Marblehead High track teams capture second-place finishes in NEC meet

Joe McConnell | + posts

The Marblehead High School indoor track teams finished second during the annual Northeastern Conference Meet at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Roxbury on Feb. 4.

The boys ended up with 80 points, second only to Peabody’s 138. Beverly was third with 69 points.

The girls were also second to Peabody after compiling 77 points. The Tanners accounted for 135. Beverly secured third place with 74.

Girls 55-meter hurdles 

Devin Whalen continued her impressive season in this event with a time of 9.24 that was good for a second-place finish behind one of the best NEC hurdlers ever, Beverly’s Meredith Pasquarosa (8.63).

Claire Davis ran a personal best in both the trials (9.37) and finals (9.35) to finish fourth overall. Elise Burchfield was seventh overall with a time of 9.89, setting herself up as a top seed going into next year, according to coach Nolan Raimo. 

Boys 55-meter hurdles

Alex Hersey finished second with a time of 8.58, and Errol Apostolopoulos (8.61) was fourth.

“Alex had a tough start in the final, but he still finished second with an 8.58, while Errol fell out of the blocks in the prelim, but after a gargantuan effort he was able to scramble back to run a personal best (8.84) to qualify for the finals, where he ran another personal best (8.61) to earn a fourth-place finish,” Raimo said. 

Marc Grazado (9.65) narrowly missed the finals, coming in ninth overall.

“Alex, Errol and Marc have all made significant progress, and it will be exciting to see their remaining postseason performances this month,” added Raimo.

Girls 55-meters 

Cate Trautman led the way with a new school record of 7.62 in the prelims, followed by a 7.63 in the finals to finish third.

Ava Machado stumbled out of the blocks in the prelims (7.74) but still secured a spot in the finals, where she set the second fastest 55-meter time in school history (7.63) to end up fourth.

Sadie Halpern put together an incredible prelim to run a 7.73 (11-second personal best), placing fifth on the all-time freshman list.

“It’s unbelievable that three of our top five performances ever happened (this year in the NEC meet),” said Raimo. 

Gabby Hendy ended up 14th with a personal-best time of 8.03.

Boys 55-meters

Thomas Carlson (6.85) had quite the day with a 14-second personal best in the dash to finish fourth. That time is now the sixth fastest in school history.

“Tommy has been in the weight room lifting with the team since July, and as a result his success in this event was inevitable,” said Raimo. “I look forward to seeing his progress in the coming years with the work ethic he has displayed.” 

Harrison Curtis (6.92, personal best) finished sixth. Jacob Bobowksi (7.30) was 21st and Matt Mahan (7.35) 24th. 

Girls mile

Maren Potter (6:00.75, four-second personal best) had the best race of her career to finish eighth, but she still knows she could go faster.

“Maren was averaging in the low sevens last year, so to see her on the precipice of breaking six minutes is a testament to her hard work in training and drive to improve,” said coach William Herlihy. “Abbie Goodwin (7:17.35, 11 second personal best) also had her best race of the year, finishing 13th.”

Boys mile 

Everybody knew it was bound to happen for Will Cruikshank, Nate Assa and Ryan Blestowe, who finally broke five minutes together at the conference meet.

Cruikshank (4:55.38, five-second personal best) was the first Marblehead runner to cross the finish line, 10th overall. Assa (4:57.32, three-second personal best) came in right behind him, 11th for the record.

“It was an incredible performance from both underclassmen,” said Herlihy. 

Blestowe (4:58.54, four-second personal best) also managed to reach the milestone while running by himself as the lead runner in his heat. He ended up 12th. 

“This group works so hard in practice, and I’m ecstatic to see their hard work get rewarded,” Herlihy said. 

Girls 600

Grace Mortensen (1:46.86, three-second personal best) was eighth and also qualified for the Division 3 Meet on Feb. 19.

Juliet Burchfield (1:48.34, four-second personal best) ran her best race in her young career, finishing 11th.

Running in only her second 600, Isabelle Mortensen (1:54.75, two-second personal best) was 15th overall.

“The 600 was easily the deepest and most competitive event in the conference this year, and all three ran amazingly well,” Herlihy said. “For context, the winning time in this event last year was 1:46.24. Grace’s time would’ve seen her finish fourth last year, and Juliet’s would’ve put her in sixth place.”

Boys 600 

Despite having an illness sideline him for most of the preceding week, Ryan Thompson ran an amazing race to finish second in a blazing fast time of 1:25.35, a two-second personal best. He’s now second on the all-time MHS track list.

Xavier Grazado (1:33.18, two-second personal best) was 12th. Freshman Henrik Adams (1:39.92) was 17th to cap off a successful season.

Girls 1,000 

Running in only her second 1,000, Ada Merrigan (3:36.49, two-second personal best) ended up ninth. Maya Mahoney (3:41.23, 11th place) deserves all the credit in the world for racing as well as she did after being tripped at the start.

“The officials ordered a restart, but Maya was still determined to run despite the fall,” Herlihy said. “It takes a lot of mental and physical toughness to get back up and race under those circumstances, so hat’s off to her.”

