Photos by Chuck Martin
When the bull’s eye is on their race singlet, runners usually take one of two routes – either they rise to the occasion or succumb to the pressure.
Maine’s Isaiah Harris took option No. 1.
The Lewiston junior, top-ranked in the 800-meter run, captured his specialty Saturday afternoon at the 67th annual New England Championships at Bridgewater State University. With a strong finishing kick, Harris broke away from a tight pack down the final straightaway to win convincingly with a time of 1 minute, 51.47 seconds. Campbell (N.H.) junior Sean Munnelly was second at 1:53.02.
“I felt the pressure coming into the meet,” said Harris, who improved on his personal best by more than a second. “I kind of had everybody on my team saying, ‘Come on, you got to break the record (1:49.93 set last year by Staples’ great Henry Wynne).’ I felt a lot of pressure. I kind of dealt with it the last few days. Today it kind of hit me the most and I was like, ‘Oh God, I’m nervous.’ But I got over it.”
The Lewiston standout took the lead from the start and passed through a 400m split of 55 seconds. He was challenged by Munnelly in the late stages of the race, but quickly regained order as he rounded the last turn to the finish line.
“I took it out and I thought there was going to be someone else there with me. I was actually slower than I wanted to be,” Harris said. “(Munnelly) came out of nowhere and pushed me the last lap. It helped me a lot. I did negative splits. I have never done that before. All the other races it’s usually like 53 and 58, something like that. This was a little bit different. I am satisfied with the time.”
On a hot and humid day, Harris was one of several top New England athletes that decided to stay local instead of making the trip to North Carolina for the New Balance Nationals. There were a number of other high-level performances.
In an exciting, down-to-the-wire 1,600-meter race, defending champion Jeremy Brassard of Coe-Brown (N.H.) held off La Salle Academy (R.I.) sophomore Jack Salisbury the final 50 meters to earn his second straight title with a time of 4:12.44, a PB by nearly four seconds. Salisbury also had a big-time best, taking second in 4:12.97. The top six finishers cracked 4:20.
“It was really exciting,” Brassard said. “I got boxed in after the first lap and the pace was fast so I just stuck right in there. I made a pretty big move on the second lap and it worked out. I didn’t feel (Salisbury) coming until the last lap. It worked. These guys are very talented. I love coming here to race. That’s what I like to do.”
Even though his best before the meet was a 4:16, the Coe-Brown runner was actually eyeing the New Hampshire state mark of 4:07. He realized it wasn’t going to happen after the first lap.
“I didn’t quite run the time I looking for,” he said. “I really wanted the state record but it wasn’t in the cards. We went through that first lap in 62, 63 (seconds) and I just knew it wasn’t going to be today.”
Lincoln-Sudbury (Mass.) senior Ben Colello copped the 100m hurdles with a fast time of 14.29. He defeated a quality field that also included Brockton (Mass.) senior Deion Raper (second, 14.53) and Mount Mansfield (Vt.) junior Alec Eschholz (third, 14.68).
Colello, who won his state’s 400m hurdle crown, overcame Raper and the top-seeded Eschholz the final few hurdles.
“I had a good start and the trials went well,” he said. “I saw Alec in his trials and he went really fast, so I knew I had to just try and catch him. I did that. Overall it was a great race.”
Mount Mansfield (Vt.) junior Alec Eschholz captured the 300m hurdles with a quality 38.54 clocking. In the 100m dash, Brockton junior Jonathan Derolus broke the tape in 10.79. Groton-Dunstable (Mass.) junior Evan Lexo was second at 10.92.
Coming out of the unseeded heat, Weston (Ct.) junior Simeon Okoro surprised the competition by winning the individual title in the 400m with a time of 49.49. Kingdoplhe Julien, a junior from Malden (Mass.), was second at 49.57.
