Northeast Invitational, Day 3: Three Golds For Claflin

With what she considers a slow start to her indoor campaign, defending state 55-meter champion Sarah Claflin got just what she needed on Sunday with the season at its midway point.

Facing most of the sprinters that could very well be in the finals of the Meet of Champions on Feb. 24, the Pembroke senior captured top honors in her speciality on the final day of the Northeast Invitational at Reggie Lewis. Claflin blazed to a season best and state No. 1 of 7.15 seconds, just four hundredths of a second ahead of Norton’s Jillian Strayner.

The field saw five go under the Pembroke standout’s previous SB of 7.33 from her seventh-place finish at last month’s Boston Holiday Challenge. Finishing third was Framingham’s Abby Desmarais (7.23). She was followed by Methuen’s Lauren Quarm (fourth, 7.30) and Wellesley’s Abby Comella (fifth, 7.32)

“It was a good race, a good push out of the blocks, a smooth ending,” Claflin said. “It was what I was hoping for in the race. I thought I executed it well.”

The speedy senior indicated it was the competition on the line that pushed her to the victory. In addition to defending her title, she has a lofty goal in her final year on the indoor surface.

“I want to break seven seconds,” said Claflin, who owns a PR of 7.12 from last year’s MOC. “(I) got to get a little stronger get a little faster. I think with my season plan, I’ll hit that be the end of the season.

Claflin finished with three gold medals for the day. She also won the 200m (25.66) and the long jump (17 feet, 5 inches). In both events, Comella was second. The Red Raider junior clocked 25.71 in the 200m and leaped 17-3.5 in the long jump.

YouTube player

Wellesley’s Christopher Brooks raced to the fastest time in the state in the boys’ 55m dash. Brooks crossed the line 6.42. Placing second was Methuen’s Joshua Kwakye with a best of 6.62. Ajani Muzasadita of North Andover was third at 6.64.

In a race that proved too close for comfort, Newton North’s Juan Talisayon captured the boys’ 400m with a PR of 50.15. Six in the race dipped under 51 seconds. In his heat, Talisayon held off Nauset Regionals’ Damian Bebber (second, 50.49) and Ayer Shirley’s Arthur Ribeiro (third, 50.73). Competing in different heats, Methuen’s Juan Polanco (fourth, 50.92), Revere’s Joso Victor Cunha (50.97) and Norwell’s Noah Mulligan (sixth, 50.99) took the next three spots.

Dennis Yarmouth junior Breanna Braham won a close one in the girls’ 400m where she was timed in a best of 57.92. Coming on strong the final straightaway, Braham was able to inch past eventual runner-up Rahma Giwa of Wachusett Regional, who crossed the line in 57.95.

“My strategy was to blast out the first 200m. I didn’t really do my best with that so I had to maintain my position behind (Giwa),” she said. “At the last 50 meters, I gave it my all at the end.”

Braham, who specializes in the 300m, competed in a sport this past fall that was a little out of her comfort zone. She did feel it’s helped her this winter.

“I did cross country, which I think is the best thing I could do to give me that stamina,” she said. “It gave me a lot of confidence coming into the indoor season. It was hard, I can’t lie. I gave it my all knowing it’s going to have a good impact at the end.”

The D-Y runner currently ranks No. 22 in the state for the 300m with a time of 42.40 from a dual meet at the beginning of the month. Braham believes she has the ability to improve on that time significantly this season.

“Honestly, it’s all in the start,” she said. “I feel like I can maintain. I have a good finish. I’m just a little slow coming out.”

Like Claflin, Braham has high expectations come championship time, which includes prospering at the MOC.

“I really want to get down in that 40 (second) range, maybe 39 (seconds),” she said. “(A state title is) what I’m training for.”

YouTube player

New Hampshire’s Matthew Giardina was a runaway victor in the two mile. The Bishop Guertin junior clocked a winning 9:19.45 to take the title by more than 70m. Lowell’s Jack Courtney was second at 9:31.0. Joanna Kenney of North Shore (NY) was first in the girls’ race with a time of 11:12.43. Nashoba’s Caroline Collins (second, 11:16.21) and Westfield’s Megan Moran (third, 11:16.79) claimed the next two positions.

Weston’s Ben Tavares edged Wachusett’s Dylan Brenn in the 800m with an all-time best and state-leading 1:56.04. Brenn was timed in 1:56.10. Four runners broke 2:20 in the girls’ race with Framingham’s Sasha Lamakina earning the individual crown in 2:18.54. Taking the next three spots were North Quincy’s Aluna Coogan-Coyne (second, 2:18.91). Brookline’s Audrey Seeger (third, 2:19.17) and Westford Academy’s Abby Hennessey (fourth, 2:19.59).



Share Your Thoughts