Walpole Track and Field Athletes Qualify For Nationals By Rachel Stanton

Coming off of a strong winter season at the Reggie Lewis Center, with numerous personal bests, 12 new school records, 3 New Balance Nationals Qualifiers, and a Division III Championship from the boys, Walpole Track and Field athletes looked to continue their success in the spring season. This season, the Girls 4x800 and Caroline McGrath both qualified yet again in the Emerging Elite division at New Balance Nationals, this time in Greensboro, North Carolina. In addition, the Girls and Boys Sprint Medley Relays along with Erin Regan as an individual triple jumper reached the qualification standards for the first time.

“Qualifying for Nationals is surreal,” senior Captain Jack O’Meara said. “Track is not a highly publicized sport so it feels good to get the recognition as being one of the top runners in the country.”

At the Division II Relay Meet, the Boys SMR, consisting of junior Shane Grant (800m), senior Captain James Berton (200m), O’Meara (200m), and junior Steve Colleran (400m), clinched their spot at Nationals running a 3:35.92. For Berton, O’Meara, and Colleran, this will be their first Nationals appearance and a second for Grant who qualified individually in the 800m this winter.

Grant runs the lead leg of the SMR.

“Qualifying for Nationals feels like a dream come true,” Berton said, “As of now, the final goal is to place first in the SMR and leave a champion.”

Along with being the anchor leg of the 4x800, senior Captain Caroline McGrath is currently the school record holder for the Indoor Mile, Outdoor Mile, and the 800m. At the Division II Eastern Championship Meet, McGrath ran her best race yet, becoming a Division II Champion by breaking her own school record in the mile, yet again with a time of 4:57.11, the only sub-five-minute time in Walpole High School history. McGrath crushed alumnae Meghan Dwyer’s time of 5:06.48 from 1995, qualifying her for Nationals as well.

McGrath triples in the 800, Mile, and 4x800 at Divisionals.

Similarly, senior Captain Erin Regan has proved her versatility, succeeding in both sprinting and jumping this year. During the winter, Regan broke the record in the 55m dash week after week, bringing the record down from 7.61 to 7.38 seconds. Her second individual record came from the Division II Championship this spring where she jumped 38’6”, defeating Amanda Logan’s record from 1998. Along with destroying a 22 year old record, this jump qualified her for the Emerging Elite division at Nationals. Regan has decided to continue her track and field career at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell for the next four years.

Regan jumps at PR in Triple Jump.

The Girls 4x800 team, kicked off by sophomore Mia Costa followed by freshmen Laine DiMartinis and Cate Stanton, and McGrath ran their fastest time --9:31.57-- at the Coaches Invitational on May 11, earning first place and their ticket to Greensboro, North Carolina.

“Immediately I was shocked when we found out we qualified for Nationals,” DiMartinis said, “I couldn’t believe that we made it again.”

At All States on June 1, the girls placed second, coming in shortly after Boston Latin, with a personal best time of 9:25.23. Their second place finish qualified them for the New England meet on June 8 in Saco, Maine.

C. Stanton passes the baton off to McGrath in the 4x800m relay.

“For the rest of the season, it would be great for our 4x800 team to qualify all the way to All States and New Englands,” Costa said, “It would be a great experience especially for the young athletes on our squad.”

The Girls SMR, led by McGrath (800m), freshman Livia Brooks (200m) along with senior Sanjana Bhagavatula (200m), and freshman Laine DiMartinis (400m), entered the BSC Invite planning on breaking the school record which was 4:32.7 set back in 2006. Despite a last minute lineup change, the SMR crushed the record with a 4:15.78, just under the Nationals Qualifying time of 4:16.00. The SMR team, however, will not be competing at Nationals due to personal conflict.

Bhagavatula, Brooks, DiMartinis and McGrath pose after breaking the school record in the SMR.

At Nationals, which will be held the from June 13 to June 16, Walpole athletes will face some of the greatest in the country. These athletes look forward to the challenge.

“I’m most excited to compete against some of the best relay teams in the country and show everyone watching that our team belongs up there with the best,” Berton said.

Special thanks to David Forester for the amazing pictures. Click the link below https://kennydfotos.smugmug.com/Sports/Walpole-Track-Field-Outdoor-2019 for more of his work!

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