This is the last of six previews (boys and girls) for this weekend’s MIAA Division State Championships. Here we feature the Division 1A, 1B and 1C boys’ races that will take place at the Gardner Municipal Golf Course.
At Gardner Municpal Golf Course
Day/Time: Saturday/11 a.m.
Teams: St. John’s Prep, Lowell, Framingham, Lexington, Boston College High, Newton North, Brookline, Wachusett Regional, Taunton, Methuen, Shrewsbury, Newton South, Cambridge Rindge & Latin, Lawrence, Haverhill, New Bedford, Acton-Boxborough, Needham, Attleboro, Weymouth, Franklin, Andover, Saint John’s
Teams To Watch: Brookline, Lexington, Newton South, Cambridge Rindge & Latin, Boston College High
Outlook: There are several runners we expect to be contending for that No. 1 spot this weekend. Boston College High’s Chris Larnard has twice run 15:39 this season for 5K, finishing fifth in the Championship race at the Ocean State Invitational in late September and then running that time again to win the Catholic Conference Championships at Franklin Park on Oct. 24. Additionally, the talented senior clocked an impressive time of 12:33.5 for 2.5 miles at the Manhattan XC Invitational in NYC where he was sixth overall in the featured Eastern State Championship. There’s also Newton North’s Gabriel Grove, who won the Bay State Conference Championships less than two weeks ago with a PR of 15:47.80 at Wrentham. You also can’t forget about Brookline, an overwhelming favorite for the team title. The Warriors have several contenders and sub-16 guys among their gifted bunch, including Altarno Aschkenasy, Pablo Tejedor Meyers and Kailas Ciatto, to name a few. Lexington also has a couple of harriers that might be in that lead pack such as Joseph Ryan and Patrick Noonan. Ryan won the Middlesex League Championships and was fifth at the Catholic Memorial Invitational. Noonan, a freshman, was fourth at the Middlesex meet and seventh at Catholic Memorial.
As most already know, Brookline has a team that can not only prosper greatly at the state level, but might also make some noise at the regional and national level, too. Here’s where it starts. The Warriors have the potential to get all their scoring runners among the top 10-15 finishers and put this one away early. But the others teams behind them certainly can’t be taken lightly. Newton South, BC High, Cambridge Rindge & Latin and Lexington, rank 2,3,4 & 7 behind Brookline’s No. 1 status in the HOKA/BSR Power Rankings.
Day/Time: Saturday/12:30 p.m.
Teams: Boston Latin School, Braintree, Westford Academy, Durfee, Natick, Lincoln Sudbury, Xaverian Brothers, Arlington, Lynn English, Everett, Waltham, Diman Regional, Wellesley, Springfield Central, Peabody, Barnstable, Malden, Winchester, Chelmsford, Belmont, Concord Carlisle, North Quincy, Beverly, King Philip, North Andover, Bridgewater-Raynham, Plymouth North
Teams To Watch: Natick, Winchester, Westford Academy, Arlington, Wellesley
Outlook: We haven’t seen much of Westford Academy’s Paul Bergeron this season, who’s taking a well-calculated approach to excelling during the championship season and beyond. He’ll be on the line this weekend and we’re expecting he’ll be ready to take charge in preparation for next weekend’s Meet of Champions where he’ll be looking to defend his title. At last year’s meet, Bergeron and Framingham’s Sam Burgess engaged in one of the most exciting races in the history of the meet with Burgess and Bergeron both breaking the course record with times of 14:38.87 and 14:43.74, respectively. On Saturday, we could have another race that comes down to the last stretch between the Westford Academy senior and his teammate Jack Graffeo, who broke 15 minutes at the Twilight Invitational last month with a time of 14:57.66. In his limited times racing this season, Bergeron won the Ocean State Invitational at the beginning of the fall campaign with an SB of 15:06.4. It’s possible we could see both runners working together to solidify a 1-2 finish with no worries on the time on the digital clock. Even if they do go all-out, we’re not expecting times like we saw last year at Wrentham on a more difficult 5K at Gardner. Another runner we’re expecting to be battling with our front-runners is Jared Rife of Belmont, who was second at the Middlesex League Championships and ran 15:27.96 at Twilight. Among others, keep an eye on Wellesely’s Stephen Goehringer, too. The Redhawks senior was second at the Bay State Conference Championships where he was timed in 15:58.0
The fifth runner could prove crucial in the team competition where contending schools like Natick, Winchester, and Westford Academy all have solid runners up front, but may need a little help from the back end.
Day/Time: Saturday/2 p.m.
Teams: Algonquin, Marshfield, Worcester Tech, Woburn, Hopkinton, Medford, Central Catholic, Hingham, Westborough, Bay Path RVT, Reading Memorial, Milford, Sharon, North Attleboro, Bishop Feehan, Chicopee Comprehensive, Somerville, Milton, Oliver Ames, Mansfield, Billerica Memorial, Doherty, West Springfield, Westfield, Malden
Teams To Watch: Algonquin, Reading Memorial, Sharon, Hopkinton
Outlook: The race for the individual title could come down to close duel between Billerica’s Ryan Leslie and Brandan Thomas of Oliver Ames. Thomas, a runner-up in this race last year, ran a best of 15:41 at the Ocean State Invite at the start of the season. He also captured the recent Hockomock League Championship where he clocked 15:59.90 and was third in a competitive race at the Catholic Memorial Invitational where he was timed in 16:01.40. The talented senior has the proven ability to win this weekend based on what he’s done on the trails and the track. We can’t forget that he’s a 9:06 two-miler and has a best of 4:19 for the mile. Like Thomas, Leslie has similar times on the oval, which include a 9:09 for the deuce and 4:19 best for the mile. He was a winner at the Merrimack League Championships and also triumphant in his race at Catholic Memorial where he crossed the line in 16:05.80. Other harriers that could be near that lead pack are Algonquin’s Steve White and Sharon’s Nicholas Yacoub, who are both capable of low 16s.
Algonquin and Reading appear to be the front-runners in the team competition. Both schools have a good mix of talent and a low spread between their five varsity runners.