We’re ready for another exciting indoor track & field season. To get you pumped up for the winter campaign, Bay State Running will preview some of the top athletes that we expect will make an impact over the next few months.
When the Meet of Champions roll around on Feb. 24, be prepared for a plethora of new faces occupying that No. 1 spot on the podium. At last year’s meet, seniors were prevalent in the winners’ circle. Only one returning champion is coming back this season on the boys’ side and two for the girls. But overall, as always, the talent is through the roof this year. We believe several of our Bay Staters will not only prosper at the state level, but regionally and nationally, too.
Here we preview with the boys’ sprints and hurdles, which includes the 55-meter dash, 300m and the 55m high hurdles.
Graduation wiped away six of our top eight finishers from last year’s State Meet. But coming back is the runner-up from the championship meet, Christopher Brooks of Wellesley. The Red Raiders standout clocked his all-time best of 6.46 seconds at the MOC. He was second to Catholic Memorial’s Eric Perkins, another key returnee, a week earlier at the Division 2 Championship. Perkins, who blazed to a PR of 6.52 at that meet, would grab the eighth spot on the podium at MOC. Brooks is the slight favorite in this event. We’re basing that on not only his indoor season, but how he did once the competition switched outdoors. Brooks was one of our most dominant speedsters during the spring in the 100m and 200m. He concluded the year by winning the 200m and taking second in the 100m at the MOC. In the former, he raced to a PR of 21.42. He had a best of 10.61 for the 100m with his victory at the Div. 2 meet. Besides Brooks and Perkins, other top sprinters this season are Littleton’s Tyler Castillo, Winchester’s Daniel Killian, Acton-Boxborough’s Leonid Buriak, Newton North’s Donnell Harvey and Bridgewater Raynham’s Kauan Bento, to name a few. Showing much improvement from last year, and certainly a factor, is Andover’s Jason DeJesus, the recent winner at the Speed Classic – Small School meet where he broke the tape in a PR of 6.55, a best by a quarter of a second.
The clear-cut favorite in this event is Haverhill’s Natanael Vigo Catala. The Hillies’ senior is the defending champion with an all-time best of 34.37 from his win at the Meet of Champions. He broke 35 seconds four times last winter and kicked off this season by doing it again with his win at the Winter Festival Large School meet on Dec. 9 where he was timed in 34.95. The Haverhill standout, who had a best of 47.82 for the 400m during the outdoor season, will be tough to beat on the banked oval of the Reggie Lewis Center. But that doesn’t mean the competition is soft behind him. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Killian and Taunton’s Dmitrius Shearrion were both sub-35 runners last year with Killian posting a best of 34.82 and Shearrion clocking a PR of 34.84. Shearrion was fourth at the MOC at 35.06. Xaverian Brothers’ Mitchell Kisgen, Brookline’s Andrew Bamberg are a few others that could make an impact with times under 36 seconds to their credit from last year. Based on early results this season, Littleton’s Nico Begic, Medford’s JT Mastrocola and Brockton’s Wolf Lentz Victor, who have all done 36.0 or faster this winter, might be runners to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
Seniors dominated this event at the Meet of Champions in 2023 by securing the top seven placements. Southeastern Voke’s Joseph Cook was the lone non-senior, finishing eighth as a tenth-grader with a time of 8.03. He ran a PR of 7.80 in the prelims, which is the top time among our returnees from 2023. Several other hurdlers that went under eight seconds last year are also coming back, including Nauset Regional’s Aidan Brown (7.90), Acton-Boxborough’s Christopher Osselmann-Chai (7.91), Greater New Bedford’s Owen Viera (7.94), and Old Rochester’s Wesner Archelus (7.97). Viera has already improved on his time this year with a PR and state-leading 7.65 from the Winter Festival Small School meet on Dec. 10. This past weekend, Brockton’s Lucas Andrade put his name among the contenders by winning the Speed Classic Large School meet on Sunday with a huge PR of 7.67. With the season just beginning, and so many top hurdlers gone from last year, it’s tough to predict the elite among the bunch. With a plethora of talent, right now it’s up in the air.