In a tri-meet on Jan. 4, the Marblehead High boys and girls indoor track teams began the new year the same way the old one ended with wins against Northeastern Conference opponents.
The girls defeated host Gloucester (63-19) and Masconomet (44-42), while the boys upended their Fishermen and Masco counterparts, 56-30 and 52-38, respectively. Both teams have perfect 6-0 records.
Boys high jump
Graham Tips and Errol Apostolopoulos led the way for Marblehead with identical leaps of 5-4 to finish first and second during the Masco meet, and were second and third against the Fishermen.
“Both Graham and Errol have had successful seasons so far in the high jump with visible potential for more success ahead,” said coach Nolan Raimo.
Girls high jump
Keira Sweetnam (5-0) won the high jump versus both foes to remain undefeated on the season to date.
“It was a stacked high-jump field across the board, with six jumpers clearing 4-10,” said Raimo.
Boys shot put
Riley Schmitt captured another victory with a new personal best throw of 39-5. He was followed by Alex Hersey (second and third) with a quality throw of 36-6.
“The boys throwing squad that also includes Anthony Vizy and Dylan Gilmore is quickly becoming a presence in dual meets, while scoring significant points,” said the coach.
Girls shot put
Lillian Reddy continues to post wins after throwing 29-0 last week to set a new personal best. She was followed by Rachael Albert (26-0, third and fourth) and Hannah O’Brien (20-11, sixth).
“Similar to the boys throwing group, this is a young group with tons of potential, and Rachael’s leadership in the group is benefiting all,” said Raimo.
Boys 55 meters
Harrison Curtis (7:05) and Tommy Carlson (7:06) led the way in the dash with a second and third finish overall versus Masco (first and second against Gloucester), respectively.
“There was general disappointment about no spikes, as we used them at the same track five days earlier, but all the sprinters and hurdlers handled it incredibly well,” Raimo said. “They didn’t let it derail their efforts.”
Girls 55 meters
Cate Trautman returned to the dash for the first time this season after focusing primarily on it throughout the past three years, and she instantly found great success with a new personal best time, going from 7.78 to 7.71 without spikes.
Sadie Halpern (7.87) continued her impressive rookie campaign with a second-place finish.
“A Masco runner then unfortunately leaned at the common finish line rather than the dash finish line, which does happen at local tracks, and we were able to capitalize on it,” said Raimo.
Boys 55-meter hurdles
Hersey continued his undefeated streak in this event this season with a time of 8.78 to capture first, followed closely by Apostolopolous (second, 8.97) and Marc Grazado (third, 9.68 personal best).
“A clean sweep by the boys is a testament to their efforts this season, and also to coach Veloukas,” said Raimo.
Girls 55-meter hurdles
As mentioned previously, Devin Whalen was the winner in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 9.43. She was followed by Claire Davis (second, 9.61) and Elise Burchfield (third, 9.88).
“This group has only conceded one point this season, but it will soon be tested against Beverly and Peabody that have two of the best hurdlers in our conference this year,” Raimo said.
Sebastian Pantzer cruised to victory with a 40.5, which is a remarkable time on a flat 150-meter track surface without spikes.
He was followed by Jack Burke and Seamus Crowley (42.82, third and fourth), who ran identical times in separate heats.
Ava Machado swapped places with Cate Trautman in this meet to run the 300 with great success, finishing on top with a time of 46.95.
She was followed by Le’Daisha Williams (48.53, third) and Cora Gerson (48.98, fourth and fifth).
Grace Mortensen (1:52.35) had to battle through the pack at the start but still pulled out a second-place finish against both opponents.
Juliet Burchfield (1:53.50, five-second personal best) has continued to find her stride this season and clearly wants to improve even more, according to Raimo. She finished third against both teams.
Charlie Roszell (1:56.25, two-second personal best) started like lightning and was able to hold on to finish fourth against both opponents and fifth overall.
Xavier Grazado was the lone Marblehead runner in this event. He got off to a fast start and never looked back, cruising his way to a three-second personal best in a very tough event.
“Xavier can always be counted on to compete his hardest in whatever event he’s put in, and is always willing to do whatever he can to help the team,” Raimo said.
Maya Mahoney (3:39.08) ran her best race of the season, coming in with a goal to beat her time on this track last year, and she did just that, beating it by four seconds while taking a big step closer to her best time last year.
