Leading up to this weekend’s New Balance Nationals Indoor Championships, we’re going to highlight a few events that feature MA track & field athletes that could electrify the crowd a little more than the rest.
Girls’ 800m (Sunday)
This is an event that could come down to the final straightaway with a bunch of runners still in contention. The No. 1 seed based on times run this season is Allison Ince, a junior from Normal (TX). Ince raced to a nation No. 2 of 2:07.13 to win this event at the MVP Vibe Fest Chicagoland in mid-February. Do we think a time in that range will win on Saturday? Probably not. Along with Ince, there are several in this field that have run times between 2:04-2:06 on the outdoor surface last spring. In a meet like this, on track like this, and with the talent expected to answer the gun, we think those times can be matched or exceeded this weekend. Ince has an all-time best of 2:04.14, which she did to win the Brooks PR Invitational in June. The race also features NBNO champion Isabel Conde De Frankenberg of Cedar Point (TX ), who clocked a winning 2:05.61 at the 2022 meet. Angelina Napoleon of Alleghany (NY), who was second to Conde De Frankenberg with a best of 2:06.69, is also scheduled to compete. How about locally? We got a few there, too. Newton South’s Amelia Everett and Belmont’s Ellie Shea are among the 10 entries in the seeded section. For Shea, the 800m is one of four events that she’s entered in this weekend along with the mile, two mile and 5K. She has a best of 2:08.59 in an event she seldom runs. Is Shea capable of challenging with the leaders? She’s certainly proven that she can throughout her outstanding high school career. But we’re thinking this might be a race that Shea will scratch from to concentrate on the other three like she did last year. How about Everett? The Stanford signee surely has the ability to make the podium this weekend. She’s coming off a solid runner-up finish in the 1,000-meter run at this past weekend’s New England Championships where she was timed in a PR of 2:49.56. After experiencing a bout of anemia during a good portion of the season, the Stanford-bound senior appears to be hitting her stride just in time for a prime showing this weekend. She indicated after the New England’s, that the goal is to break 2:10. We believe she has a chance to do that by a considerable margin on Sunday. She has an all-time best of 2:06.13 from her third-place finish at the NSAF Outdoor Nationals in mid June. It wouldn’t surprise us to see her in that 2:06-2:08 range on her home turf.
***By the way, Everett is also the 800m anchor for her team’s Sprint Medley Relay, which will be competing on Friday. The foursome of Ellie Jolly (200m), Christine Zong (200m), Molly Johnson (400m) and Everett have the ability to run about 4:05-4:06, an effort that could land the Lions a top-3 placement.