By Nick Curcuru
---- — With seven individual competitors and three relay teams, the Manchester Essex track team is sending a record number of participants to today’s Division 4 State meet.
Not only will the Hornets be sending a large quantity of athletes to square off against the best Division 4 has to offer, they also have several quality runners that have a chance to pick up some points.
Leading the way for Manchester Essex is sophomore Olivia Lantz, who is the top seed in the girls’ mile entering the meet with a time of 5:03.39, which is the third best time in the entire state this winter. Lantz is the heavy favorite to take home the mile and move on to next weekend’s All State meet as the second-seeded time is 5:09.
Lantz won the Division 4 mile in 2012 as a freshman and went on to finish third in the All State Meet.
“Olivia has a goal of breaking 5:00,” head coach John Barbour said. “She is a self-motivated athlete and she has shown that she has the mental and physical toughness to run a fast race on her own should that be how the race develops.”
Junior Fiona Davis is looking to make a return trip to the All State in the two mile as she enters today’s meet as the event’s No. 10 seed. The top three finishers from each division qualify for next week’s All State meet along with the next 12 lowest times from the four divisions combined. Davis placed sixth last season, and her time (11:48.89) was strong enough to qualify for the All State meet.
Davis is looking to best her qualifying time of 11:48 this season.
“He goal is to make the All State me and she reasons that she will need to run 11:35 to make it this time,” Barbour said. “She’s certainly fit enough to do that with a smart and well run race.”
Senior John Beardsley will be competing in the 300m with a run at the school’s record time in mind. Beardsley’s top time is 38.98, the school record is 38.33. Barbour says Beardsley is peaking at the right time.
Joining Beardsley on the boys side is the duo of Cam Holley and Nathan Evans, a sophomore and freshman respectively, in the 1,000m. Holley and Evans were the Hornets top duo in the Cape Ann League Championships earlier this month finishing in third and fifth place respectively. Both are looking to build off of that momentum.
“Cam and Nate are two of the best in the state for their age,” Barbour said. “Despite this being thee first full year of track training for both of them, they run with confidence, poise, toughness and maturity. They may be young but they will have an impact in this race.
John is set out to challenge Joe O’Neil’s school record that was set last year. After being sick for a week earlier in the season he has looked strong in workouts leading up to this meet.”
Eighth grader Evelyn Lantz and junior Sarah Lewiecki will also be competing on the girls side in the 1,000m. The Hornets will also be sending the 4x400girls relay team comprised on Charlotte Freed, Jenny Cochand, Phoebe Biggar, Rachel Daley and Samantha Woodman along with the 4x800 girls relay team of Lantz, Davis, Lewiecki and Niamh Dalton. The 4x800 pair enters the meet as the No. 14 seed.
Beardsley, Sam Nesbit, Troy Ciarametaro and Luke O’Neil will make up the boys 4x400 relay team.