After taking a very-brief break from a long indoor season, we’re back.
But before we start getting into outdoor mode, we’d like to give you a rundown on what transpired last weekend by our MA track & field athletes during a successful few days at the New Balance Nationals (and Nike Indoor Nationals, too). We’d first like to begin by talking about a few things. We spent three days at the TRACK at new balance, an awesome facility and the site of the NBN. With the task of covering both the MA and RI athletes for the respective Bay State Running and Ocean State Running sites, we learned that to give the meet its just due a team of several dedicated individuals are needed. It’s not something that can be accomplished, at least to the standards that we set forth for meets like these, by a limited staff. With that being said, moving forward, we’d like to recruit passionate people like us that want to help produce the best possible product for this great sport. We can always use the extra help in a variety of different ways (photos, videos, tech work, editorial). Current and/or former athletes, parents, or anyone else that would like to assist us in our coverage at meets like these, please let us know how you can assist. Just email us at email@example.com.
Here is something else we’d like to address and feel it’s of the utmost importance. If you were one of the athletes that had the opportunity to compete at these national meets, we’d first like to congratulate you on the fact that you made it this far, the fact that you earned the qualifying standards to compete against the very best. That’s something to be proud of. That’s something you should take great pride in achieving. Everything else that happens…that’s just extra. If you had a positive outcome from your performance, it’s a bonus. In this thing called life, we place far too much emphasis on reaching the pinnacle of success. More and more emphasis is put on winning or earning that coveted medal than ever before. The pressure can often be insurmountable, especially at national championship meets like this past weekend. If you didn’t quite accomplish what you set out to achieve, whether it was winning an event, making the podium or improving on your best, remember it’s only one meet. For most of you, they’ll be plenty more. For the few others, who were competing for the last time as a high school or college athlete, there will be plenty more opportunities to shine, plenty more opportunities to demonstrate your talent, whatever it may be. Please, keep your head up no matter how you did this past weekend. And, once again, congratulations for making it this far. You’re among a select and very special group.
What can you say about Ellie Shea that hasn’t already been said before? The Belmont junior was without a doubt one of the stars of the meet at New Balance. During a three- day stretch from Friday to Sunday, Shea captured the two mile (9:49.82) and 5K (15:46.28), and finished third in the mile (4:40.76). For the deuce, she ran a nation best and broke her own state record of 9:52.35 from last year. The gifted runner set a meet and state record in the 5K with another nation No. 1 and was just off her PR for the mile of 4:40.01, set last winter at BU’s Valentine Invitational. Counting the outdoor season, Shea has won four nationals titles (outdoor 5K, 2021: Indoor 5K, 2022-23, Indoor 2M, 2023), finished second in the outdoor two mile twice (2021, 2022), and was fourth and third, respectively, the last two years in the indoor mile. Keep in mind, she still has the upcoming spring season and all of the next year to add to this already-incredible resume.
The Bay State also collected three bronze medals at New Balance with the Newton North boys earning All-American honors in the Sprint Medley Relay (3:30.80), Newton South’s Amelia Everett matching her third-place finish from the Outdoor Nationals in the 800m (indoor PR, 2:08.80) and Bishop Stang’s Jacob Cookinham earning his high placement on the podium in the shot (63-6.25). For Everett, it was one of three races she competed in at NBN. She clocked the fastest 800m anchor split (2:11.92) of all the teams in the Sprint Medley Relay, an event the Lions were ninth overall with a season best of 4:09.07. Everett capped off her weekend by going sub-5 in the mile where she was timed in 4:56.42.
Our final All American at NBN was Franklin’s Sarah Dumas in the Pentathlon. Dumas finished fourth overall, compiling 3,275 points. Dumas scored the most points in the 60m hurdles. She added 893 to her total by winning her heat in 9.08. Here’s how the remaining events went for the versatile Panther junior – High Jump (5-3, 736 points), shot (32-0.75, 514 points), long jump (14-10, 433 points) and 800m (2:29.55, 699 points).
Although he missed out on just making the podium, Catholic Memorial’s CJ Sullivan did establish a new state record in an ultra-competitive and talented field in the 5,000m where he raced to a best of 14:31.30 for seventh overall. He was followed by Westford Academy’s Paul Bergeron (ninth, 14:36.05) and Framingham’s Sam Burgess (14:43.00), who all went under Burgess’s old state mark of 14:41.49 from last year. Pretty impressive stuff. A day prior to the 5K, Bergeron ran a 4:15.08 split for his mile anchor on Westford’s DMR squad that was ninth overall with a best of 10:15.49.
Prior to New Balance, Northbridge’s Marcus Reilly ran PRs for the mile (4:06.60) and the 3K (8:34.63) this season. The Rams junior added another best at this past weekend’s meet by placing ninth overall in the 800m with a time of 1:51.03.
Lexington’s quartet of Jake Wheaton, Khal Uda-Thach, Branndon Uda-Thach and Alexios Kontotanssis ran the state’s top time this season for the boys’ 4x200m relay by finishing 17th overall in the preliminary heats with a time of 1:29.01. Xaverian Brothers moved to No. 3 in the rankings with a time of 1:30.39, good for 29th overall in the prelims..
In the girls’ Championship 400m, we had four of our MA athletes under a minute with Cambridge Rindge & Latin’s Kylee Bernard (13th, 56.05), Woburn’s Kayla Burbick (38th, 57.71), Norton’s Ali Murphy (48th, 58.48) and Plymouth North’s Maci Shriner (59.07) all under the mark.
The Bay State had a solid presence in the boys’ two mile with Burgess (23rd, 9:08.74), Oliver Ames’ Ryan Sarney (25th, 9:09.20) and Brimmer and May School’s Brian Gamble (9:10.70), St John’s Prep’s Nathan Lopez (38th, 9:13.30) and Sullivan (39th, 9:14.18) leading the way.
We’re also giving props to the Wachusett Regional girls, which were eighth in the SMR and 21st in the 4x200m relays. In both of the events, the Mountaineers ran times that were among our state’s best ever. The foursome of Nyah Santana, Kate Larose, Rahman Giwa and Ashlynn Witt combined for a time of 1:43.02 for the 4x200m, while the SMR quartet of Santana. Larose, Giwa and Alla Head were timed in 4:07.97. The effort in the 4x200m ranks No. 2 all time, just behind the state record of 1:42.75 by Hingham in 2015. The SMR is at No. 7.
Brookline had state best by its girls’ 4x800m (ninth, 9:14.59) and its boys’ 4xMile (14th, 18:09.52). Lowell was 28th in the girls’ 4x200m at 1:44.28.
At the Nike Indoor Nationals in New York City, also held last weekend, Hopkinton was fifth overall in the Shuttle Hurdle Relay to earn All American. The squad of Bridget O’Connor, Kiley Locke, Emma DeMichele and Ellie Driscoll combined for a time of 36.51.