Billerica’s Joseph, St. John’s Prep’s Bezanson win pentathlon titles

FITCHBURG — Day one of the MIAA Meet of Champions on Thursday at Fitchburg State University was punctuated by a dramatic run in the final event of the girls pentathlon.

Defending champion Nyrah Joseph from Billerica and Franklin’s Sarah Dumas came into the 800 meters separated by only 78 points, setting up an ultimate head-to-head showdown.

Unfortunately, with one misstep in a turn, the duel was over. Dumas was disqualified for clipping a cone, leaving Joseph to cruise home to a second straight Meet of Champions crown.

“This is amazing,” Joseph said. “It was awesome to compete against someone like Sarah because she makes you and the other people better.”

Dumas began the day with a win in the 100 hurdles with Joseph finishing in third.

Next up for the girls was the high jump, where Joseph recorded a personal best of 5 feet, 5 inches that equated to 795 points. North Reading’s Callie MacLellan was second while Dumas came home fourth.

The long jump was again a showcase for Joseph as she leapt 17-6.75 to help open up a 135-point lead over Dumas and 203 over MacLellan with two events left.

Dumas got ground back in the shot put as her throw of 35-4.75 beat Joseph and Westford’s Alin Aydogan was third.

The boys pentathlon was dominated by St. John’s Prep senior Aithan Bezanson.

His first-place finishes in the 110 hurdles, shot put and high jump coupled with a second in the 1,500 meters helped him overcome St. John’s (Shrewsbury) standout Antonio Waite and Prep teammate Lincoln Massaro.

One of the standout individual efforts on Thursday came from North Reading’s Giuliana Ligon in the 400 hurdles. The defending meet champion backed up her performance in last weekend’s state final by blasting a talented field. Her time of 58.97 was a new meet record and the best in the state this season and fourth in the nation.

Another came in the boys two mile where Westford Academy’s Paul Bergeron and Jack Graffeo demolished the field.

Bergeron came in with a personal best of 8:51.88 and demolished it with a 8:43.86. It was the best in the state. Graffeo was no slowpoke either as he finished in 8:52.76.

It was a race that saw the Westford teammates post the first and third best times in the country this season and six of the top 15 in the U.S.

“I kind of felt it as the race went on and with a lap to go, I gave it everything I had because I knew it could be history,” Bergeron said.

Maybe the most dramatic moment of the day came in the boys 400 hurdles where Acton-Boxboro’s Noah Stegmeyer led until the final hurdle where he stumbled and hit the track. Brockton’s Jarred Mighty capitalized and edged out Westford’s Ryan Kyle for the win.

Westford did have a winner in Abby Hennessy, who backed up a win in the D1 meet with a win on Thursday in the 800. The boys 800 had a spectacular final 100 meters as Wachusett’s Dylan Brenn worked his way through traffic and swung outside in the stretch to out kick Ludlow’s Logan Walsh and Weston’s Ben Tavares to the line.

Sharon’s Nina Kyei-Aboyage set a meet record and a state best time of 23.97 in a dominant performance in the 200 meters.

Another state best time came in the girl two mile. After a five-runner battle for most of the way, Belmont’s Dana Lehr put the hammer down in the final lap to clock a 10:36.51. Second place Greta Hammer of Needham and third place Sophia Juanes Seto recorded the second and third best times in the state as well.

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