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’ middle & long distance events.
With no disrespect to any of the other fine competitors that will be toeing the line this weekend, no one will beat Devan Kipyego this weekend! The Saint Raphael Academy senior is the overwhelming favorite to defend his title and has a legit shot at breaking the state and New England record of 2:24.18, set last year by Northbridge’s Marcus Reilly, who also established a national sophomore mark with his effort. Unlike Reilly, who had a loaded field to run with at BU’s Terrier Classic Kipyego will more than likely have to go solo in his record attempt. The Iowa State signee has the proven ability to run a time in the 2:24-2:25 range. Just last week, he ran an indoor best of 4:01.04 for the mile at the BU Last Chance Invitational. That came after winning four events at the RI State Meet a week earlier with victories in the 3K, 1,500m, 600m and 1K.. The No. 2 seed in Saturday’s race is North Andover (MA) senior Camden Reiland, who was a runner-up at the recent Meet of Champions with a PR of 2:32.15. Elijah Saddlemire of Smithfield (RI) is the third seed with a best of 2:33.85, which he did to place second to Kipyego in the SRA runner’s final event of the day. In last year’s race, Kipyego clocked his current best of 2:28.65 to edge former Portsmouth standout Kaden Kluth, who was timed in 2:28.72 for second. It will be different this time around. Look for Kipyego to establish a blistering pace from the gun and pass through the opening 400m between 56-57 seconds. It will be all about the number on the digital clock at the finish from there. If Kipyego falls short of Reilly’s mark, there’s still a chance it could be a record run. The state record is 2:27.86 by La Salle alum DJ Principe from the Dartmouth Relays in 2017. The facility record at Reggie Lewis by a high-schooler is 2:25.14 by former Boston English star Said Ahmed in 2001.
We’re expecting a very competitive race in this event. The No. 1 seed and our pick to win it all is Aidan Cox of Coe Brown (NH). Cox has a seed of 4:17.0 based on his winning 3:59 for 1,500 meters at the NHIAA Division II Championships less than two weeks ago. The Virginia commit’s effort in the 1,500m came after winning the 3,000m in 8:26 and also anchoring his team’s third-place 4x800m squad. He’ll be focused on just this race on Saturday. Cox ran a PR of 4:15.12 at the Greater Boston Track Club Invitational at Harvard on Jan. 22. If everything works out as planned, we expect he’ll be faster on Saturday. The Coe Brown standout will have plenty of company in the race to push him to a quick time with the host state’s Ryan Connolly of North Andover and William Lui of Acton-Boxborough among the top entries that will be answering the gun this weekend. In a down-to-the-wire race with eventual winner Tyler Tubman of Newton North, Connolly was edged by his rival at the line and finished with a second-place time and PR of 4:17.19. Lui was right behind in third with a best of 4:17.63. Fairfield Warde (CT) junior Parker Broderick (4:19.82), Oliver Ames (MA) senior Aidan Dupill (4:20.60), Noble (ME) junior Maddox Jordan (4:20.65). Oliver Ames’ Brendan Thomas (4:20.66) and East Greenwich (RI) senior Nick Martin (4:21.14) are among other top seeds in the race. Martin’s time is based on his 4:01.80 best for 1,500m, which he did to placed second at the State Meet.
This is a race that could get interesting, It has been confirmed that Cox will not run this event on Saturday. That leaves Burlington (MA) senior Rithikh Parkash as our top seed with his best of 9:16.46 from his fifth-place finish at the recent Meet of Champions.. The No. 2 seed is fellow state rival Ryan Sarney of Oliver Ames, who placed sixth at MOC with a best of 9:17.34. These two runners have some history together with Prakash beating Sarney in the 2M in a head-to-head battle at the Coaches Invitational last May and doing the same just a few weeks ago at the Division 3 Championships. The race also includes a pair of 9:20 two-milers with Connecticut’s Collin Walsh of New Milford (9:20.49 best) and Staples’ Benjamin Lorenz (9:20.63 best) expected to race up their racing spikes. Keep an eye on sophomore Cole Francis of Narragansett (RI). Francis popped a huge PR of 8:44.57 for 3K at the State Meet less than two weeks ago, an effort that earned him a silver medal.