FITCHBURG — After being sick with a cold all week, Ryan Sarney showed up with his Oliver Ames teammates for the MIAA Division 3 track and field state championship at Fitchburg State’s Elliot Field and said he “wasn’t expecting to do anything special.”
Then, with teammate Brendan Thomas running by his side, Sarney put in a strong final lap in the 2-mile run and posted a winning time of 9 minutes, 6.68 minutes. Thomas wasn’t far behind (9:06.87) in second as both smashed the previous meet record (9:09).
“He was the reason I ran that time,” Sarney said of Thomas. “He was right behind me, he was the one who pushed me. I wouldn’t have run that time without Brendan. I’m so happy we’re together. That was crazy, we both just ran the races of our lives.”
Thomas lamented about his teammate’s impending graduation from Oliver Ames, but cherished their last opportunities to race side-by-side.
“We’re always doing workouts together,” Thomas said. “We all run together every single day, it’s become a strong bond.”
The two runners saw the clock over eight minutes as they crossed the line to start their final lap, but just kept pushing each other and surprised each other with the effort.
“I’m never going to forget this moment, this race,” Sarney said. “It’s definitely one for the books. Great way to close out my year wearing an OA singlet. I’m really happy with what I did and what my teammate did.”
Entering Saturday, Westborough (49 points) lead the boys’ teams, with Oliver Ames and Duxbury (26 each) tied for second. On the girls’ side, Billerica (31) holds a narrow lead over Milton (30) and Mansfield (29).
▪ It was a dominant performance in the pentathlon for Billerica sophomore Nyrah Joseph, who finished first in four of the events and second in the long jump. Her 3035 points cleared second place by over 500.
“It feels really good,” she said. “Knowing I won hurdles, one of my main events. For high jump I tied… Shotput I’m not usually that good. I’m really excited because I got a PR. The 800 was so unexpected.”
It’s the first time Joseph has topped the scoresheet in four events, but not her first time winning pentathlon. She made it two wins in two years for outdoor state championships, and will look to improve her sixth-place finish at all-states.
“All the work that I did really paid off,” Joseph said. “I’m really happy that I ended up at the level where my coaches know I can.”
▪ Stoughton junior Alex Huynh took the boys’ pentathlon, registering a 3099 to hold on over Wakefield’s top-seeded junior Joseph Patt (3017). Huynh burst into the lead with wins in the long jump and high jump, and kept close enough in the 1500-meter to clinch it.
“I was planning to win long jump because that’s my main event,” he said. “The high jump was a surprise along with [fourth place in] the hurdles. Getting top-five in each of those was a decent surprise, but I’m just glad I got the win.”
Following the winter season, Huynh tried his hand at hurdles and fared well enough that his coaches introduced him to the pentathlon. He “fell in love” with it.
“It’s amazing, all the hard work paid off,” Huynh said. “I practice, I’m not skipping a day. All the small scale stuff for the field events, I’m glad to come out with this.”
In the boys’ competition, Westborough (31 points) led Oliver Ames (26); and on the girls’ side, Milton (22) held a slim lead over Billerica (21) and OA (18).
MIAA Division 3 Championship
at Fitchburg State University
200m — 1. Gavin Thomas, Duxbury, 0:22.54; 2. Donald Kuloba, West Springfield, 0:22.61; 3. Noah Brathwaite, Minnechaug, 0:22.66.
400m hurdles — 1. Daniel Ward, Greater New Bedford, 0:56.89; 2. Evan Rawlins, Mansfield, 0:57.3; 3. Moses Mann, Milton, 0:58.
800m — 1. Jake Boudreau, Duxbury, 1:57.39; 2. Aidan Dupill, Oliver Ames, 1:58.53; 3. Talon Johnson, Mansfield, 1:58.67.
2-mile — 1. Ryan Sarney, Oliver Ames, 9:06.67; 2. Brendan Thomas, Oliver Ames, 9:06.87; 3. Ryan Leslie, Billerica, 9:09.52.
Pole vault — 1. Alan Nguyen, Westborough, 12 feet 0 inches; 2. Daniel Velez, Westborough, 11-6; 3. Reese Condon, Westborough, 10-6.
Triple jump — 1. Liam Faherty, Milton, 44 feet 0.25 inches; 2. Elijah Wisdom, Sharon, 43-4.25; 3. Antonio Adams, Westfield, 41-9.5.
Pentathlon — 1. Alex Huynh, Stoughton, 3099 points; 2. Joseph Patt, Wakefield, 3017; 3. Oliver Bishop, Duxbury, 2772.
200m — 1. Abigail Scott, Mansfield, 0:25.37; 2. Grace Okocha, Oliver Ames, 0:25.6; 3. Shayla Ford, Stoughton, 0:25.92.
400m hurdles — 1. Cadence L’Heureux, Melrose, 1:05.67; 2. Brianna Phelan, Billerica, 1:05.84; 3. Caroline Kelleher, Westwood, 1:07.98.
800m — 1. Katie O’Toole, Milton, 2:21.15; 2. Tea Pagnotti, Westwood, 2:21.54; 3. Emily Burdick, Billerica, 2:23.2.
2-mile — 1. Megan Moran, Westfield, 11:05.35; 2. Marrietta O’Connell, Marblehead, 11:08.55; 3. Gianna McGowan, Billerica, 11:18.31.
Triple jump — 1. Frankie Spagna, Mansfield, 36 feet 4.5 inches; 2. Athena Cusson, Chicopee, 35-3.5; 3. Marissa Daley, North Attleborough, 34-9.
Discus — 1. Sophia Axelrod, Walpole, 126 feet 2 inches; 2. Maria Fareti, Chicopee, 105-11; 3. Emily Hesketh, Silver Lake, 104-0.
Pentathlon — 1. Nyrah Joseph, Billerica, 3035 points; 2. Elyssa Buchanan, Mansfield, 2479; 3. Athena Cusson, Chicopee, 2426.
AJ Traub can be reached at email@example.com.