BSR Scribbles: Gatorade POY Honors For Ligor & Bergeron

We have some catching up to do.

Since the three national championship meets that were held in mid June, a lot has happened on the track & field scene with our MA high school athletes, both present and past.

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Let’s begin with the Gatorade Player Of The Year for boys and girls, which was announced just recently. While there were many worthy candidates this year in the state, we certainly can’t argue with the selection committee’s choices.

Taking the honor for the girls was Giuliano Ligor. North Reading’s talented junior captured the 400-meter hurdles and 400m dash at the Meet of Champions (MOC). In the hurdles, Ligor blazed to the eighth fastest time in the country with a state record of 58.97 seconds. She also was at her best without hurdles with a PR of 55.62 in the flat-out 400m. Demonstrating her versatility, Ligor also achieved bests in the 100m (12.24), 200m (25.18) and the 800m (2:18.85) this spring. Among some of the highlights during the indoor season was a victory in the 600m (PR, 1:34.88) at the MOC and a fifth-place finish in the pentathlon (3,432 points) at the New Balance Nationals.

According to a press release from Gatorade, Ligor maintains a 3.88 GPA in the classroom. She’s also a volunteer for US Youth Soccer’s TopSoccer program, a community-based training and team placement program for young athletes with physical or intellectual challenges. In addition, Ligor donates her time as a youth track & field coach and camp counselor.

For the boys, Westford Academy’s Paul Bergeron received the honor. Bergeron is one of our state’s most prolific distance runners, something he proved in a big way this year. The Stanford-bound senior won the mile and two mile at the MOC last month, establishing a then-state record of 8:43.86 for the deuce and a PR of 4:07.98 for the shorter race. Bergeron capped of his high school career by breaking his own state mark in the two mile at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle where he was fifth overall in 8:39.37. He also anchored the Ghosts to a fifth-place finish at the New Balance Nationals where the quartet was timed in a state record and nation No. 7 of 9:57.63. His 2M effort at Brooks ranked No. 5 from coast to coast this year.

Bergeron, a member of the German National Honor Society, has maintained a 4.02 GPA. He volunteers locally as a youth basketball coach.

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The wait is over.

This past Wednesday, Belmont’s Ellie Shea made it official where she’ll be heading next week fall. The multiple national champion and All American has committed to North Carolina State. The Wolfpacks, who have one of the top distance programs in the country, have won the last three NCAA cross-country titles. With a runner of Shea’s caliber as well as a strong 2024 recruiting class, No. 4 could certainly be a possibility this fall for NC State. The gifted senior, who competes for Emerging Elite, finished off a stellar HS career last month by placing second in the 3,000m and third in the 5K at the USATF U20 Championships. Shea owns several state records in events ranging from the mile to the 5K.

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As we noted last month, we had several Bay Staters out in Eugene, Ore., for the recent U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Congratulations to former Northampton and Harvard star Gabby Thomas for making her second straight Olympic team. The very-likable Thomas, a bronze-medalist in the 200m at the 2021 Games, punched her ticket to Paris (July 26 to Aug. 11) by capturing the half-lapper with a time of 21.81. Just like three years ago in Tokyo, she’ll also run a leg on the 4x100m relay, a squad that earned the silver medal in the last Olympics.

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On the subject of Paris, that’s where former Concord-Carlisle star and Olympic Trials qualifier Thomas Ratcliffe is right now. In a Diamond League meet on Saturday, the 26-year-old Ratcliffe, who competes for the Bowerman Track Club, raced to an all-time best of 7:37.92 for the 3,000m, an effort that placed him fifth overall at the Meeting de Paris in France. At the Trials, Ratcliffe was part of a tactical race in the prelims of the 5K. He fell one placement short of advancing to finals by taking seventh overall in his heat with a time of 13:35.13. The top 10 finishers in the faster second heat made the finals while six advanced in Ratcliffe’s heat. He has a 5K best of 13:14.64, which he did in mid February at the Boston University DMR Challenge.

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