U.S. Olympic Team Trials Features Several Bay Staters

It has been really mind-blogging lately how much talent has been produced in the state over the years from our high school track & field stars, particularly the last decade. We’ve had a multitude of athletes excel as collegians and some even further at the professional level. It’s a testament to not only their hard work and commitment, but the quality of guidance they’ve been given by their coaches. Kudos to all for a job well done.

And additional praise to the athletes who were about to recognize with MA roots at this week’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Ore., a 10-day competition that starts on Friday and concludes on Sunday, June 30 at the famed Hayward Field.

(Above Photo by Sterling Vernon @RhodeAndTrack)


Here’s our list…

Heather MacLean, 1,500m (5/27, 8:23 p.m.)

The Peabody alum and UMass-Lowell grad is one of our country’s finest 1,500m runners and owner of an all-time best of 3:58.76 from 2022. This will be MacLean’s second straight appearance at the Trials and no doubt she’ll be hoping to match (or exceed) what she did in her first. At the last Trials in 2021, MacLean earned a spot on the U.S. team by placing third overall with a time of 4:02.09. She was fifth in her heat at the Tokyo Olympics where she ran 4:02.40. MacLean has a season best of 4:02.49 from her victory at the USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix on May 18. In her final tune-up before the Trials on June 8, the New Balance-sponsored runner chose her home soil, capturing the 800m at the Adrian Martinez Classic at Emerson Field in Concord with a PR of 1:58.77.


Gabby Thomas, 200m (6/27, 8:51 p.m.)

The Northampton product and Harvard University graduate has done our state proud in the short sprints throughout her career, one that included a bronze medal in the 200m and a silver medal as part of the 4x100m squad at the Games in 2021. As a collegian, Thomas won 22 conference titles while at Harvard in six different events. She established Ivy League records in the indoor 60m dash and the 100m and 200m during the outdoor season. The 28-year-old Thomas, who owns an all-time best of 21.60 for the half-lapper, will be looking to make Team USA for the third straight time. She also represented the Red, White & Blue at the London Games before Tokyo. Thomas, who runs for New Balance, has a season best of 22.06 from her second-place finish at the Texas Relays in Austin where she now resides.


Thomas Ratcliffe 5,000m (6/27,11:03 p.m.)

The former Concord-Carlisle and Stanford University star has enjoyed a successful post-collegiate career. The 26-year-old Ratcliffe, who competes for the Nike Bowerman TC, ran his best for the 5K this year, clocking 13:14.64 at BU on Feb. 16. Ratcliffe also had a PR of 8:16.55 for two miles in 2024 and is the owner of a 3:54.29 best for the mile, set last year.


Makayla Paige, 800m (Friday, 7:17 p.m.)

The University of North Carolina junior is just a few years removed from a stellar high school career at Tewksbury where she earned multiple all-state honors, including the 600m and 800m where she was a two-time champion at the All-State Meet (now the Meet of Champions). Paige still holds the 600m state record with a best of 1:29.70 from 2020. Right now, she’s enjoying her best year at UNC. Paige qualified for the Trials by placing second at the Wake Forest Invitational on April 19 with a best of 2:00.97. Just a week earlier, she ran her previous best of 2:01.92 at the Duke Invitational. Paige is in Heat 2 on Friday, a heat that features none other than Olympic champion Athing Mu.


AJ Ernst 1,500m (Friday, 8:22 p.m.)

After starring at Marblehead, Ernst had a successful collegiate career at the University of Virginia and Providence College. He earned his qualifier for the Trials with a PR of 3:52.81 at Boston University’s Bruce Lehane Scarlet and White Invitational on Feb. 3.


Sam Welsh, Discus (6/27, 9:45 p.m.)

The 24-year-old Concord Academy alum, who excelled at Harvard and Rice University, earned a spot at the Trials two months ago when he unleashed a throw of 61.69 meters (205.84 feet) at the 44 Farms Team Invitational in College Station, TX.


Kate Mitchell, 800m (Friday, 7:17 p.m.)

The former Lynnfield star graduated from Boston College where she’s a holder of five school records (indoor 800m, 1,000m and 4x400m and outdoor 800m and 1,500m). Mitchell captured the 800m at the ACC Championship meet in the winter of 2023 where she was also second in the mile. The 24-year-old runner, who competes for New Balance Boston, has been a model of consistency in the 800m. Mitchell has run 2:03 or faster seven times since winning her ACC title with a best of 2:01.13 from the recent Adrian Martinez Classic.



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