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July 9, 2014

Trio of local track standouts earn Junior All-America status at Track Nationals

Three local track and field standouts each received Junior All-America Honors at the Track Junior Nationals in Eugene, Oregon this past weekend.

Heather MacLean of Peabody, who just completed her freshman year at UMass Amherst, as well as Ipswich’s Sarah Keiran and Drew Piazza from Danvers (both of whom are University of New Hampshire student-athletes) achieved these accolades.

Keiran finished in sixth place in the 3000 meter steeplechase. Piazza and MacLean both took sixth place as well in their respective 800 meter events.

The two-day event, held at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus, featured top track and field athletes under the age of 20 from across the country.

“I was very surprised to be a Junior All-American. It was so much fun,” said Keiran. “Three of us from UNH along with our coach went out together. One of my teammates, Elinor Purrier, won my event, (so) it was a very successful trip for all three of us.

“I didn’t have any time I was aiming for in (particular); I was racing for experience for future big meets.”

With her Wildcats hoping to qualify for NCAAs in cross country this fall, Keiran — who just began competing in the steeplechase this year — said this was excellent preparation for the upcoming season.

Piazza was fifth in the preliminary race in a time of 1:50.14 and took sixth in the finals in 1:51.06.

MacLean finished second in the preliminary event in 2:07.21 and sixth in the finals in 2:08.98. MacLean broke her own school record in the preliminary round, a mark she had set this spring.

The former Peabody High standout, who had a great freshman year of college track for the Minutemen, is looking to stay healthy next year for all three seasons.

“I’m really happy with my time and place,” said MacLean. “I can’t remember what my personal best 800 was this spring, but it I shaved some time off in the preliminary event. Paolo Tavares of New Bedford went out there with me and he was sixth in the steeplechase, so it was a good performance for UMass. We hung out with Sarah and Drew quite a bit. It was such a nice track and an amazing experience.

“I’m finally able to go home for a while, and after I take a little time off I’ll start to train for cross country. This past year I got tendonitis after my first race and missed the rest of the season. I want to stay healthy all the way through this time, and am hoping to do some different events.”

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