Local Talent Performs on International Stage


January 26th, 2019

Boston, MA

Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center

Local Talent Performs on International Stage

Masters Women’s Mile:
At exactly 4:04 Eastern Standard Time, the gun fired for the first ever Women’s Masters Mile at the New Balance Grand Prix. Top seeded Sascha Scott of the USA jumped to the lead from the gun, followed by Jennifer St.Jean of New York's Central Park TC. Boston Athletic Association runners Kaela O’Neil and Karolyn Bowley worked together throughout the race, staying within 10 meters of Scott for the first 1000m. After that, Scott’’s speed did not falter, allowing her to cross the line in an impressive 5:01.32. Running a 5:08.91 and a 5:10.91 respectively, O’Neil and Bowley ran impressive races. The two Unicorns finished 3rd and 4th behind Scott and St. Jean.   


Master Men’s Mile:
Representing New England in this year’s Men’s Masters Mile were HFC Strider’s Lee Danforth and TJ Unger, and Western Massachusetts Distance Project’s Dan Smith. This trio toed the line to face off against international talent from Ireland, Canada, Sweden and France. Running as one large pack of New Englanders, Unger, Smith and Danforth worked together until about 1400 meters, when Unger pulled away from Smith and Danforth. Holding a steady last lap, Smith closed with a 32 second lap, with Danforth closing in 35. Unger, Smith and Danforth went 3-4-5 behind winner Mark O’Shea of Ireland and runner-up Stefan Lingmerth of Sweden.

Top 5 results:
1. Mark O'Shea (IRE) 4:28.35
2. Stefan Lingmerth (SWE) 4:28.95
3. TJ Unger (USA,MA) 4:29.2
4. Dan Smith (USA,MA) 4:32.26
5. Lee Danforth (USA,MA) 4:35.61


Mixed Youth 4x200:
The Mixed Youth Relay Team featured 6 local New England Association clubs. Handing off girl-boy-girl-boy, the finish order was Waltham Track Club, Providence Cobras, Haverhill Elite, Metropolis, Greater Lowell Road Runners, and Boston United.


High School Boy’s SMR:

The High School Boy’s Sprint Medley Relay featured five Massachusetts high schools - Brockton, Lexington, Newton North, Northampton, and Amherst - and St Joseph's by the Sea from New York. Taking the crown were the Newton North Tigers, edging Northampton by just 0.61 seconds. Looking into the future, the team of two juniors and two seniors are looking to earn the All State title later this season.

Junior Women’s Mile:

The junior women’s mile featured four New Englanders: Grace Connolly, Lucy Jenks, and Sarah Roffman of Massachusetts and Nikki Merrill of Rhode Island. According to event champion Morgan Foster of Arizona, the race started out slow since nobody wanted to take the lead, a sentiment seconded by Connolly. Entering the last lap, Foster, Connolly, and a few others knew they had energy left due to the slow start and began to pick up the pace. Somewhere on the penultimate bend, Connolly was clipped from behind and lost a shoe. Due to this unfortunate circumstance, Connolly was unable to step on the gas in the last 170 but was still the fastest New England finisher in 4:51.78, good for 4th overall. Fun Fact: Grace Connolly and winner Morgan Foster will be teammates next year at Stanford.    

New England Finishers:

4. Grace Connolly (Natick MA) 4:51.78

5. Lucy Jenks (Newton MA) 4:51.88

8. Sarah Roffman (Littleton MA) 4:57.72

9. Nikki Merrill (Portsmouth RI) 4:59.7

Other New England Notes:
Current Harvard senior Gabby Thomas - who turned pro after her junior year in college- placed second in the 300m, crossing the line in a 37.03. When asked if she missed competing in college meets, she said she did. Thomas explained that other pros all told her that if they had another year of eligibility, they would have taken it.


Sam Ellison of the B.A.A raced in the 800 meters, placing 4th in 1:46.64. Besides getting tripped off stride in the fianl 150 meters, Ellison said he was happy with the race, as the time was his best indoor opener ever. Next up for Sam: The Millrose Games in New York City.

Please email any comments of corrections to tmazza@usatfne.org