Top Five Storylines At MIAA Meet Of Champions – Girls

Where do we start? Where do we end? With 19 events and a whole lot of talent, it’s not easy. On Thursday and Saturday at Fitchburg State University, our state’s best will provide the entertainment for all us track & field enthusiasts at the MIAA Meet of Champions. Records will be broken and we’re sure a few hearts, too. Unfortunately, that often comes with the territory. Taking a look through the entry list, we found a host of scenarios that could occur at the two-day meet.

While we know there’s plenty more, here’s our top five storylines for the girls’ meet.



Oregon, Here We Come?

When we about Oregon, at least for track & field enthusiasts, one of the first things that comes to mind is historic Hayward Field. It’s home to the University of Oregon and home to some of the most memorable performances in the history of our great sport on a collegiate and professional level. The legendary Steve Prefontaine? Does that ring a bell? For high-schoolers, Hayward Field is also home to the Nike Outdoor Nationals, one of three national championship meets this spring. But for Lincoln-Sudbury’s Gabrielle “Gabby” Pierre, we’re not talking Nike. We’re actually talking about the U. S. Olympic Trials from June 21-28 in Eugene. That’s what Pierre made clear this past weekend is a reality for her at the Division 1 State Championships. The gifted junior not only won the triple jump but simply destroyed the state record with a winning leap and nation No. 2 of 43-feet even. The automatic qualifier for the Trials in this event is 13.50 meters or 43-3.5. Not a difficult math problem to solve here. Yes, Pierre is just 3.5 inches from punching her ticket out west for one of the biggest meets of the year, save for the Olympics in Paris. Could she make some history at Thursday’s event? We also can’t forget the long jump, an event she’ll compete on Saturday. At D1’s, Pierre became are only leaper to go 19-plus this season with a best of 19-2.


Quick n’ Difficult (To Pick)

The quickest of our athletes could certainly generate some excitement this weekend. The question is who will be the quickest of them all? Take your pick! It’s not easy. In our three shortest events on the track, there’s really no clear-cut favorite. The 100-meter dash features two runners that have broken 12 seconds – defending champion Sarah Claflin of Pembroke (11.82 seconds) and Methuen sophomore Lauren Quarm (11.97), our 55m indoor titlist. Behind them, are a few more that can make an impact, such as Oliver Ames’ Grace Okocha (12.13), Sharon’s Nina Kyei-Aboagye (12.16), Chicopee’s Sophia Guzman (12.17), and Mansfield’s Chloe Guthrie (12.18). In the 200m Claflin leads a field that includes four speedsters that have broken 25 seconds. Claflin holds the No. 1 spot with a best of 24.39. She’s followed by Kyei-Aboagye (24.53), Amherst-Pelham’s Moriah Luetjen (24.80) and Guthrie (24.99). Separated by less than a half second, our top four seeds in the 400m have all dipped under 56 seconds with Luetjen (55.51), North Reading’s Giuliana Ligor (55.79), Apponquet’s Morgan Hayward (55.82) and Whitinsville Christian’s Avery Glidden (55.98) ready to answer the gun.


Keeping Their Distance? Not Really

Massachusetts has always had a history of producing great middle- and long-distance runners over the years. This year is no different. In the 800m, mile and two mile, we have some races. Some events that could come down to the last stretch. For the 800m, Westford Academy’s Abigail Hennessey may be a cut above the rest. The WA sophomore is the top seed with a best of 2:10.17, more than three seconds ahead of her closest rival. On the all-time list, Hennessey’s effort ranks No. 13 overall. The 1979 state record of 2:04.54 by Cambridge Rindge & Latin alum Darlene Beckford is obviously out of reach. But remember, Hennessey is only a tenth-grader. She still has time. How about a sub 2:10 on Thursday? That’s certainly a possibility and could move her into the top 10 on the list. The field also includes Taunton’s Emersyn DePonte (2:13.34) and the sophomore duo of Newton South’s Emily Frawley (2:13.63) and Framingham’s Sasha Lamakina (2:14.14). The mile features three that have broken five minutes this season with Hennessey (4:53.23), Wellesley’s Charlotte Tuxbury (4:53.38) and Belmont’s Dana Lehr, whose seed is 4:56.23, but has a PR of 4:54.64 from her win at the BSR Elite Scholastic Mile on May 3. This is a race that has the potential to go under 4:50 with this talent trio on the line. In the two mile, we have five that have dipped under 11 minutes and a few more on the cusp of doing the same. Cambridge Rindge & Latin’s Aoife Shovlin is the No. 1 seed with a 10:47.86 best. Shovlin, who was a Foot Locker finalist an the individual winner in the Div. 1 race at the divisional states and Meet of Champions, has a best of 10:40.01 from 2023. She’s faced against Nashoba’s Caroline Collins, who always comes to race and has a best of 10:51.97. There’s also Needham’s Greta Hammer (10:55.45), Westford Academy’s Emily Wedlake (10:57.20) and Lehr (10:58.22), who could all be in the lead pack during the late stages of the race.


We’ll Be There In A Minute (Or Less?)

Not sure we’ve ever had a field quite like this one for this event. On the line are two hurdlers that rank among the top 10 all-time in MA. Three more that are scheduled to compete in Thursday’s race rank in the top 20. The state record is 59.52 by. former Medfield great Alex Stanton in 2011. Lexington’s Aleia Gisolfi-McCready is No. 2 with her best of 59.90 from three years ago. With a field like this, it’s not too far-fetched to think that someone could challenge the minute barrier or at least come close. The two we feel could make that a reality are our top two seeds – North Reading’s Ligor and Franklin’s Sarah Dumas, who come in with bests of 1:01.02 and 1:01.88, respectively. Both have proved in their careers that they perform at their best in meets like this weekend. This one will no doubt come down to the final hurdles. Occupying the next three seeds are Whitinsville’s Glidden (1:02.45), Weston’s Sloan Hinton (1:02.59) and Woburn sophomore Nicole Gangi (1:02.72), who all have a chance to pull off an upset.


It’s A Long-Shot, But…

Prior to this past weekend, the state record of 46-11 was never really a thought. It still might be a little out of reach on Saturday, but in the back of our minds, there’s a longshot it could be challenged. What’s made us believe that there’s a slim possibility it could happen is what Newton North’s Skye Petrie-Cameron did at the Division 1 Championships. The Tigers’ outstanding shot-putter had the throw of a lifetime at Westfield State University, site of this past weekend’s meet. Petrie Cameron unleashed the metal ball a nearly three-foot best of 45-2. Could she add two more feet onto that throw? That’s a long way and the odds are low. But you know she got boost of confidence after that performance and perhaps discovered something new that enabled her to achieve such huge PR. A state record? Maybe? Maybe not? Over the years covering this great sport, we have seen crazier things happen.

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