Div. 6 track: South Hadley’s Emma Sanford, Jonas Clarke capture state titles (PHOTOS)

  • South Hadley’s Jonas Clarke competes in the 200-meter dash en route to a victory in 21.36 seconds at the MIAA Division 6 Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Westfield State University on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

  • Hampshire Regional’s Brie Salomao flies through the air en route to a third-place finish in the triple jump at Thursday’ MIAA Division 6 Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Westfield State University. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

  • South Hadley’s Emma Sanford competes in the 800 meters during the girls pentathlon at Thursday’s MIAA Division 6 Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Westfield State University. Sanford won the state title with 2,936 points. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Staff Writer
Published: 5/26/2022 9:03:40 PM

WESTFIELD — Emma Sanford’s day at the track took hours. Jonas Clarke’s lasted a matter of seconds.

Both South Hadley stars were rewarded with state titles for their efforts on Thursday.

Sanford blew away the competition in the girls pentathlon on Day 1 of the MIAA Division 6 Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Westfield State University, while Clarke pulled away from his competitors in the 200-meter dash.

Sanford’s total of 2,936 points was nearly 400 points better than the rest of the field in the pentathlon, which covers the 100-meter hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put and 800 meters. The senior won the first three events and took second in both the shot put and 800 to cap the convincing title.

“I’m really happy,” said Sanford, who admitted she had a hip flexor injury entering the day that she was worried would be impacted by the hurdles. “Once we got started from the blocks in the hurdles, it went away for a bit. I’m assuming that was adrenaline, but I did what I could.”

Sanford’s long day saw her fare well in the high jump, an event she’s familiar with, and also the long jump, one she has less experience competing in.

“I did a lot better than I thought I would (in the high jump) because I haven’t done it a lot,” she said.

As for Clarke, his blistering time of 21.36 seconds in the 200 was just .06 seconds off the meet record, set way back in 1999 set by Scott Kimball of Bridgewater-Raynham (21.30).

“It was one of my best races, and the first one where I kind of went all out since (injuring my hamstring),” said Clarke, who leaned at the tape and had his momentum carry him into a tumble after crossing the line. “Falling there at the end, that shoes the effort that I’ve thrown in this season as a whole.”

Clarke was over a full second faster than the field on Thursday, and it sets him up now for an attempt to sweep the sprints on Saturday when the state meet concludes with the rest of the events and relays. Clarke will run the 100 as the No. 1 seed in the event, and he said the new two-day format which splits the sprinting events across both days is advantageous to his pursuits.

“It’s probably one of the best things that's happened to me,” he said of breaking the events into two days. “In the past, I probably would’ve shut it down the last 50 meters (in the 200) if I was doing both in the same day. In the 100 (on Saturday), I’ll be going for a big time so we’ll see what happens.”

Hampshire Regional’s Brie Salomao took third in the triple jump, posting a top leap of 35 feet, 9¼ inches.

Frontier put both Ayla Starr and Alena Maes-Polan on the podium in the pole vault, as the pair tied for second place at 9 feet, 6 inches.

Frontier’s Jack Vecellio shook off a fall on the last hurdle in the 400-meter hurdles to finish in fifth place, while South Hadley’s Liam Sibley-Welch took fifth overall in the boys pentathlon with 2,460 points.

Hampshire’s Gulian Marconi and Jack Seney were eighth and ninth in the 800 meters.

Day 2 of the competition is set for Saturday afternoon back at Westfield State.

Division 4

At the MIAA Div. 4 Track and Field Championship on Thursday at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, Amherst's Moriah Luetjen earned a third place finish in the 200 with a time of 25.73 seconds. 

Anajisa Robinson took 13th (27.33) and Ruby Austin placed 17th in the event for the Hurricanes. 

Tamar Byl-Brann took seventh in the 800 (2:22.58) and Elizabeth Sawicki took 13th in the 400 hurdles (1:13.54). 

For the Northampton girls, Camilla Brewer took fifth in the triple jump (34-4.75) while Yelena Caldanaro placed 12th in the event (31-7.25). 

Kaiah Gregory earned 10th in the 200 (27.07), Quincy Biddle took 10th in the 400 hurdles (1:12.41) and 23rd in the 800 (2:37.26), Norah Reade took 15th in the 800 (2:37.26), Lila Hensley placed 15th in the 400 hurdles (1:14.8), Esme Marina-Rapoport earned 11th in the 2 mile (11:57.12) and Lily Shimpach took 15th in the 2 mile (12:16.56). 

On the boys side, Amherst's David Pinero-Jacome came in fourth in the 800 (1:59.45). Moniha Krouch took eighth in the discus (120-6), Ryan Yanko placed 11th in the 400 hurdles (1:02.14), Tafari Proctor came in 30th in the 200 (24.66) and Galen HawkOwl took 36th in the 200 (38.22). 

For Northampton, Ryland Breen took 12th in the 200 (23.8), Rowan Hodgson came in 14th in the 200 (23.88) and Jude Mourad placed 16th in the 800 (2:05.18). 

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