, Salem, MA

June 15, 2013

Beverly girls relay fourth at Nationals, Peabody boys also run strong

The Salem News

---- — The Beverly girls 4x800 relay team was just happy to qualify for the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, but the girls didn’t run like they were satisfied.

MaryCate Flaherty, Nicole Demars, Madison Shropshire and Keely Higgins ran their best time of the season — 9:37.46 — to take fourth place in the Emerging Elites in Greensboro, N.C. yesterday morning.

“Their best time of the season had been 9:43 going in, so this was a nice improvement,” veteran Beverly head coach Dave Jellerson said. “It’s kind of hard. You hope (the competition will push them), but it’s late in the season and after graduations. You hope for it, but you never know.”

The fourth-place finish meant the team earned medals, a great experience for one senior (Shropshire) and three juniors.

“They were just excited to qualify and go down and run,” Jellerson said. “They were hoping to improve on their time — and picking up medals was nice.”

The boys on the Peabody track team didn’t intend to go the Greensboro for just one race at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals at North Carolina A&T University, with the majority of the athletes doubling and tripling in various events with success.

A day of competition that began at 9 a.m. and ended at 10 p.m. saw several highlights for the Tanners. The 4x100 relay of Zach Gross, Christian Cedullo, Steve Villani and Chris Cennami finished 12th in the Emerging Elite class in 44.14; Then, Gross, Cedullo, Villani and Scott Myers placed 21st in the Emerging Elite 4x200 with a time of 1:34.30. Cennami, meanwhile, placed 18th in the Emerging Elite 100 meter dash (11.06).

In the 1500 meter medley, Villani, Cennami, Myers and Ben Braz combined for a time of 3:40.6, good for 16th in the Emerging Elite class.

The Tanners also were top 15 in the Emerging Elite 800 medley, as Cennami, Cedullo, Myers and Tommy Drover ran 1:36.70 for 12th place.

“We had a very good day. We had many strong performances, and to have five top-20 finishes in eight events is pretty cool,” Peabody coach Fernando Braz said. “There were a lot of impressive splits and personal bests. The guys saved the best for last.”

Peabody’s only Championship level competitor was junior Drew Fossa, who ran the 5000 and finished 37th with a time of 15:24. It was the second fastest outdoor 5K time ever run by a Peabody athlete.

“That was the race of the meet so far. The kid who won, a kid from Illinois, scorched the national record by about 20 seconds and I believe there were 12 kids who ran under 15 minutes,” said Braz. “Drew got the 2-mile mark in what would have been a PR, and finished with a great resume for this year.”

In the open class, Drover was 22nd in the javelin, throwing 144-4 and Doug Connolly was 19th in the high jump, clearing 6-foot-2.

Fossa may run the 2-mile today, depending on his recovery from the 5K, and Peabody’s girls compete today and tomorrow. Senior Catarina Rocha runs in the championship 2-mile tonight while Heather MacLean competes in the 800 tomorrow, along with the 4xMile relay and shot putter Pam Zabala.

Kelly Roland finished third in the javelin at 118-feet for Marblehead.