Sienna Velandry (4:00.66) and Martha Heffernan (4:07.15) rounded out the local finishers.
Ryan Thompson (2:46.58) ran an impressive time in his first-ever 1,000, while also looking comfortable at a pace that has most runners huffing and puffing, but he cruised to a first-place finish.
Gabe Bayramian (2:55.24) once again gave it everything he had and was rewarded with a seasonal best as he gets closer to his personal best time.
Nicolas Regnault (3:08.65, seven-second personal best) had a big breakthrough race, holding off a competitor in the end to get that significant personal best.
JV Girls 1,000
Sofia Grubor (3:44.50, hand-timed) ran a very impressive race while making her debut in this event. She went back and forth with a Masco runner before ultimately taking the lead and never looking back. Her time is the third fastest among the girls this year.
Piper Morgan (3:50, four-second personal best) ran a great race from the start, despite not knowing which event she’d be a part of in this tri-meet.
Kate Twomey (3:59.65), Abbie Goodwin (4:02.86) and Emma St. George (4:18.89) all ran very well in their debuts. Lauren Zisson (4:29.38) rounded out the local runners.
“It’s clear that we have some serious depth in the middle distance events,” Raimo said.
JV Boys 1,000
David Alpert, Sean Heenan, Anthony Vizy, Henrik Adams, Sam Tanger, Colin Burke and Zach Pike all ran very hard in this race, and deserve recognition for their efforts, despite the lack of accurate electronic times, said Raimo.
Maren Potter (6:19.58) ran very well from the front, setting the pace throughout. Running from the front is extremely challenging, but she did very well for a young athlete.
Angie Fischer (6:28.58) stayed with the pack in the early going to eventually move up into third at the right time to close out the race.
Even if her times may not be what she wants, she is improving and gaining valuable experience in every race, according to Raimo.
Nate Assa (5:08.44, six-second personal best) and Will Cruikshank (5:08.50) absolutely battled throughout.
“These two young runners are pushing each other while making each other better with every race,” Raimo said. “I expect to see them continue to push each other to new personal bests during the remainder of the season.”
The coach added, “Ryan Blestowe (5:11.43) did well to deal with being boxed-in early on in the race but still got clear for the second half of it. Gloucester is a narrow track, so being blocked in early on can be very difficult to overcome, but Ryan persevered to finish strong.”
Cat Piper (13:44.32) was Marblehead’s lone runner in this event, and despite coming back from an extended illness she still ran a consistent race, finishing with a time she was striving for last year.
“I look forward to seeing Cat race at full strength,” said Raimo.
Isaac Gross (10:03) picked up where he left off in the first meet by running nearly a sub-10-minute time by himself on a flat track.
“Isaac will be someone to watch when he has opponents around him,” Raimo said.
Jonah Potach (11:51.06) is staying hungry even after running a seasonal personal best.
“Jonah is always looking for ways to improve, and his attitude is awesome,” added the Marblehead track coach.
Will Cronin (12:03.17) ran his best race of the year and is rounding into form at the right time of the season, Raimo added.
Boys 4-by-400 relay
Pantzer, Thompson, Apostolopoulos and Tips finished second with a time of 3:53.91, which is the best they have run this season.
Girls 4-by-400 relay
Claire Davis, Juliet Burchfield, Grace Mortenson and Le’Daisha Williams finished second with a time of 4:36.51.
“This was an awesome race that included a great battle between Juliet Burchfield and her Masco counterpart,” Raimo said. “Le’Daisha (67) ran a great opening leg with a strong kick at the end to put her teammates in a good position.”
Boys long jump
Apostolopoulos soared to the top with a jump of 19-4. Hersey (19-0) was second. Thomas Carlson (17-11) ended up third, and Harrison Curtis (17-8) was fourth.
“Without a jumping pit, we are limited in our training, but yet all of our jumpers were consistent to put together a great day,” Raimo said. “Coach V also deserves a tremendous amount of credit for running the entire long-jump operation, while Gloucester was missing a few coaches.”
Girls long jump
Claire Davis jumped to a new indoor personal best with a leap of 16-2 to finish first, followed by Ana Vina de Garnica (15-8) and Roszell (15-6).
“Ana has had a remarkably successful season,” Raimo said. “She’s our fourth hurdler, but she would be a top hurdler on the majority of the other teams in our conference, and it’s great to see her success in the long jump.”