It will be Friday Night Lights, track style!
Is there any other way?
St. John’s Prep will be the site of our inaugural BSR MId-Distance Classic, sponsored by HOKA and Marathon Sports. Friday night’s meet, which starts at 4 p.m., has attracted the interest of a slew of talented runners that will be competing in the 400-meter run, 800m or the mile.
Beginning with the boys’ mile, the host school’s Nathan Lopez holds the No. 1 seed with a best of 4 minuts, 13.30 seconds from last year’s Division 1 Championship. Even though his time is nearly seven seconds faster than the next seed, don’t expect Lopez to run away with the title. At No. 2 is a familiar rival, Paul Bergeron of Westford Academy. Bergeron has an all-time best of 4:19.10 from this past winter’s Coaches Invitational. Less than two weeks ago, the WA junior had a monster race at the Arcadia (CA) Invitational where he clocked 8:52.78 for 3,200m, Three weeks prior to that race, he ran 14:36 for 5K at the New Balance Nationals. No doubt he’s in shape to improve on his mile time substantially this weekend. Lopez also had an impressive indoor season, highlighted by a runner-up finish and best of 9;01 for two miles at the Meet of Champions, a race Bergeron was third at 9:04. We expect both to be battling together for inividual honors. The field features a dozen runners that have done 4:30 or faster, including a several in the low-to-mid 4:20 range such as Concord-Carlisle’s Henry Reichle (4:20.99), Little ton’s Timothy Rank (4:21.88), North Andover’s Cambden Reiland (4:21.97), St. John’s Prep’s Paul Lovett (4:24.32), Falmouth’s Henry Gartner (4:24.39) and SJP’s Daniel Padley (4:24.5).
Newton South’s Amelia Everett leads the way in the girls’ mile. Everett, who won the high school race at the recent BAA Invitational Mile, is the only runner in the field that has broken five minutes with an outdoor best of 4:56.0 from last spring’s Meet of Champions. Andover’s Molly Kiley, a third-place finisher in the two mile at the MOC this past winter, owns the two seed with a best of 5:07.92. Bishop Feehan’s Lauren Augustyn (5:15.44) and Concord-Carlisle’s Jacqueline White (5:16.04) are two other top runners that will answer the gun.
Nine runners in the boys’ 800m have dipped below two minutes. This is a race that has a chance to have at least three or more runners still in contention coming down the final stretch. North Andover’s Ryan Connolly, a runner-up in the mile at the MOC during the indoor season, has a seed of 1:55.5. With a 4:16 best for the mile, Connolly certainly has the ability to manufacture a very fast 800m with the right kind of conditions and the right kind of competition, which he’ll have at the Mid-Distance Classic. Rhode Island powerhouse, La Salle Academy, is one of a handful of out-of-state teams that will be making the trip on Friday. The Rams’ Blake Santos should fare well in this event. The La Salle junior ran a best of 1:56.60 at the BU Terrier Classic on Jan. 27. He was third in the 600m at the RI State Meet (1;24.02) and has 51-second speed for the 400m. Westford Academy could create havoc in this event with a trio of runners capable of placing high and possibly taking individual honors. Among them are Austin Desisto (1:56.78) and Owen Shultz (1:57.90) and Jack Graffeo (1:58.85). Concord Carlisle’s Ray Pavlik (1:57.43) could also challenge up front.
It should be a close one in the girls’ 800, too. Wachusett’s Ashlynn Witt, who is coming off a strong indoor campaign, leads the entries with a best of 2:16.58 from 2022. Witt proved over the winter that a sub 2:15 is possibly under the lights this Friday. During the indoor campaign, and broke three minutes four times in the 1K during the season and finished third overall at the MOC. Westford Academy’s Abby Hennessey has also gone under 2:20 in this event with a PR of 2:18. Her teammate, Sydney Weiss, could join that elite company. She’s the No. 3 seed at 2:21.50.
The 400m is the kickoff event to the meet. We’re expecting those races to draw some excitement, too. In the girls’ race, Maitri Clifford of Winnacunnet, holds the top spot among the entries with a seed of 59.7. La Salle’s Christian Cormier, has a seed of 1:00.80, but the senior has run faster. She was a runner-up at last year’s outdoor states with a PR of 58.91. Middleboro’s Jocelyn Bush (1:02.80) and Worcester’s Tech’s Isabella Generelli (1:04.5) and Ohemaa Ofosu (1:04.50) are the third through fifth seeds.
La Salle’s Garrett Giroux -Pezzullo has a 49.9 seed to lead entries for boys. There’s also a bunch more in the low 50-second range, such as Worcester Tech’s Cyprian Ojatabu (51.20), Ipswich’s Colin Hansen (52.03), St. John’s Prep’s Jeff Groth (52.1) , Marshfield’s Elias Horne (52.5), Tewksbury’s Ryan Cuvier (52.5), La Salle’s Thaden Leomensah (52.5), Worcester Tech’s MIchael Gyimah (52.8) and La Salle’s Peyton Simas (52.8).
ORDER OF EVENTS
(girls, followed by boys; slowest to fastest heats)