s Rithihk Prakash (4:18.93) on the line Tubman, a runner-up at the MOC last year, has proven he can win races where the competition could be tight like this weekend. At the states last Friday, he held off Larnard in the closing meters of the race to earn his PR. At the Coaches meet, Framingham’s Sam Burgess (second, 4:18.58) and Westford Academy’s Paul Bergeron (third, 4:19.10) were right behind him at the finish. Larnard will certainly have motivation on his side to return the favor to Tubman. As for Prakash, he looked awfully strong winning the D3 title with his current best. And, the Red Devils’ senior still had enough in the tank to come back and take the two mile with an all-time best of 9:16.89. Prakash is entered in the deuce, but we don’t expect he’ll hold back here. We expect it will be full speed ahead for the Cornell-bound senior. The next six runners in the race, barring any scratches, have all run 4:20. Among the group is North Andover’s Ryan Connolly, who has an all-time best of 4:16.79 from the New Balance Nationals last June. Connolly won the D2 race on Saturday with his current seed time, taking the title by more than three seconds. We’re guessing he’s going to join the sub 4:20 club this weekend. As evident by last spring, he’s capable off a faster time than his current seed. If there’s still a bunched-up pack with a lap or two remaining, and Prakash is among them, he’s capable of breaking the tape in the end with his fast, closing speed. That’s what we witnessed first-hand on Sunday. Look for the opening 400m in this race to be in the low 60-second range, maybe about 62-63 seconds, or even faster. Trust us, this one won’t be tactical. We’d be surprised if it was.
Just sit back and enjoy this one. That is, if you can. You might have to stand for this one. We’re predicting it’s going to be epic. With the level of talent on the line, how could it not? It’s possible a time in the low 9:20 range might not land you a spot on the podium. That’s how loaded this race is. Framingham’s Burgess, the defending champion, proved last week he deserves the favorite label after his impressive victory at Div. 1 states where he raced to a season best and nation No. 7 of 9:06.34. Burgess utilized a devastating kick the final 400m to beat Westford Academy’s Bergeron (second, 9:11.21) and St. John’s Prep’s Nathan Lopez (third, 9:14.72). All three will be back at it again this weekend. Yes, the same three that battled it out in cross country at All States. Plus, we have Uxbridge’s Aidan Ross. Yikes! This has potential to be insane!!! Ross clocked a best of 9:16. 58 to win the individual title at the Northeast Invitational in mid January. His last race was on Feb. 11 at the MSTCA Qualifier where he finished second in the 2M with a time of 9:37.93. We have heard that he’s okay and ready to race. With the Spartan senior at 100 percent, he’s somebody that can be overlooked. Not at all! Unless he scratches from the mile, which we don’t think he will, Prakash could also figure in the mix. At this meet last year, Burgess ran 9:12 after winning the D1 race the week before in 9:26. He then continued on with two sub-nine minute efforts at the New England’s and New Balance Nationals. At this point, he’s already ahead of pace for Saturday’s race. Could we see a time under nine minutes? If the Harvard-bound senior is pushed, it could happen. Bergeron, who led for most of last week’s race, certainly is not afraid to make this race honest. Lopez also has shown he won’t back down if the splits are quick. Oliver Ames’ Ryan Sarney (9:17.77) and Littleton’s Timothy Rank (9:18.54) are among a host of others that could fighting for those coveted podium spots.