After a year away from national competition, members of the Concord-Carlisle boys and girls outdoor track and field teams competed in two different national championship meets, one on the East Coast and one on the West.
Much of the team competed from June 15-18 at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, the site of the Penn Relays, while some seniors on C-C’s girls team made the trip to Eugene, Oregon, to compete in the Nike Outdoor Nationals at another iconic venue, Hayward Field, also from June 15-18.
In Philadelphia, competing as the Patriot Athletic Club, the 4×1-mile relay team of seniors Ray Pavlik, Charlie Kessler, Harrison Dow and Henry Reichle placed fourth in 17 minutes and 37 seconds to earn All-America honors.
Competing in the seeded heat, the C-C team was in the lead off and on throughout the race before placing fourth. The top six teams earn All-American recognition. The quartet’s time was also good enough to place first at the Nike meet.
“They have excellent team dynamics and an excellent work ethic,” said Mary McCabe, C-C’s distance coach. “They’re all running in college and they all did well at the (MIAA) Meet of Champions.
“I always emphasize how important it is to be prepared and stay prepared and I think they were well-prepared. They just kept showing up every day, for themselves, for one another, and doing the work. It was my great pleasure to work with them.”
Said Kessler, “It’s a very even group. We all train at the same speed. We push each other a lot. This was just a super experience and we got to end our high school careers on a high note.”
Historically, C-C has done well in distance relays. In addition to the success of the 4×1-mile, the 4×800 meter team of Tate Becker, Pavlik, Kessler and Reichle placed 37th in 7:39.
“We value relays,” McCabe said. “It’s great watching the kids compete as a team as part of a smaller team.”
Added Kessler, “We’ve always had successful distance runners. Mary McCabe does a lot of work getting us ready.”
Competing at Franklin Field, which is more than a century old and the host of the prestigious Penn Relays, was an experience Kessler said he would never forget.
“The crowd was unbelievable,” he said. “Racing in front of that kind of crowd in a place that has that kind of history was really cool.”
The time away from the track also helped the team achieve what it did.
“We spent a lot of time together in the hotel,” Kessler said. “Through the year, we’ve gotten to know each other really well.”
In Oregon, the girls 4×800 team of Jackie White, Maggie Stevens, Fiona Martinelli and Caroline Graziani placed 13th in a season-best 9:38.
Back in Philadelphia, junior Charlotte DiRocco placed 15th in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 5 ¾ inches.
Junior Ali Saunders finished 27th in the javelin with a best throw of 117-8.