Spotlight shines on young Marblehead spring track stars

On May 6, the Marblehead High freshman and sophomore boys and girls spring track athletes took center stage in Peabody for the annual Northeastern Conference Meet.  

Girls long jump 

Elise Burchfield led the way for Marblehead with a leap of 14-10 to finish fourth overall.

Marblehead High spring track sophomore high jumper Elise Burchfield clears 4-6 to finish second at the annual NEC Freshman-Sophomore Meet in Peabody on May 6. COURTESY PHOTO/CAT PIPER

“Elise was all over the track, participating in the hurdles, high jump and long jump, and she scored an impressive total of 22 points,” said coach Nolan Raimo. 

Boys long jump 

Colin Hart captured fourth with a jump of 17-0. Elian Colon made his spring debut in the long jump, coming in 15th with a jump of 15-6.

Claudio Gusmao-Gonzalez (15-5) ended up 17th, James Pulido (14-2) 21st and Casey Gransbury (17-6.5) 25th.

Girls triple jump 

Ava Machado was fourth with a jump of 32-7 and Morgan Zion (30-8) seventh. The top seven triple jumpers made the finals. Machado was the top point scorer for the girls team with 24 points. 

Boys triple jump 

Gusmao-Gonzalez, Marblehead’s jump specialist, was credited with a ninth-place finish with a jump of 32-11.

“Claudio has been locked in on the jumps all spring long, and he continues to make progress. His leadership around the jump pits has been greatly appreciated,” Raimo said. 

Girls high jump 

Elise Burchfield finished second with a clearance of 4-6. Campbell Crane also landed on the podium with a jump of 4-2 to place fifth.

“This was a tough day for our high jumpers with so few boys and girls competing, but Campbell and Elise seemingly are veterans at this point and were still able to compete well to score points,” said Raimo. 

Girls shot put 

Hannah O’Brien finished 11th with a throw of 20-10.

“The shotput isn’t Hannah’s main event, but the team appreciates her efforts to try and score points in a secondary event,” Raimo said. 

Boys shot put 

Justin Gonzalez accounted for fourth with a throw of 34-1.25. Graham Firestone (29-2.5) came in 12th and Grady Norfleet (24-5.5) 16th.

“Justin competed the day before in the shot against Masco and was back at it just 12 hours later in this meet,” Raimo said. “Justin threw 35-feet-plus against Masco, which would’ve been good for second in this meet. We really appreciate him going above and beyond to compete in back-to-back days.”

Girls discus 

O’Brien won the discus with a throw of 82-0.

“Hannah was the top seed in the event, and frankly that’s a lot of pressure, but Hannah handled it well and won it by a nearly 7-foot margin,” Raimo said. “Hannah has made tremendous progress since the start of the season, and it will be exciting to see how the postseason goes for her.” 

Boys discus  

Firestone, who has been sidelined with an injury, returned by winning this event with a throw of 92-11.

“Graham has an extraordinary baseline talent, but his investment in improving — even while injured — is what will make him an incredibly successful thrower over the next few years,” Raimo said. 

Alexander (69-3) Humphreys finished ninth. Tucker Crane (67-0.5) was 10th and Grady Norfleet (62-8) 14th. 

Girls javelin 

Sierra Leinberry (78-9) snatched second place after winning the tiebreaker over his Swampscott counterpart.

Mia Mabry (52-11) ended up 10th, Addison Rotigliano (46-5.5, personal best) 12th, Julie Caix (45-11) 13th and Ellie Payson (36-1) 16th. 

Boys javelin 

Firestone (118-5) came in second with a throw of 118-5. Phineas Jakiouis (106-0) narrowly missed the podium. Humphreys (98-8) was 12th, Colin Hart (82-5) 15th and Tucker Crane (64-2.5) 18th.  

Boys 400-meter hurdles 

Marc Grazado, in a herculean effort while making his debut, came in first with a time of 67.59. He was followed by Nate Jendrysik (12th, 74.73) and Quinn Scheib (16th, 79.17). 

Marblehead High spring track sophomore Marc Grazado wins the 110-meter hurdles at the annual NEC Freshman-Sophomore Meet in Peabody on May 6. COURTESY PHOTO/CAT PIPER

Girls 2-mile 

Marri O’Connell (12:40.85) won the 2-mile after completing a perfectly executed race.

“Marri went into the meet knowing that she would be tripling her running experience by competing in the 2-mile, mile and 4×800, which is a herculean feat,” said coach William Herlihy. “Her goal was to win the 2-mile, while retaining as much energy as possible, and she nailed it in this race. She took an early 6-meter lead before settling into a comfortable pace, and then on lap seven opened up the gap by about 30 meters to cruise to victory in the final lap, racing like a seasoned veteran while also showcasing her maturity and coachability on top of her already impressive work ethic and talent.” 