“When I looked at the seeds I saw I was seeded 11th from the state open but my personal record would have actually put me in fifth,” said Okoro, who had to be tended to for about 10 minutes after collapsing, due to exhaustion, at the award’s ceremony. “In my race, I was supposed to be in lane 3 and it turned out – I guess some people dropped out – that I got lane 1. That pumped me up and I knew I had a good chance to try and get into the top six. I never would have thought I would win the whole thing. It feels really good.”
Old Rochester Regional (Mass.) junior Kevin Saccone easily copped the long jump with a leap of 22 feet, 7.5 inches. Woodland (Conn.) senior Mike Lang was second at 21-0. The triple jump was a neck-and-neck affair with Nipmuc Regional (Mass.) junior Kurt Robakiewicz taking the prize with a distance of 46-8.75. Fellow Massachusetts’ rival, Randolph senior Evandro DaCosta, was second at 46-4.75.
Evan Dombrowski, a senior from St. John Prep, took gold in the shot put with a heave of 55-1.5. Finishing second was South Portland (Me.) sophomore David Guiliani with a toss of 54-10.
Dombrowski, a recent state champion, was more than two feet under his PB of 57-6.75.
“I would say it was kind of like an average day,” he said. “I was having a little trouble at the beginning of the meet and I kind of just had to focus and let it go.”
Dombrowski’s winning toss came on his final throw of the preliminaries, enabling him to advance to the finals.
“My last throw of the preliminaries I just kind of let it go,” he said. “I’m ecstatic. I have never won a New England title. I have been to the New England’s a couple of times and I was getting ready for it. I’m happy.”
Somerset-Berkerly (Mass.) senior Adam Couitt made it back-to-back New England titles in the high jump this year with a height of 6-9. Chawinski MIlcent of Milton (Mass.) was second at 6-7.
“I actually faulted my first height at six feet so it was a little shaky at the start,” said Couitt, who won the indoor N.E. title at 6-9 and recently captured the Mass. state crown. “After that, it smoothed out and felt pretty good.”
Zakari Jenkins, a junior from Nashua (N.H.), sizzled to a triumphant clocking of 21.65 in the 200m. Sophomore Abu Ceesay of Bridgewater-Raynham (Mass.) was the runner-up at 21.75, while Mount Pleasant (R.I.) junior Trevane Clarke placed third in 21.81.
Norton (Mass.) senior Kevin Leary was more than 10-feet further than his seed in the javelin with a first-place toss of 191-06. David Jackson, a junior from Griswold (Conn.), was second with a distance of 187-11.
Windham (Conn.) senior Joseph Fogarasi took the pole vault with a height of 15-3. In the discus, Shelton (Conn.) senior won at 165-07.
Bishop Hendricken (R.I.) senior Colin Tierney finished out his high school career with an impressive victory in the 3,200m. He crossed the line in 9:22.19. Oliver Ames (Mass.) senior Dan Monermen was second at 9:23.75.
After nestling around third throughout the race, Tierney assumed control of the front with 800 meters remaining.
“I didn’t want to take the lead,” he said. “I wanted to see if someone else would do the work for me and bring me through the right splits. If not, I would have taken over. I was lucky enough that they brought me close enough,” said the Hawk runner, who was 4:45 at the mile mark. “I was hoping for a little quicker race because that works to my advantage. But I got out there, sat in third place and just waited as long as I could to outkick them in the end. I moved with 800 to go and I kind of hit a wall on the back straightaway. They came up on me. I hung out with them as long as I could. With 200 meters to go I was probably three seconds behind the leaders. But I wanted it, and went for it, and was lucky enough to get it.”
East Hartford (Conn.) copped the 4x100m relay with a time of 42.63. In the other relay events, it was Norton (Mass.) in the 4x400m (3:18.73) and Danbury (Conn.) in the 4x800m (7:52.64).
Isaiah Harris of Lewiston won the New England title with a new Maine all-time best for 800m with his 1:51.47, Cheverus boys added a 4x400m Maine all-time best to close out the meet, the Stags ran 3:24.34. There were several other athletes earning ALL-NE honors, check out our coverage.
