The New England Championships are here. It’s the final stop for most of our athletes this winter and the last tune-up before the nationals the following week for others. Throughout the week, Bay State Running will be previewing all the individual events for Saturday’s competition at the Reggie Lewis Center. Below, we feature the boys’ sprinting and hurdle events.
There’s a good chance the meet record of 6.33 could get erased here. The No. 1 seed and the favorite on Saturday is Noble Gongon of Simsbury (CT). Besides having an awesome first name, he also has a quick 6.35 to his credit in the short sprint, which he did at the State Open. In addition, he’s clocked 6.36 twice with victories at the CCC Indoor Championships and Class L Championships this winter. Three-time RI state champion Jared Gibbons of La Salle Academy (RI) and recent Meet of Champions runner-up Alex Arborgast of Tewksbury (MA) hold the next two seeds with identical times of 6.48. There’s a bunch more that are capable of grabbing some top placements, including Miles Burr of Mt. Desert Island (ME), Mason Pilkington of Enfield (CT) and Salter Arms of Moses Brown (RI). All three have run in the low 6.5 range.
This one has a good possibility of coming down to the wire between a pair of CT runners with Hall’s Samuel Sandler and Greenwich’s Gianluca Bianchi the fastest in the field with times of 34.68 and 34.72, respectively, on a flat track. In other words, the potential is there for faster times on the banked oval of Reggie Lewis. Dmitrius Shearrion of Taunton (MA) is another sub-35 guy that will be toeing the line with a best of 34.84. Other top runners expected to compete are Miles Burr of Mt. Desert Island (ME), Winston Lewis of Springfield International Charter (MA), Noah Colangelo of Killingley (CT) and Jordan Rivera-Silva of Attleboro (MA) with times in the low 35-second range.
There’s really no clear-cut favorite in this race. Some of the top runners that we feel have the best chance at attaining gold this weekend are Gavin Demas of Coe Brown (NH), Neil Chowdhury of Andover (MA) and Thomas Speltz of Moses Brown (RI), who hold the top three seeds. Demas captured the NHIAA Division 2 Indoor Championships with a PR of 1:22.74. Chowdhury was the winner at the MIAA Meet of Champions with a best of 1:23.06 and Speltz placed second at the RI state meet in 1:23.30. Six more in the field have broken 1:24 and eight more have gone sub 1:25.
A meet record that has stood for more than three decades could be in jeopardy this week. The current mark is 7.30, set by the late Conroy Davis of Bassick (CT) in 1991. The No. 1 seed and fellow Nutmegger Joshua Monney has already run faster this season, winning the recent CIAC State Open with a PR of 7.26, a time that ranks No. 1 in the country. Mooney certainly won’t be alone with top competition coming from CT rival and the nation’s No. 2 hurdler Michael Johnson, who was a runner-up to Mooney at the State Open with a best of 7.39. This should be a matchup between Mooney and Johnson as the next seed is about a half second behind with RI champion Ethan Knight of Barrington holding the next spot with a 7.74 best from his victory at the State Meet. Other top hurdlers that should be vying for some podium positions are Jayden Bay of Lexington (MA), Ethan Kane of Bonny Eagle (ME) and Damon Wilson of West Warwick (RI), just to name a few. All three have times in the low 7.8 range.