Throughout the week, Bay State Running will take a quick look at some of our top teams and individuals that will be competing at this weekend’s divisional state championships. Here we feature the Division 1A, 1B and 1C girls’ races that will take place at the Gardner Municipal Golf Course.
Ed. note: We had a few inaccuracies in our previous article due to teams being listed in the wrong divisions. Here’s the updated version.
At Gardner Municpal Golf Course
Day/Time: Saturday/11: 45 a.m.
Teams: Lowell, Framingham, Lexington, 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, Boston Latin School, Braintree, Westford Academy, Durfee, Natick
Teams To Watch: Acton Boxbprough, Weymouth, Cambridge Rindge & Latin
Outlook: We have a race here! Wow, do we have a race! Most of the runners you could see battling for the top spots next week at the Meet of Championships are expected to answer the gun on Saturday. Nearly a dozen harriers have broken 19 minutes for the 5K distance in this field, and if things work out as planned for most of them, we could have quite the battle during that long uphill stretch to the finish line. Brookline’s Lucia Werner holds the top time among the bunch with a best of 17 minutes, 55.15 seconds from her victory at the Frank Kelley Invitational in mid September. She’ll be match up against runners like Greta Hammer of Needham and Weymouth’s Gracie Richard, who finished ahead of the Warrior senior at the Bay State Conference Championships less than two weeks ago. All three broke 19 minutes in that race with Hammer winning with a time of 18:16.60, Richard taking second (18:39) and Werner settling for third (18:55.40. Another runner that can’t be ignored is defending Div. 1 titlist Aoife Shovlin of Cambridge Rindge & Latin, who captured the Dual Valley Conference title a few weeks ago and went sub-15 for 2.5 miles at the Manhattan College Invitational in mid October. Acton Boxborough’s Paige McInerney, a runner-up at the Frank Mooney Invitational this past weekend with a best of 18:19.10, is another runner that could pose a threat as well as host of others with the ability to push up front.. Exactly who should be listed as a favorite? If we had to pick one, it would have to be Hammer, who, again, bested Richard and Werner at BSC and also won the Manchester (NH) Invitational with an impressive 18:28.60 at Derryfield Park, a course that might be slightly more difficult than Gardner. This has potential to be one of the races of the day, if not THE race of the day! They’re all here!
As for teams, the competition should be tight there, too. The three leading contenders appear to be Acton Boxborough, Weymouth and Cambridge Rindge & Latin. Acton-Boxborough seems to have the edge with the trio of McInerney, Elizabeth Latham (19:01.1 SB) and Catherine Callahan (19:08.9 SB) leading the way. But don’t count out Weymouth and CR&L, who also have solid teams up front. The key in this matchup could come from those crucial four and five runners.
Day/Time: Saturday/1:15 p.m.
Teams: Lincoln Sudbury, 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, Algonquin, Marshfield, Worcester Tech, Woburn
Teams To Watch: Arlington, Marshfield, North Andover
Outlook: The favorite in this race is Barnstable junior Ava Bullock, who was eighth last year and won the title as a ninth-grader in 2021. Bullock ran a best of 18:37.23 at the Twilight Invitational and is less than two weeks removed from taking individual honors at the Cape & Island Conference Championships where she was timed in 19:01.94. There’s no doubt it won’t be easy for Bullock to pull off her second win in the last three years. Marshfield’s Eleanor Angeles-Whitfield appears to be a strong contender. She copped the Patriot League Championship on Oct. 28 where she ran 18:28 at Hingham. She was sixth at the Catholic Memorial Invitational where she was timed in 19:14.60 on a tough Franklin Park course.
As for teams, who is battling for second? Arlington is the overwhelming favorite to walk away with the Championship banner. Pack running is what wins meets like these and that’s where the Spy Ponders simply excel. based on times run this season, Arlington’s gap between its one and five is less than 20 seconds. The Spy Ponders should have all their scoring runners under 20 minutes on Saturday. At the Middlesex League Championships, a meet the Spy Ponders scored just 21 points to beat a good Lexington squad by 30 points, the gap was just 17.35 seconds with teammate Evie Lauzon, Elise Kempf, Sophia Francis and Safiya Alt Ali going 2-3-4-5 with times between 18:46.40 and 18:57.09 on the fast 5K. Marshfield, North Andover, Barnstable and Wellesley are teams capable to fighting for those other top spots in what we feel will be a runaway victory for Arlington.
Day/Time: Saturday/2:45 p.m.
Teams: 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, Notre Dame Academy – Hingham
Teams to Watch: Oliver Ames, Central Catholic, Hopkinton, North Attleboro
Outlook: There seems to be at least three runners in this race that are all capable of winning on Saturday. That trio is Westfield’s Megan Moran, Oliver Ames’ Katie Sobieraj and Marshfield’s Eleanor Angeles-Whitfield. Moran appears to be peaking at just the right time. Under miserable rainy and slippery conditions at the Dick Atkinson Invitational on Oct. 21, the determined junior took the top prize in 19:54.70. Less than a week later, she was first across the line at the WMass X-C Championships. This past Saturday, she won the Large School senior race at the Frank Kelley Invitational where she beat a slew of talented Acton-Boxborough runners by clocking the second fastest time of the day with her 18:09.8 effort. Sobieraj was consistently under 19 minutes this season with victories at the Catholic Memorial Invitational (18:52) and the Hockomock League Championships (18:27.70 SB). Sobieraj was eighth in this race last year and the following week was tenth at the Meet of Champions. She’s capable on improving on both those positions significantly, beginning with a possible victory this weekend. Other top runners expected to be lacing up their racing shoes are Hopkinton’s Elyse Srodawa, Bishop Feehan’s Lauren Augustyn and Oliver Ames teammates Annie Reilly, Braelyn Graham and Hannah Dupill.
Is anyone beating Oliver Ames? As the saying goes, anything is possible. But if the Tigers are at their best this weekend, or even slightly off, it will take a lot to knock them off. Oliver Ames has the potential to get all their five scoring runners in the top 10-15 placements. They’re that good. Behind Sobieraj, are Graham, Dupill, Reilly, who all went sub-19 at the Twilight Invitational with times in the mid-to-high 18:40 range. The threesome also went 3-5-6 at the Hockmock League Championships at Wrentham where they scored a low 22 points and averaged 19:10! Central Catholic, Hopkinton and North Attleboro are among teams that could take the three placements.