, Salem, MA

February 24, 2014

Swampscott's Mahoney, SJP's Luongo win titles

By Matt Williams
Staff writer

---- — A week earlier, Swampscott senior Matt Mahoney missed the Division 4 meet 2-mile record by about half a second.

At the All-State Championships held at Reggie Lewis Center Saturday, he was thrilled just to get back to the top of the podium.

Mahoney won his first state title by taking the 2-mile in 9:17.02. His time set a new Swampscott High record.

“I was really happy, even surprised,” said Mahoney, who finished 14th in the same race as a junior in 9:44. “Last year I could not have seen myself being able to win this race.”

As a senior, Mahoney has blossomed into a dominant distance runner. He won the NEC cross country title and finished in the top-10 at D2 XC All-States. The 2-mile is suited to his strengths, and he ran a negative split Saturday while clearing his second mile in 4:36.

“Matt ran a very sound race,” said Swampscott coach Jeff Bartlett. “He made a move in the middle of the race when no one else wanted to. By the time the rest of the field figured it out, he was too far ahead.”

Mahoney’s time qualifies him for both the New England Championships and the championship section of the 2-mile at nationals. Saturday he pulled ahead with about 3/4’s of a mile to go and didn’t look back.

“I felt comfortable through the first mile,” said Mahoney. “I was hoping for a new (personal) best time, so all I wanted was to be under 9:19. I’m really happy.”

The area’s other state champ did set a meet record at sectionals and capped off his season with a title. St. John’s Prep junior Joe Luongo aced the field in the 600 in 1:20.79. At the Eastern Mass. D1 meet, his record breaking time was 1:20.05 (the No. 2 time in the US this year and all-time in Mass). The junior from North Reading was thrilled to take home gold, and will be competing at both New England’s and nationals looking to take down the state record (1:19.94).

“He handled the race really well,” said St. John’s coach Ray Carey. “It wasn’t a normal training week for him so he went out a bit slow, but he’s like a horse finishing races. He’s a big strong kid and he really drives to that finish line. This was his third race under 1:21 in the last three weeks.”

Prep senior Evan Dombrowski was second in the shot put with a heave of 55-feet-6-inches and the Eagles finished fifth in the team standings with 22 points. Big Blue senior Justin Chasse threw a personal best 49-feet-8-inches to finish ninth in the shot as well.

Swamspcott’s Noah Conti ran 1:25.78 in the 600 and Masconomet’s Dan Raphael turned in a time of 1:25.95. In the mile, Marblehead sophomore A.J. Ernst ran 4:23.57 and finished eighth.

In the 2-mile, St. John’s senior Tim Loehner was fifth in 9:27.11 and Peabody senior Drew Fossa was seventh in 9:31. Tanner freshman Marcelo Rocha ran 9:44 in his first indoor all-state competition and Hamilton-Wenham’s Matt Gillis ran 10:19.

In the girls championship, Beverly’s 4x800 relay was the top local finisher in fifth place. Nicole Demars, Keely Higgins, Abby Walsh and Caitlin Harty combined to run 9:36.14, beating Weymouth by a nose for a spot in the top-5.

Marblehead’s Paige Ferrucci ran 3:07 in the 1000 and Ipswich’s Emily DeMarco ran 3:08. Beverly’s Jessica Goodall ran 3:23.

In the girls mile, Marblehead’s Janaya Randall was sixth in 5:08 while Hamilton-Wenham junior Emily Weigand was ninth in 5:11. Beverly freshman Abby Walsh was 12th in 5:15 and teammate Julianna Wesley ran 5:28. Peabody senior Toni Pagliuca ran 11:31 and placed 13th in the 2-mile.

Sophomore Kerry Hull jumped 5-2 in the high jump and finished 11th for H-W. Weigand also anchored the 4x800 relay team for the Generals that finished 18th. Emily Horgan, Kristen Heffernan and Jeanine Xheng also ran with Weigand in the relay.

Salem’s Deema Hijleh competed int he 55-meter dash as well.