Outdoor T&F Preview: Girls’ Sprinting Events
We could see a lot of familiar faces in this event with seven of the top eight runners from last year’s Meet of Champions returning, including the 1-2 finishers, Elliana Tweedie of Westford Academy and Milford’s Kiyanni Simas of Milford. Tweedie, who captured the 55-meter dash at the Division 1 Championships this winter, could be flirting with sub-12 this season. She clocked a PR of 12.12 to win her title last June and also went 12.15 in the prelims of the D1 meet, which she eventually won in the finals at 12.19. Simas is certainly a worthy contender. Besides her runner-up finish to Tweedie where she was timed in 12.20, she raced to a PR of 12.17 to take top honors at the Div. 2 meet. Count Pembroke’s Sara Clafin as a possible threat for top honors this spring. She’s coming off a victory in the 55m dash at the MOC where she clocked a state-leading 7.12. In the 100m, she was fourth at the MOC last year and blazed to a best of 12.15 to win the Patriot League Championships. There’s plenty more than can earn spots on the podium. Among them are Wellesley’s Abby Lothian, Norton’s Jillian Strynar, and Wachusett’s Nyah Santana, to name a few.
We had an abundance of talent in this event in 2022 with four runners breaking 25 seconds for the half-lapper. Guess what? Most of them are coming back. The top three finishers at last year’s Meet of Champions will be returning this spring with Tweedie, Norton’s Ali Murphy and Cambridge Rindge & Latin’s Kylee Bernard expected to be battling once again at the season-ending meet. Tweedie won last year’s MOC in 24.71. Murphy was second at 24.87 and Bernard took third in 25.03. The CB&L senior had a state-leading 24.71 to capture the Div. 1 title over Tweedie. All three are coming off strong seasons on the indoor oval. Tweedie was the D1 55m champion. Bernard won the 600m title and four times broke 40 seconds for the 300m. Murphy took runner-up honors at both the MOC and New England Championships with a PR of 39.67 in the latter. There’s also plenty more that are capable of making some noise, such as Clafin (25.01), Santana (25.15), Amherst Pelham’s Moriah Luetjen (25.25), Burlington’s Grace Hanafin (25.36) and Concord-Carlisle’s Obu Akubude (25.39).
In the last 20-plus years, only two runners have broken 55 seconds in this event with Hingham’s Sierra Irvin clocking 54.51 to win the All State Meet in 2014 and Wellesley’s Abby Comella racing to a best of 54.90 at the New Balance Nationals in 2018. Could we add more to that list this season? It’s possible. The top returnee is Bernard, the defending titlist from the MOC. The taleneted senior dipped under 56 seconds thrice last spring and came mere strides from joining the 54-club at the New Balance Nationals where she was timed in a PR of 55.09. Murphy took second to Bernard at MOC and ran her best of 55.51 at New Balance. There’s also gifted underclassmen Moriah Luetjen of Amherst-Pelham, who as a ninth-grader in 2022, was third overall at MOC with a PR of 55.76. Framingham’s Abby Desmarais(57.38), North Reading’s Giuliana Ligor (57.52) and Marlborough’s Ava VanBuskirk (57.62) are a few others to keep an eye on this season.