Bay State Athletes Could Fare Well At New Balance Nationals

A plethora of track & field athletes could make this weekend extra special in their own backyard.

For the second straight year, the nation’s best will be in Boston for the New Balance Nationals Indoor Championships at the TRACK at new balance. Who are some of the top MA competitors that have a chance at placing high and potentially securing spots on the podium.

While we know there’s plenty more, here’s a few athletes and/or relay teams that could shine in front of the hometown crowd.


PAUL BERGERON, Westford Academy (5,000m – Friday, Seeded Two Mile -Sunday)

The Stanford-bound senior did not compete in any MIAA or MSTCA events this season, making the decision to focus more on his training for the upcoming outdoor season and beyond. But even though he hasn’t raced against his fellow high school rivals at Reggie Lewis, he has proven he’s ready for this weekend, where he’s entered in the 5,000-meter run and the two mile. In the lone meet he has competed in this season, Bergeron smashed the state record for the 5K distance by clocking an impressive 14 minutes, 17.78 seconds at last month’s Boston University’s David Hemery Valentine Invitational. Bergeron, an 8:51 two-miler, is coming off an other successful cross-country season where he won his second straight Div. 1 title at the Meet of Champions and was seventh at the Foot Locker Nationals in early December.

ELLIE SHEA, Belmont (5,000m – Friday; Seeded Mile – Saturday; Seeded Two Mile – Sunday)

Here’s another runner we haven’t seen since the cross-country season, but one that always comes to shine on track & field’s biggest stage. The Emerging Elite senior is the defending two-mile and 5K champion, two events she’s entered in this weekend, along with the mile, where she placed third in 2023. Shea has run just a few races this winter. She placed third in the international mile at the New Balance Grand Prix with a time of 4:42.08. She also ran a season best of 9:26.13 for the 3K at the BU Sharon Colyear Season Opener on Dec. 2, a week before finishing 14th at the Foot Locker Nationals.

SARAH DUMAS, Framingham & GIULIANO LIGOR, North Reading (Pentathlon – Saturday)

Dumas twice earned All American in the Pentathlon last year, placing fourth at this meet last year with 3,275 points and second at the outdoor nationals where she complied 3,516 points. She’ll be looking to continue that trend this weekend with one of her biggest challenges coming from someone in her own backyard, North Reading’s Giuliano Ligor. A little more than a week ago, Dumas was third to Ligor and Billerica’s Nyrah Joseph at the MSTCA Indoor Pentathlon. Ligor, who scored 3,432 points to earn the title to Dumas’ 3,313 points, is entered in this weekend’s meet. Joseph is not among the entries.

FRAMINGHAM (1,600m Sprint Medley Relay – Saturday)

The Flyers ran the fastest time in the state this season when the foursome of Catelyn Last, Ava Lombardo, Abby Desmarais and Sasha Lamankina won the MSTCA Division 1 Relays with a time of 4:10.02. Less than two months later, a stronger quartet against the nation’s best could be in that low four-minute range this weekend.

MARCUS REILLY, Northbridge(Seeded Mile – Saturday, Seeded 800m – Sunday)

The Rams’ senior has been a national presence ever since his freshman year. He’s a two-time All American, placing third in the mile at the New Balance Nationals last June and second in the 800m in 2023. This weekend, Reilly will be hoping to earn his first All American on the indoor surface and has a good chance to do it twice in his specialities. This past weekend, the Michigan-bound senior got a great confidence-booster heading into this meet when he raced to an all-time best of 4:05.48 at the Trial Of Miles, held at The Armory in NYC. In mid February, he captured the 600m at the USATF New England Indoor Championships where he was timed in a best of 1:21.49. For the 800m, Reilly has an all-time best of 1:50.17, which he did during the outdoor season as a sophomore in 2022. He’s ready for a prime showing in his home state.

JACK GRAFFEO, Westford Academy & DEVIN MOREAU, Greater Lowell Tech (5,000m – Saturday)

Last year at New Balance, we had three runners among the top 10 with Catholic Memorial alum Christoper Sullivan leading the way with a seventh-place finish and time of 14:31.30. We could have an equally impressive showing by the Bay State in this event with Graffeo and Moreau joining Bergeron on the starting line Saturday night. Like their counterpart, the two runners have not competed in any MIAA or MSTCA events this season. Moreau was our Div. 3A champion during the cross-country season and was a runner-up at the Meet of Champions. Graffeo was the Div. 1B runner-up and was third at the MOC. He also qualified for the Foot Locker Nationals by placing eighth at the Northeast Regionals at Franklin Park with a PR of 15:10.8. Last year in this event, 18 runners broke 15 minutes. Expect a similar scenario this weekend.

BROOKLINE (4x800m – Sunday)

The Warriors are among the 12 teams in the seeded section of this race. The quartet of Altamo Aschke, Hunter Bailey, Kailas Ciatto and Cameron Walter were our MOC winners and this past weekend finished second at the New England’s with an impressive 7:52.27 clocking, their first time under the eight-minute barrier. That time at last year’s meet would have placed seventh overall. A top-six All-American finish is possible by this talented squad.

XAVARIAN BROTHERS (4x200m – Saturday prelims, Sunday finals)

Last Saturday the foursome of Jordan Wilson, Charlie Comella, Henry Hasselbeck and Mitchell Kisgen electrified the crowd inside Reggie Lewis with their thrilling victory at the New England Championships where they combined for a meet record of 1:28.90. Could we see some more magic from the Hawks this weekend?


Share Your Thoughts