Missing the New Englands action? No fear, MileSplitMass is here. Follow @MileSplitMass on twitter for live tweets. And stay tuned for live results and photos.
The New England Championships are this weekend at Bridgewater State University. Attached to this article is all the important imformation needed.
The regional competition for the metric mile (or 1,600 meters) at Bridgewater State University for the New England Championships will certainly generate some excitement for track & field enthusiasts.
With the New England Championships and the New Balance Nationals taking place the same weekend this year, some of the elite athletes from the northeast portion of the country were faced with a difficult decision – New England’s or Nationals? One of those athletes was Sierra Irvin. The Hingham High junior, a fifth-place finisher in the 400-meter dash at the indoor nationals, will be taking her talents to Bridgewater State University on Saturday to compete at the 67th annual New England meet.
Here is this weekends New England Championships Performance List
- 100 Meter Dash - Quashira Mcintosh (Hope High School) 11.84 SB;
- 1,600 Meter Run - Danae Rivers (Wilbur Cross High School) 4:53.46; Shannon Murdock (Exeter High School) 4:54.14 SB; Meghan Verner-Crist (Barrington High School) 4:57.10 SB; Alyssa Brehler (Griswold High School) 4:58.13 SB; Kialeigh Marston (Bonny Eagle High School) 4:59.04 SB; Olivia Lantz (Gloucester High School) 4:59.64 SB;
- 300 Meter Hurdles - Corinne Kennedy (Lebanon High School) 44.04;
- 3,200 Meter Run - Sarah Mattison (Simsbury High School) 10:32.47 SB; Autumn Eastman (Champlain Valley Union High School) 10:36.16 SB; Elisabeth Danis (Coe Brown Academy) 10:50.56; Kaleigh Roberts (Mercy High School) 10:54.76;
- 400 Meter Dash - Sierra Irvin (Hingham High School) 55.14;
- 4x400 Meter Relay - Hingham High School 3:52.65;
- 4x800 Meter Relay - La Salle Academy 9:05.30; New Milford High School 9:16.14; Concord Carlisle High School 9:18.81; Glastonbury High School 9:19.71; Pomperaug High School 9:23.24; Simsbury High School 9:23.27; Wachusett Regional High School 9:28.47;
- 800 Meter Run - Maegan Doody (Oyster River High School) 2:10.80 SB; Danae Rivers (Wilbur Cross High School) 2:12.27; Sarah Edwards (Bellingham High School) 2:13.43;
- High Jump - Ellen Dipietro (Marshfield High School) 5-7;
- Pole Vault - Ashley Craig (Westford Academy) 11-9;
- Shot Put - Maya Umoren (North Quincy High School) 42-10 SB; Taylor Drayton (Oxford High School) 42-2 SB;
- 110 Meter Hurdles - Ben Colello (Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School) 14.29 SB;
- 1,600 Meter Run - Jeremy Brassard (Coe Brown Academy) 4:12.44 SB; Jack Salisbury (La Salle Academy) 4:12.97 SB;
- 4x400 Meter Relay - Natick High School 3:18.73; Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School 3:19.65;
- 4x800 Meter Relay - Danbury High School 7:52.64; Lowell High School 7:57.52;
- 800 Meter Run - Isaiah Harris (Lewiston High School) 1:51.47 SB; Sean Munnelly (Campbell High School) 1:53.02 SB; Connor Murphy (Saint John's High School) 1:54.33; Randall Neish (Glastonbury High School) 1:54.67; Tyler Mannion (Brookfield High School) 1:54.72 SB; Ben Trapani (Camden Hills Regional High School) 1:54.73 SB; James Lewis (Staples High School) 1:54.96;
- High Jump - Adam Couitt (Somerset Berkley Regional High School) 6-9 SB;
- Javelin - Kevin O'leary (Norton High School) 191-6 SB; David Jackson (Griswold High School) 187-11 SB;
- Pole Vault - Joseph Fogarasi (Windham High School) 15-3;