FITCHBURG >> There is winning a race, then there is putting your stamp on one.
Wahconah's Matt Lighten and Drury's Connor Meehan made sure to do the latter on Saturday, breaking the meet records in 100 meter dash and 800, respectively, at the MIAA Central/West Division II Track and Field Championships.
Lighten won the 100 in 11.09 seconds, and in the process topped Lamont Gooden's record 11.22-second run from 2013 — a time he had his eyes on since last year's sectional meet.
"Yeah, it feels great," Lighten said of winning. "I wanted to do it last year, but I ran the 200 instead. I like the feeling of it. Especially as a sophomore beating it."
Lighten and Meehan were joined in the winner's category by Wahconah's Sean Harvey, who took first in the 400 hurdles in 58.43 at Fitchburg State University. Shannon Meisberger, meanwhile, recorded a sweep in the hurdles for the Lenox girls, running the 100 hurdles in 15.37 and the 400 hurdles in 1:04.8.
Lighten actually broke Gooden's record twice at the meet. So did Holy Name's Kevin Mensah and Auburn's Tom Anderson.
Lighten just managed to do it faster.
In the preliminary races, all three topped 11.22 in different heats. Anderson ran the first heat in 11.14, Mensah matched the 11.14 in the third heat, then Lighten ran an 11.10 in the fourth. In the finals, Lighten beat out Mensah by .03 seconds in setting the 11.09 mark, while Anderson was third.
"Don't pay attention to the seed times," said Lighten on how he prepared for the day. "I was seeded ninth, so that shows that anybody can come up no matter what."
Lighten also ran in the 4-by-400 relay, helping the Warriors to a fourth-place finish in 3:37.88.
For Meehan, his job was simple. As the lone Drury boy to qualify for the meet, the junior just had to come in and do his thing — and he did.
Meehan finished in 1:56.58, beating out Mohawk's Cam Olynak (1:57.53) and Uxbridge's Jackson Wright (1:59.06).
"I ran a good time last week, which kind of set me off on a good foot," said Meehan. "I hadn't been hitting the times I wanted to in the regular season, but I was able to build some confidence last week.
"I came in knowing that if I ran my race, I should be able to have a good finish."
He broke Jason Dimmick's 1:59.23 mark, set in 2014.
The finish was not a personal best for Meehan, but he was happy with how he held off Olynak's attempts to overtake him.
"About 500 [meters] in, I could hear [Olynak] behind me, so I was like 'ok I have to get going,'" said Meehan. "Then my coach is yelling 'he's right on your tail, he's right on your tail!' He pushed me real hard, but I was able to get him at the end. It was a good race."
Meisberger had perhaps the busiest and most productive day of any county athlete. She set a new personal record in the 100 hurdles, running a 15:37 in the finals to beat out Uxbridge's Emily Roxo and Pope Francis' Alexandra Gonet, respectively. Meisberger finished second behind Gonet in the prelims.
"I didn't feel good during the race about my 100 hurdles, but afterwards I was like 'what did I get?' expecting a bad time," said Meisberger. "Then my coach told me and I was like 'oh, PR!'"
The junior also took the 400 hurdles, winning in 1:04.8 to beat out Grafton's Lauren Eddy. She led a county-heavy top 8, as Monument Mountain's Allison Kinne finished fourth in 1:09.19 and Mount Greylock's Ella Dudley finished eighth in 1:10.97. Then, in the final event of the meet, Meisberger helped the 4-by-400 relay team to fourth overall in 4:17.38.
With the thermometer rising above 90 degrees throughout the day, Meisberger came in fearing the worst for her performances.
"Among the team, I've made it no secret that I like about 50 degree weather to 60 degree weather," said Meisberger. "For me, heat is not my friend. Whenever it gets hot, I like to think about running a good race and I'm always trying, but it usually doesn't work out well."
Harvey's win in the 400 hurdles came with room to spare. Harvey ran a 58.43 for the win, topping Mohawk Trail's Seth Hoynoski (59.66) and Oakmont's Matt Davis (1:00) to give Wahconah its first win of the day.
"I think I did pretty well in the 400 hurdles," said Harvey. "It wasn't my PR, but it was a strong run, especially with the conditions, with so much heat and stuff."
Harvey also got a shot to sweep the hurdles, but ultimately came up just short. He finished third in the 110 hurdles, running in 15.90 to finish just behind Northbridge's Keegan Burchard — who won in 15.25 — and Leicester's Lucas Ford. Harvey also ran in the 4-by-400 relay team that finished fourth in 3:37.88.
The Auburn boys and Bromfield girls scored team wins, with Auburn scoring 66.5 points to Uxbridge's 51 while Bromfield had 60.5 to Littleton's 56. The Wahconah boys finished in fourth with 40 points, while the Lenox girls finished fifth with 43.
In the two mile races which kicked off the track schedule, Lenox's Emma Jourdain finished fifth in 11:56.81. Greylock's Tommy Kirby finished fourth for the boys in 10:00.11 and Hoosac Valley's Jared Haley finished eighth in 10:38.21.
In the mile, Lenox's Maggie Sorrentino held off a late push from Wahconah's Victoria Gamberoni to finish third. Sorrentino ran in 5:15.06 while Gamberoni finished in 5:15.38. Littleton duo Sarah Roffman and Kaitlyn Roffman finished in first and second, respectively.
Monument's Matt Weston finished sixth in the 200 (23.53). The Monument 4-by-100 relay team placed third in 45.67 as Quaboag took first in 45.49. In the 4-by-800 relay, Wahconah finished seventh in 8:48.98 and Monument finished ninth in 8:52.03.
Hoosac Valley's Peter Barrow put up matching fourth-place finishes in the shot put and discus, throwing the shot put 45 feet, 9 /12 inches and the discus 128-07.
In the girls' 400, Monument's Meri Powell edged out Greylock's Maddie Albert for sixth, finishing in 1:01.17 while Albert ran a 1:01.48.
In the relays, the Monument 4-by-400 team of Aubrey Blanchard, Jasmin Johannsdottir, Powell and Kinne set a new school record in a second-place finish to Littleton. The Spartans ran in 4:05.81, while Littleton set a meet record in 4:03.52. Lenox finished fourth in 4:17.38.
"It was great to run against Littleton because they really pushed us," Kinne said. "I don't think we would have ever had that time without them. It was great."
In the 4-by-800, Lenox's Emily Tibbetts, Alice Najimy, Sorrentino and Jourdain pulled off a second-place finish to hold off Mount Greylock. Littleton won in 9:53.22, Lenox finished in 9:55.67, and Greylock ran in 9:59.89. Both Lenox and Greylock set season-best times.
Athletes that finished in the top 3 of each event now move on to the All-State meet next Saturday at Westfield State University. There will also be six at-large bids handed out to competitors from the best of the rest, regardless of division.
Full results from the meet can be found here.
Contact Geoff Smith at 413-496-6250.