Competing in the 600-meter run at Sunday’s MSTCA Speed Classic, Natick High teammates Nicholas Bianchi, John Bianchi and Andy Marotta were a little out of their comfort zone. For the Bianchi brothers, they’re accustomed to longer races, such as the mile where both own bests in the low-to-mid 4:20 range. Marotta is primarily a 300m and 400m runner with a sub 52-second effort to his credit for the latter.
While Red Hawks’ trio weren’t necessarily in their element inside the the Reggie Lewis Center, they were front and center at the finish by sweeping the top three position in the Large School meet. Nicholas Bianchi, a senior, won with a time of 1:26.99. He finished just ahead of his sophomore sibling, who was timed in 1:27.21. Marotta, another senior, secured third at 1:27.26.
Marotta admitted a 1-2-3 finish was one of the goals before this weekend’s competition.
“We were looking at the heat sheets online and we’re like, ‘Alright, let’s go for a sweep,'” he said.
Brockton’s Seamus Caniff (11th, 1:30.24) did the early pace-setting where he led the pack through a 56-second split at the 400m mark. With Nicholas Bianchi leading the charge, the Red Hawks took over with 100m remaining.
When he made his move, the talented senior had his eyes on the prize.
“I just wanted to make sure I finished all the way through the line,” he said. “It’s such a fast race. I didn’t know who was coming. You never really know. I just wanted to make sure I maintained a kick the last 100 (meters) and just keep it up.”
In the girls’ 600m, Brookline junior Anna Leschley came out on top. Running in the unseeded section, she edged North Quincy’s Maddy McGillicuddy at the line where she clocked a PR of 1:39.99. McGillicuddy was timed in 1:40.13 for second.
Wellesley junior Annie Comella was a double winner in the meet, which featured just eight events. Comella held off Worcester Tech’s Ohemaa Ofosu in the 55-meter dash where she clocked a strong, early-season time of 7.48 to Ofosu’s 7.49 effort. The Red Raiders standout also captured the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 9 inches.
Comella was content with her time in the short sprint. She owns a best of 7.28 from her second-place finish at the All State Meet (now Meet of Champions) as a freshman in 2022.
“It was my first one (this year) so I was definitely happy I got under 7.5,” said Comella, who was unable to compete at last year’s Meet of Champions due to a sickness. “I have some stuff to work on like my starts and stuff, but once I get that done, I am looking for improve.”
In the long jump, she was just 1.5 inches ahead of runner-up Alice Brambati of Hopkinton.
“I was definitely hoping for better but I know that as the season goes on I’m just going to make my way up,” said Comella, who has an indoor PR of 18-7.5. Her all-time best of 19-3 from last spring. “I am definitely looking to PR this season and take it to the State Meet.”
Andover’s Jason DeJesus blazed to the boys’ 55m title with a PR of 6.55. Ajani Muzasadila of North Andover was second in 6.61.
Brockton’s Wolf Lentz Victor (36.0) and Central Catholic’s Anya Neira (41.77) were te respective winners in the boys’ and girls’ 300m races.
Victor also ran a leg on his team’s winning relay squad, which was timed in 1:33.24. The remaining quartet consisted of Lucas Andrade, Jarred Mighty and Brandon Torres.
Andrade won the 55m hurdles where he was clocked in a PR of 7.67, nearly a half second ahead of teammate Nazier Blue-Gomes (second, 8.09).
“What worked for me was my acceleration during the race,” Andrade said. “But the only real thing that helped me more was my start. I always do good running over the hurdles. Today was a really good day for me.”