It was a successful two days for the Marblehead High spring track athletes during the annual All-State Championship Meet at Fitchburg State University on June 1 and 3.
Leading the way for the Magicians once again was the girls 4×100 relay team of Ava Machado, Cate Trautman, Sadie Halpern and Le’Daisha Williams, and freshman distance runner Marri O’Connell.
With a time of 49.93, the relay team was the fourth best quartet in the entire state.
“This group of sprinters dominated throughout the entire spring season,” Raimo said. “They won the Division 3 state championship, and also the 4×100 and 4×200 at the Division 3 State Relays, not to mention surpassing a 10-year-old school record by nearly two seconds at the All-States, and honestly a sub-50 4×100 time may stick in the books for years to come.”
On June 1, O’Connell finished sixth in the 2-mile under adverse conditions with temperatures in the 90s.
“The 2-mile is already a tough race, but add in 90-degree temps and a cloudless sky all afternoon, and you have very, very tough racing conditions,” said coach William Herlihy.
Herlihy continued, “It turned out to be one of the most tenacious races of Marri’s short, yet very impressive career, and in so doing she still added another medal to her growing collection by coming in sixth with a sensational time of 11:24.71.”
Herlihy added, “Marri held her ground to lead the pack of runners in six of the eight-lap race, which included multiple (athletes) with seed times in the 10s. Only one runner in both the boys and girls race finished faster than their seed time, which speaks to the conditions. But Marri’s resolve helped carry her through it. She will now cap off her historic season by participating in the 2-mile against the best freshmen in the nation at the New Balance Nationals on June 16 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.”
In the boys 2-mile, Marblehead’s Isaac Gross (9:51.09) ended up 34th in the state.
“This group of boys distance runners is one the most competitive and deep fields to come out of Massachusetts in quite a while, but Isaac still competed hard to stay in his race to earn a respectable finish time,” Herlihy said. “Isaac had a tremendous season, and while it’s a bummer to have such tough conditions for his final race this spring, even making it to this stage is a testament to his drive and work ethic.”
Rachael Albert (97-6, 24th place) was the first athlete to compete at this year’s All-State Meet in the discus.
“She would say this was a disappointing result after landing shy of her personal best of 103-11, but I would actually call it her best outing as a competitor,” said coach Danny Plunkett. “In nearly 90-degree heat with little time to warm up and sweat impacting the grip, many other girls were struggling in the circle, and no one was throwing at their best. But Rachael was the most composed and consistent I’ve ever seen her this season, hitting 97 feet twice while not fouling a single throw. Her poise in tough conditions paid off, as evidenced by her jump from the bottom half of the seeds (35th) to a 24th-place finish in the state.”
Cate Trautman and Ava Machado both qualified for the All-State Championships. Unfortunately, Machado came down with an illness the night before and wasn’t able to compete in this event but was still there to participate in two others.
On the other hand, Trautman was able to tie a 15-year-old school record with a time of 26.24 to finish 16th in the state.
“Cate’s final individual race for Marblehead was unsurprisingly a tremendous success like so many others she ran throughout the past four years,” said coach Nolan Raimo. “Cate also has the school record in the 55 meters, 200, 4×100 and 4×200 across both the indoor and outdoor seasons.”
Harrison Curtis qualified for the All-State Championship Meet a few weeks back, and so he was ready for this race. He finished 33rd in the state with a final time of 22.93, just .09 off his personal best and .12 behind an 11-year-old school record.
“Curtis spanned the 55, 100, 200, 300, 400, 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 throughout the indoor and outdoor seasons, and he has set school records in the 100, 4×100 and 4×200,” said Raimo.
Boys 110-meter hurdles
Alex Hersey finished 23rd with a time of 15.80, narrowly missing his personal best of 15.68, which considering the rain and cold is an applause-worthy effort, according to Herlihy.
“In outdoor track, we are at the mercy of the weather, and it creates a lot of what-if situations, but Alex’s performance on Saturday, especially considering the second half of the race was outstanding,” Herlihy said. “Frankly, the current record of 15.20 doesn’t seem like it will survive Alex’s senior campaign next year, but he will also have one last shot at it this spring in the MSTCA North Decathlon.”
Machado qualified for the All-States in the preliminaries of the Division 3 Meet, somewhat of a buzzer-beater in terms of qualification timing, according to Herlihy.
As stated previously, she was battling through an illness all week long leading up to the All-States, but her tenacity to show up and compete in both this event and the 4×100 was extraordinary, her coach said. She still finished 26th in the state with a time of 13.29.
“The weather was miserable, and after (Saturday’s) race, Ava was struggling with sickness,” added Herlihy. “But she still willed herself back into form to compete later on in the 4×100.”
Curtis, who shares the school record in the 100 with Joe Doherty from a few years back, finished 28th in the state with a time of 11.34.
“The conditions on Saturday were miserable for all the sprinters and jumpers, and the majority of runners were 0.3 to 0.4 behind their seed times,” Raimo said. “This race capped Harrison’s high school career, who undoubtedly had the largest improvement as an athlete and a leader in a single year. He went from an 11.98 runner to 11.09, and beyond that he changed our sprinting squad with his passion for track.”
Girls high jump
Keira Sweetnam, who finished second at the Division 3 State Meet in this event, ended up 14th in the state with a clearance of 5-2.
“As noted, the weather was impacting all the jumpers, with many jumping well below their seeded heights,” said Raimo. “Keira capped her high school track career as one of the best jumpers we’ve ever seen in the past 20-plus years, and she will now be taking her talents to Wesleyan University next year to compete on the volleyball team.”