Div. 4 track: Amherst’s Moriah Luetjen wins 400-meter state title

Staff Writer 
Published: 5/30/2022 9:19:43 PM

HINGHAM — Amherst’s Moriah Luetjen is still just a freshman, but she ran the race of her life on Monday to earn her first state title at the MIAA Division 4 Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Already a medalist in the 200-meter dash, where she placed third with a 25.73 on Thursday, Luetjen blew by her opponents in the final heat of the 400-meter dash in what her coach Christopher Gould called a “breakthrough” performance. Luetjen crossed the line with a time of 58.06, a full 2.82 seconds faster than her seed time; she was ranked fifth heading into the event. 

“I don't think it's really sunk in yet to be honest. But it's really exciting,” Luetjen said on her title. “I definitely knew the 200 (meter) mark is where I definitely decided to drive. Before then I was just kind of like fine, keeping a good pace, and then pushed through at the end.”

While Luetjen was the only local individual champion at the meet, there were a few other standout performances from the Northampton and Amherst contingents.

Northampton distance running phenom Riley Cole finished second in the 1-mile with at 4:20.96, dueling Nashoba’s Freddy Collins in a rematch of last year’s mile race. Collins managed to outkick Cole in the final straightaway, but the two were neck and neck most of the race and will face off again later this week at the All-State Championship meet at Westfield State University. 

“Obviously I really wanted that win… I felt pretty confident going into it, because I've been very prepared in the heat. I don't know why, I haven’t done any crazy training in Florida or anything, but last year, I was really good in the heat, that’s when I ran my PR. And I think it definitely helped again today,” Cole said. “I tried to run pretty comfortably, just not trying to exert myself too much until I was confident that I could surpass him, and then knowing that the pack was pretty far behind.”

Amherst’s The Savior Robinson also secured a top-three finish in the long jump, just barely edged out of a second-place finish by a quarter of an inch. Robinson leaped 20-9.5 feet for third place, his highest showing at an outdoor state meet. He’ll also get a chance at redemption at the All-State meet – though he was pleased with his finish, he wanted to break 21 feet, and thought he could have improved his performance on Monday. Since late April, Robinson has adjusted his technique for his long jump approach. 

“How I jump, the way I do it is I just start off full speed. But ever since my Agawam meet, I kind of changed my jumping style and I started taking a couple strides before my jump,” Robinson said. “I feel like that (20-9.5), it felt like a 21, to be honest. But it's not too bad, so I feel pretty good.”

Amherst also had several standout relay performances, most notably from its 4x800-meter boys team, which jumped from a No. 5 ranking to a runner-up finish with a time of 8:13.39, a full 26 seconds faster than their seed time of 8:39.00.

The Hurricanes’ 4x400 boys relay also placed third with a time of 3:31.76, anchored by Miguel and David Pinero-Jacome, who were also a part of the 4x800 relay just two events prior along with Kyle Yanko and Aidan Bergeron. Patrick Staudenmayer and Tafari Proctor ran on the 4x400 squad.

Miguel Pinero-Jacome also placed ninth in the individual 400 meter dash (52.46), and Isabel Rich placed fifth in the pentathlon for the Hurricanes.

Amherst’s girls 4x400 relay team of Brooklyn Court, Marisol Bonifaz, Elizabeth Sawicki and Maya Tkachenko ended the meet on a high note with a second place finish, crossing the line in 4:11.75. 

Five of Northampton’s six relay teams cracked the top 10 to finish off day two of the meet. The boys 4x100 relay (45.04) and 4x400 relay (3:35.12) both placed sixth. The girls’ 4x800 relay team (10:39.61) finished eighth, as did the girls’ 4x400 team (4:17.25). The boys’ 4x800 meter relay (8:49.97) placed ninth overall. 

As a team, the Hurricanes tied for 10th on the girls’ side with 30 points and placed 12th on the boys’ side (26 points). Northampton’s boys team tied for 15th (15 points) and the girls team finished 26th (6 points).

Division 5

Aidan Clancy's ninth-place finish in the 100-meter dash propelled the Belchertown contingent at the MIAA Division 5 Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Monday in Weston.

Clancy crossed in 11.56 seconds, finishing just one place out of a spot in the 100-meter finals.

Teammate Francisco Moreira was 14th in the event (11.67), while Belchertown's Logan Lacroix took 22nd in the 400 meters (56.23).

The Orioles had two relay teams compete on Monday. The 4x800-meter quartet of Nicholas Rivers, Ty O'Donnell, Brandon Adamson and Evan Harrington nabbed 15th overall (9:39.33) and the 4x400 relay squad of Caiden St. Laurent, Sam Hunt, Evan Harrington and Lacroix wound up 19th (3:55.82).

Belchertown finished 29th as a team, amassing eight points on the boys side. The girls team did not score in the meet.

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