With just four returnees from the top 10, there’s plenty of room for new blood in the Div. 1 Meet of Championships in November.
The top spot, though, should be out of reach for everyone if defending champion Paul Bergeron of Westford Academy is in the race. Bergeron is as strong a favorite as there has been in years and the race could turn into a runaway from the harrier, who will attend Stanford next year.
Bergeron pulled away from his two biggest rivals last year in Sam Burgess of Framingham and Nathan Lopez of St. John’s Prep and he has been training as hard as ever for the fall. It will take a monumental effort to knock Bergeron off his perch and it doesn’t look as though anyone is close enough to challenge him.
That’s not to say there’s limited talent in Div. 1 — it’s loaded. Oliver Ames has a terrific returnee in Brendan Thomas, while Bergeron’s teammate, Jack Graffeo, should be in the top three. Billerica’s Ryan Leslie could also be in the top three.
Defending champion Brookline will be tough to beat with four runners back from the top 35 — Kailas Ciatto, Ben Kasen, P Tejedor Meyers and Ilan Sherman-Kadish — all hungry to repeat their win on the Devens 3.1-mile layout.
There’s a plethora of talent in Eli Merritt and Stephen Goehringer of Wellesley, Davis Haines of Westford Academy, B.C. High’s John Wilson and Chris Larnard, Lowell’s Jack Courtney and Schneider Pierre, Andover’s Ryan Todesco, Patrick Hall of Billerica, Tyler Johnson of Winchester and Gabe Grove of Newton North.
The battle for the Div. 2 crown should come down to four runners — Adam Balewicz of Nashoba Regional, Greater Lowell’s Devin Moreau, Neil Aradhya of Groton Dunstable’s and Norwell’s Thomas Corbett. Norton’s Andrew McConnell and Sean Moore of Danvers, both top-10 finishers last year, should also be close to the top five.
Danvers has three returnees from the top 50 including William Conklin, Jonathan Rooney and Charlie Garlin while Wayland’s Owen Williams and Luke Chisum are back, along with Ludlow’s Joseph Keroack and Logan Walsh, and Carter Rauch and Jonathan Garraway of Bedford. Wakefield’s Michael Arria should be in the top 10, as should Greater Lowell’s Seamuss Tully.
The landscape of Div. 2 also includes quality talent with Zach Metzger of Groton Dunstable, Caleb Barnes of Melrose, Dover-Sherborn’s Jack Almeda, Northampton’s Theodore King-Pollett and Jude Mourad, David Pinero-Jacome of Amherst-Pelham, Burlington’s Colin Irwin, Kyle Kwiatek of St. Mary’s, East Longmeadow’s Charlie Klatka, Spence Deliso of Longmeadow, Ashland’s William Child, Luke Henson of Holliston and Northampton’s Jude Mourad.
In Div. 3, last year’s winner, Aidan Ross of Uxbridge, has moved on, paving the way for Northbridge’s super talent Marcus Reilly. Reilly was second to Ross last year and should have his hands full with Littleton’s Tim Rank. Most of the top 10 are back with Finn O’Hara of Manchester Essex, Parker Charter’s Caleb Hatlevig and Henry Jacobsen and Sha Stanghellini of Sturgis.
Emmett Johnson of Mohawk Trail, Bona Bradshaw of Littleton, Jackson Hung of Hopedale, Uxbridge’s Lincoln Schiller and Andrew Kinkenhoker of Monson finished in the top 15 and should be moving up. Others who ran well last fall and are back are Weston’s James Osborn and Quinn Garry, Cormac Mathews of Lenox, Caiden Sears of Seekonk, Northbridge’s Dylan Reilly, Monument Mountain’s Everett Pacheco, Andrew Petropulos and Oliver Swabey of Mount Greylock, Ben McCarthy of Millis and Falmouth Academy’s Nathan Gartner.