Boys two-mile 

Jonah Potach ended up seventh with a time of 12:10.97.

“It’s not the result Jonah expected or wanted, but for a young runner the experience of racing can be as valuable as running your best time,” Herlihy said. “Knowing Jonah, he will use this as motivation to bounce back in the next couple of weeks. He then would go on to run a leg in the 4×800 relay, which is a challenging double.” 

Girls 100/110-meter hurdles 

Elise Burchfield, who won the 55-meter hurdles during the indoor Freshman-Sophomore NEC Meet, defended her title, while running a new personal best time of 17.8.

Campbell Crane (21.33) finished ninth. Sierra Leinberry (21.56) was 11th, and Addison Rotigliano (22:11) ran away from her heat to finish 12th overall. 

Boys 100/110-meter hurdles  

Grazado was a double winner in the hurdles after claiming this title with a new personal best time of 18.62, well below his goal of 19.0.

Elian Colon (22.30) was sixth to earn a big point for the team. His 22 points in this meet led the way for the boys team. 

Girls 100 

Ava Machado (12.91, personal best) and Sadie Halpern (13:05) led the way in impressive fashion while topping the ticket. Machado’s time is second in school history, just .06 seconds behind the record holder Emma McGuirk, who set it 12 years ago. Halpern’s time is fourth all-time. 

Marblehead High spring track sophomore Ava Machado, left, wins the 100 after capturing the 200, while freshman Sadie Halpern, right, ends up second in the 100 after coming in third in the 200 at the annual NEC Freshman-Sophomore Meet in Peabody on May 6. COURTESY PHOTO/CAT PIPER

Arielle Kahn (14.58, personal best) was 12th. Maren Rowe (14:66) stepped down from the 400 to finish 13th. Olivia Vanden Heuvel (14.88) was 19th, Grace Rowe (15.11) 23rd, Mia Mabry (15.65) 36th, Julie Caix (15.75) 39th and Ellie Payson (18.10) 53rd. 

Boys 100 

Jacob Bobowski led the way for Marblehead with a time of 12.20 to finish 10th overall. Aidan Vizy (12.86) was 25th, Isaac Brenneman (12.89) 26th, Ethan Horgan (13.16) 28th, Joseph Proulx (13.30) 32nd, Nate Jendrysik (13.97) 44th, James Pulido (14.21) 46th, Nick Flores (14.30) 47th, Cole Goodwin (14.50) 48th, Ari Gold (14.70) 50th, Sam Tanger (14.84) 52nd and Pietro Rose (15.22) 54th. 

Girls mile 

Less than 30 minutes after winning the 2-mile, O’Connell took to the track again for the mile.

“Based on the seed times, this was going to be a closer race than the 2-mile, and she was the only runner in the field who had already competed,” Herlihy said. “She took control of the race early, breaking the pack in the first 200 meters and never looked back. She won her second event of the day in 5:43.08, beating out second-place finisher by over 10 seconds. This was insanely impressive stuff by Marri.” 

Marblehead High spring track freshman Marri O’Connell runs in the 4×800 relay at the annual NEC Freshman-Sophomore Meet in Peabody on May 6. O’Connell also won the 2-mile and mile, while helping her team finish second in this relay. COURTESY PHOTO/CAT PIPER

Angie Fischer was the second Marblehead runner to finish, coming in 12th with a time of 6:32.50.

“She was making her season debut, and it was a great time for her first race,” Herlihy added. 

Emma St. George (7:19.95, five-second personal best) was the third and final Marblehead runner in the race, finishing 14th. 

Boys mile 

In the best race of his young track career, Nate Assa set the tone early on with a blazing fast first lap, according to Herlihy.

“Nate held on as long as he could to finish second with a time of 4:52.04, which is a five-second personal best for him,” the coach said. 

Herlihy added, “Henrik Adams (4:57.59, eight-second personal best) battled to a fourth-place finish while also running his best race of his scholastic career, albeit with a little less experience. It was also his first sub five-minute mile.”

He continued, “Between the indoor and outdoor seasons, this team has seen three underclassmen break the five-minute barrier this year, which is a rare and pretty special event and is a great sign for the future. 

Zach Pike placed 17th with a time of 5:43.54, a 13-second personal best, and Jeremy Sorkin was 21st with a time of 6:15.28, a nine-second personal best, to round out the Marblehead runners.

“To have everyone in this group hit a big personal best was awesome to see as a coach because these guys work so hard at practice and really earned these times,” Herlihy said. 

