Day 1, Meet Of Champions: Bergeron, Ligor Steal The Show

With the state’s best going head-to-head on Saturday, there’s no doubt the final day is going to be memorable at the MIAA Meet of Champions.

But for it to top what happened on Day 1 Thursday night, it’s going to take a lot.

An awful lot.

There’s not many days, if any, that can compare to what transpired at Fitchburg State University during three-plus hours of some of the best track & field the state has ever witnessed in one epic night.

{PHOTOS by Byron Flagg)

And speaking of epic, there couldn’t have been anything more epic than the boys’ two mile run where Westford Academy’s Paul Bergeron pulled away from a ridiculously talented field late in the race to break the meet and state record with nation-leading and absolutely astonishing time of 8 minutes, 43.66 seconds! Bergeron was followed across the line by junior teammate Jack Graffeo in a PR of 8:52.76. Nashoba Regional’s Adam Balewicz was third at 8:56.95. In all, eight went under 9:08 and a dozen were under 9:20, including four runners from Boston College High.

After running with a lead pack that included Graffeo. Balewicz and a few more, Bergeron broke from his rivals in the closing laps to turn his sure victory into a record-breaking effort, eclipsing the one-year-old mark of 8:44.54 by St. John’s Prep’s Nathan Lopez from the New Balance Nationals.

Bergeron ran his last mile in 4:14.

“I threw the watch off before the race so I didn’t know where I was at,” he admitted. “I knew we were kind of on. I felt pretty good. I decided I wanted a little more than a win and came through at 7:40, 7:41 (for 3,200m) and said I’m just going to go. I’m going to give it everything I have because this could be history.”

It certainly was, and so was the performance of North Reading’s Giuliano Ligor in the 400m hurdles. The Hornets’ junior simply annihilated her previous best with a new state mark and nation No. 5 of 58.97. Her time broke the 2011 record of 59.52 by Alexandra Stanton of Medfield and was two seconds under her best prior to the start.

“I was really anxious for this race,” Ligor said. “The goal, like I said at the beginning of the (season), was to break that state record. I got angry on the track and got more than that. I am super happy.”

Top performances were endless on what turned out to be a perfect night for racing with sunny skies and a slightly cool temperature.

In the girls’ 200m dash, Sharon sophomore Nina Kyei-Aboagye blazed to a PR of 23.97 to beat top-seed Sarah Claflin. The Pembroke senior grabbed the silver in 24.47. For the boys, Taunton’s Dmitrius Shearrion led seven under 22 seconds with an all-time best of 21.45.

Underclassmen ruled the girls’ 800m with Westford Academy sophomore Abby Hennessey living up to her favorite status by taking the top prize in 2:11.15. She was followed by tenth-graders, Sasha Lamakina of Framingham (second, 2:12.94) and Emily Frawley of Newton South (third, 2:12.98). Wellesley teammates Charlotte Tuxbury (fourth, 2:14.77) and sophomore Kayla Bohlin (fifth, 2:14.77) took the next two spots.

Wachusett’s Dylan Breen claimed the boys’ 800m, coming on strong down the final stretch to edge Ludlow’s Logan Walsh with a time of 1:54.34. Walsh was timed in 1:54.81 for second.

Fresh off her state and New England triple jump record at last week’s Division 1 Championships, Lincoln Sudbury’s Gabby Pierre captured her specialty with a leap of 40-10. Pierre won by nearly three feet.

The L-S junior had an all-time best of 43-0 from the divisionals, an effort that ranks No. 2 in the country and is just 3.5 inches from the U.S. Olympic Trials standard. It’s also a performance that qualified her for the USATF U20 Championships in Eugene, OR, which will be held in the afternoon of the first two days of the Nike Outdoor Nationals, held June 12-15.

Other winners in the meet included Brockton’s Jarred Mighty in the boys’ 400m hurdles (54.87), Peabody’s Alex Jackson in the boys’ discus (173-6), Natick;s Matthew Acquah in the boys’ triple jump (47-4.5), Belmont’s Dana Lehr in the girls’ two mile (10:36.51), Walpole’s Sophia Axelrod in the girls’ discus (134-7) and Arlington’s Erin Moran in the girls’ pole vault (11-6).

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ABOVE PHOTO: Notre Dame Academy’s Madelyn Wilson en route to a 12:46.39 in the Wheelchair 2M. Wilson also posted a solid time of 3:01.46 for 800m.



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