Sofia Grubor (3:46.14) finished 13th overall, second in her heat. Right on her heels was Savannah Caruso (3:48.70, four-second personal best), who ended up 15th overall, fourth in her heat.

Rounding out the Marblehead runners was Sienna Velandry (3:53), 17th overall. She matched her personal best, despite not racing at 100-percent efficiency. 

Boys 1,000 

Gabe Bayramian (2:45.42, two-second personal best) ran his best race ever to finish fourth overall. His time qualifies him for the Division 3 Meet later this month.

Peter Sullivan (3:05.07, eight-second personal best) finished 15th, and David Alpert (3:16.73) was 19th.

Girls 300

Cate Trautman (42.64) went undefeated in the 300 this season after winning the conference title. It’s the third fastest time in school history. 

Le’Daisha Williams continued her fantastic running in this event to finish fourth overall with a time of 44.33.

Sadie Halpern (44.79) was sixth overall. Cora Gerson (46.05) nearly matched her personal best time for a 10th-place finish.

Boys 300 

Harrison Curtis (37.30), running in his fourth 300 ever, captured the NEC title.

“Harrison’s dad and I have nudged Harrison toward the long sprints for years, and reluctantly he caved this year and as a result has strung together a memorable run in this event,” Herlihy said. 

Sebastian Pantzer (37.70) was third overall with his best days still ahead of him.

Girls two-mile 

Cat Piper (14:24.56) was eighth and Anne Simcoe (14:26.4) ninth in this very tough indoor event, so props to this group for sticking with it, Herlihy said. 

Angie Fischer was on pace to smash her personal best time, but the officials miscounted the laps of two Beverly runners that Fischer had been running with, and as a result all three competitors stepped off the track with still one more lap to go.

Boys two-mile

Isaac Gross (9:51.51) continued his NEC dominance in the two-mile, cruising to a first-place finish. After going undefeated in the conference, Gross is looking forward to his first big test at the Division 3 Meet, where he will face solid competition.

Jonah Potach (11:41.51) finished 14th overall.

Girls high jump

Keira Sweetnam finished third overall with an impressive clearance of 5-2. Elise Burchfield (4-6) was eighth overall. Ava Machado (4-6) was ninth.

Boys high jump 

Errol Apostolopoulos (5-6) was on a mission, and he ended up finishing fourth overall. Graham Tips (5-2) finished 12th. 

Girls long jump

Claire Davis (15-8) soared to a second-place finish. She was followed by Ana Vina de Garnica (15-3) in fourth place. Charlie Roszell (14-8) ended up seventh. Burchfield (14-3.5) was eighth.

Boys long jump 

Alex Hersey (19-5) led the way for Marblehead with a third-place finish overall. He was followed by Apostolopoulos (18-4) in fifth place.

Carlson (17-2) was 11th, and Claudio Gusmao Gonzalez (16-11, personal best) 12th.

Elian Colon had a great day of jumping despite being narrowly fouled on three jumps.

Girls shot put

In an extremely competitive field, Lillian Reddy (29-2) finished ninth overall. Rachael Albert (25-11) was 16th overall. 

Boys shot put 

Riley Schmitt (38-11) finished ninth overall.

“Riley injured his shoulder halfway through the season, and for him to rally and throw a near personal best after missing a few weeks of training is a testament to his drive and work ethic,” Raimo said. “Beyond this performance, Riley has played a significant role in mentoring teammates in the weight room all season long that will have an enduring impact on our team for years to come.”

Girls 4×200

Trautman, Machado, Whalen and Davis (1:49.28) finished second overall, while the Peabody girls set a conference championship record with a time of 1:48.18.

Boys 4×200 

Curtis, Pantzer, Carlson and Thompson (1:34.64) ended up second, narrowly missing a personal best.

“With limited recovery time between the 600 and 300, Ryan, Harrison and Sebby were gutting it out on tired legs, just like their counterparts on the girls team,” Raimo said.

Girls 4×800 

The team of Kate Twomey, Burchfield, Mahoney and Mortensen (10:57.49) finished third.

“Most of these runners were doubling up, which is very challenging especially when it’s two middle-distance events like the 600 and 1,000,” Herlihy said. “Huge props to this group for their efforts, and their time qualified them for the Division 3 Meet.” 

Boys 4×800 

Similar to the girls team, most of these runners were doubling up, as well. The team of Bayramian, Assa, Regnault and Cruikshank (9:25.45) finished fourth.

The Marblehead High School boys indoor track 4×800 relay team of freshman Will Cruikshank, senior Gabe Bayramian, junior Ryan Blewstowe and sophomore Nate Assa, from left, are shown together after finishing sixth during the annual MSTCA Small School Invitational at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Roxbury late last month. COURTESY PHOTO / CAT PIPER

Girls 4×400

Halpern, Williams, Sweetnam and Roszell (4:23.7) ended up second, which secured second overall. 

Boys 4×400 

Grazado, Graydon Waller, Tips and Burke (3:59.92) teamed up for a fifth-place finish.

“It was an exceptional field this year for this relay, and Xavier, Graydon, Graham and Jack put together great performances to crack four minutes and score points for the team,” Herlihy said. 

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