WESTFIELD >> Two Berkshire County athletes earned the ability to continue their track seasons with strong performances at the MIAA All-State track meet at Westfield State University on Saturday.
Lenox's Shannon Meisberger was the highest Berkshire County finisher, placing second in the 400-meter hurdle in 1 minute, 4.08 seconds. The time was a new personal best for the Millionaire. By placing in the top six, Meisberger qualifies for the New England track meet, June 11 at Veterans Stadium in New Britain, Conn.
Wahconah's Matt Lighten also sprinted to the New England meet, placing sixth in the 100-meter dash in 11.17 seconds.
Meanwhile, Drury's Connor Meehan finished 14th in the 800-meter run (1:57.68). The Monument Mountain girls 1600-meter relay team placed 12th in 4:04.24, setting a new best time and a record for Berkshire County teams at the meet.
The Mount Greylock girls 3200-meter relay team finished 22nd (10:03.78), Lenox's Maggie Sorrentino finished 20th in the one-mile run (5:33.14), and Wahconah's Sean Harvey and Meisberger finished outside the top eight in the 110 and 100-meter hurdles, respectively.
For Meisberger, nearly earning a state title in the 400 hurdles marks a season of strong progress for the junior. Meisberger said at previous state meets she was in the first heat as a freshman, before moving into the second heat and finally running in the highest-seeded heat this season.
"It was great day. The PR was great, wasn't the PR I was looking for, but still a great day," she said. "It's so nice to be here. Every year I go here I get a little bit better."
If Meisberger continues to progress, a state title could be in her future. For someone who said she wasn't much of an athlete growing up, leaping over hurdles seems to be her calling.
"When I was younger I was never good at any sports," she said. "Then it was like — I'm good at track. ... When I told my parents I was doing hurdles they doubted me, but I'm here."
Lighten did not improve on his seed time, but he had just enough speed to qualify for the New England meet. With a chance to compete again, Lighten said he's going to continue to work on improving.
"I had my mind set on finishing sixth and above," he said. "I need my block start to be better, and I need to work on my turnover to get faster."
In the 800-meter run, Meehan used his speed to jump to the head of the pack. Meehan had the lead near the end of the first lap, but he lost some steam, eventually falling back. Meehan did not achieve the time he wanted, but he executed his game plan on the track.
"We talked about it all week that I had to get out good," he said. "I had a good start, but I just couldn't finish the race off. A couple guys went [ahead] and I didn't have the speed in my legs to go today.
"[Starting fast] puts pressure on myself. I can hear them behind me, but I went out and dictated the pace of the race at the beginning."
Monument's Meri Powell also started off quick in the 1600-meter rely, handing the baton to Aubrey Blanchard with a slight lead on the competition. The team did not qualify for New England, but the chemistry that started on the soccer field translated well to the track.
"It was really fun," Allison Kinne said. "It's great to be with people that you love, doing something that you love together."
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252