Girls 4×100 

Due to injuries, the 4×100 underwent quite a few changes from the beginning of the meet until they actually ran. Mia Mabry, Gabby Hendy, Liv Carlson and Morgan Zion finished second overall with a time of 55.35.

“Mia had never practiced a handoff, but she still stepped up and ran a fantastic first leg to put her teammates in position to take second,” Raimo said. 

Boys 4×100 

Jake Bobowski, Joseph Proulx, Isaac Brenneman and Slater Johnson finished second with a respectable time of 49.17.

“This group of boys has a great competitive spirit that is always on display in practices and meets,” Raimo said. 

Girls 400 

Gabby Hendy, running her second ever 400, finished third with a time of 64.02. Charlie Roszell (64.09), while battling an illness, was fourth. 

Boys 400 

Logan Doody (59.14) finished 11th and Casey Gransbury (68.64) was 13th.

“Logan ran a stellar 400-meter leg at the state relays, and he carried that momentum to run a sub-60 again,” Raimo said. “Gransbury is a fan favorite with one of the loudest cheering sections in every race he runs, and it’s well-deserved.” 

Girls 800 

Juliet Burchfield (2:32.61, personal best) was the lone Marblehead competitor in this event, and she finished third overall in a very competitive field.

“Juliet came in as the fifth seed, but she defied expectations by giving 100% and then some to finish where she did, and anyone who saw her afterwards can attest to the fact she left it all out on the track,” Herlihy said. “Juliet has consistently improved her times this season, and this progression is a great sign for the upcoming postseason.” 

Boys 800 

Peter Sullivan (2:19.43) ended up fourth.

“Peter’s performances this year have shown how much of a step forward he’s taken physically from last year and is a great indication for what his future will look like as he continues along this trajectory,” Herlihy said. 

David Alpert (2:33.24), Zach Plum (2:38.05) and Sam Tanger (2:50.22) rounded out the Marblehead participants, finishing in 11th, 15th and 23rd, respectively. 

Girls 200 

Coming through with her second victory of the day, Machado won the 200 with a new personal best time of 26.57. It’s the third best time in school history. 

Halpern (27.21) battled through blisters on her feet to finish third. Liv Carlson (30.11) was 10th. 

Boys 200  

Jacob Bobowski flew to a fifth-place finish with an impressive time of 25.10. Slater Johnson (25.51) just missed the podium with an eighth-place finish. Ethan Horgan (27.10) was 18th, Sebastian Mellen-Bloom (29.06) 23rd and Nic Flores (29.98) 29th. 


Both 4×800 relay teams deserve a ton of credit for how they raced, according to Herlihy.

“All of them were at least doubling up from one other event, and a couple stepped up in a big way as replacements,” he said. “Hats off to both teams for competing hard at the end of a long day in the sun to pick up some points for the team.” 

Angie Fischer was the opening leg in the girls relay, splitting a 3:05, which was a great time for someone who has no experience at this distance, according to Herlihy. She previously competed in the mile. 

“Maren Rowe, a sprinter who has never raced or trained for anything at this distance, also split a 3:05,” he noted. “She deserves a ton of credit for being willing to step up and compete in this event, despite her lack of experience. Maren also competed in the 100-meter dash.” 

Herlihy continued, “Emma St. George also stepped up in a big way 20 minutes before the event, and her split was a 3:36 after already competing in the mile.

O’Connell was the anchor leg, and she wasted no time pulling her team back into second place after receiving the baton. In her third event of the day, she split a 2:40, a time that would have been seventh in the 800.

The boys relay team was led by Adams (2:24 split), who got the team out to an early lead. Potach then took the baton and split a solid 2:30 to keep his team in the top group. Sullivan finished the third leg with a 2:35 split. Assa closed it out with a 2:28 split to secure a second. 

Girls 4×400 

Vanden Heuvel, Grace Rowe, Arielle Kahn and Cora Gerson (4:40.82) finished fourth.

“The 4×400 team was shuffling around the entire meet due to injuries, and specifically Kahn and Gerson selflessly scratched their individual 200 races to compete in this relay to score points for the team,” Herlihy said. 

Boys 4×400 

Hart, Doody, Grazado and Vizy (4:03.37) finished second, barely missing the sub four-minute mark.

“Special credit to Vizy, who stepped up to run his first 400 on short notice and was able to cruise to a respectable 61.0 split,” said Herlihy.

The 2023 Marblehead High spring track freshmen and sophomores are shown after competing in the the annual NEC Freshman-Sophomore Meet in Peabody on May 6. COURTESY PHOTO/CAT PIPER
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