Over two days at Fitchburg State University, our state’s best track & field athletes will be contesting in 20 different events at the Meet of Champions (MOC). If you’re a fan of track & field, this is the place to be on Thursday and Saturday. It’s here where you’ll get a chance to witness some incredible athletes giving it their all with hopes of reaching success at the end, whether it’s a victory, a podium finish or a PR. Want to talk about talent in these fields? Here’s a few examples. A time of 2:19.85 puts you at No. 25 in the girls’ 800-meter run. How about the boys’ mile? If you didn’t run under 4:26, you ranked 38th or higher..
Here’s what we consider the top storylines for Day 1 of the MOC
A State Or Meet Record For The Boys’ Deuce?
Ever since their classic duel in the two mile at the MOC this past winter, we’ve been talking often about our 1-2-3 finishers, Sam Burgess (Framingham), Nathan Lopez (St. John’s Prep) and Paul Bergeron (Westford Academy). The talented trio will be back for the deuce on Thursday and what we expect it will be another memorable race. Bergeron made it evident that the state record is in jeopardy this past weekend after falling just a second short of the mark with his sensational victory at the Division 1 meet where he was timed in 8:51.88. Lopez was second with a PR of 9:00.93. Burgess skipped the 2M at D1, but we’re certain he’ll be ready, too. He’s a thrice sub-9 guy. But they’re not the only runners to keep an eye on, not by any means. Did you see what happened in the Div. 3 meet? Oliver Ames teammates Ryan Sarney (first, 9:06.68), Brendan Thomas (second, 9:06.87) and Billerica’s Ryan Leslie (third, 9:09.52) were quite impressive in their 1-2-3 finish. With six runners in this field that have broken 9:10, you have to figure that even if a state record is not set, the 48-year-old meet record of 9:00.0 by Wayland’s decorated alum Alberto Salazar will be erased. About the only thing that may prevent it from happening is the predicted 90-degree temperature for Saturday’s race. Like the forecast, whether a record is broken or not, we’re expecting this race to be a hot one.
Could We Have Multiple Sub-25s In Girls’ 200m?
This is one of two events that Kylee Bernard is the top seed. The Cambridge Rindge & Latin senior is also No. 1 in the 400m, where she’s the defending champion. While we’re listing her as the favorite in both events, the 200m could be the one where she’ll be pressed the most. Bernard clocked a state best and PR of 24.79 at the Division 1 Championships. Dennis Yarmouth sophomore Breanna Braham ran the best race of her young career to take the D5 title at 24.87. There’s also Framingham’s Abby Desmarais (25:02), who was second to Bernard at the divisionals, and Beverly’s Meredith Pasquarosa (25.04), the D2 winner, who both were oh so close to joining the sub-25 club. This race could get very interesting down the stretch.
Take Your Pick! Who Will Win Boys’ 200m?
Just like the girls, we’re expecting a sizzler here, too.. At the division states, we had six sprinters break 22 seconds. Five of them came from D1 with Acton Boxborough’s Alex Landry holding off a fury of competitors in the last few meters to win with a state-leading 21.66. Landry will be facing some familiar faces with the 2-3-4-5 finisher from that race – Malden’s Johnny Emmanuel (21.69), Newton North’s Myles Scott (21.88), Darwin Jimenez (21.69, prelims) and Leonid Burlak (21.86) – all scheduled to answer the gun. There’s also D2 victor, Christopher Brooks of Wellesley (21.69). All six are capable of breaking the tape on Thursday. Landry is consistently strong in this event. Emmanuel, who went sub-47 in the 400m, is red hot right now, and so is Jiminez, who captured the 100m at D1 with a best of 10.61. He’s tied for No. 1 in the short sprint with Brooks, who swept the sprinting events at his divisional meet. Both will be trying to do the same this week. The state record is 20.93, which we believe is a little out of reach. But don’t be surprised if the winning time is in the low 21-second range, maybe around 21.3, 21.4.
Sky’s The Limit In Girls’ Pole Vault…Literally
Even if your athlete, daughter, sister or girlfriend – did we miss anyone? – is not competing in this event, you might want to shift your attention to the infield area of the track when it gets down to the final few athletes. We expect two of them to be Westborough’s Melinda Haagensen and Natick’s Alyssa Peasley. Haagensen soared to a PR of 12 feet, 7 inches to win this event in D3. Peasley was the D2 winner at 12-0.
Record-Breaker In Boys’ 400m IH?
A state record, perhaps? That’s a goal for our top seed in the 400-meter hurdles, Hopkinton’s Sean Golembiewski. The Hillers’ senior won Div. 2 by nearly two seconds with a time of 54.71. He has a best of 53.95 from the Weston Twilight Invitational, where his cushion was again close to two seconds. Glemnblewski’s top challenger is Noah Stegmeier of Acton Boxborough, who was second at Weston and won D2s. Stegmeier was also seventh in the solo 400m at that meet in 49.51. The state record is 53.3 by former Brockton star Jordan Williams in 2019. There’s a chance it will go down. this week.
Fast 800m Tune-Up For Amelia?
The real race in this one will be for second. With a seed that is more than seven seconds faster than her closest rival, we don’t expect Amelia Everett to fall short in her quest for yet another individual title. But keep your eyes on the clock. Everett could be going for a fast time in her last 800m before the Brooks PR Invitational on June 14, which is two weeks away. She has a best of 2:06.19 from the Nike Outdoor Nationals. Don’t be surprised if she’s near that time on Thursday.