As Katharine Duren stepped into her starting blocks, set to face off against the fastest athletes New England had to offer in the 100 hurdles, the Central Catholic star knew she was ready.
“I was very confident because that’s who I am,” she said. “I had been working so hard the past few weeks and I felt so ready for the race. And I knew I was going to get a great competitive push.”
Duren delivered a stellar 14.48 to win the 100 hurdles title at the New England Track Championship on Saturday in Sacco, Maine.
“After Katharine became the first female in Central Catholic history to win an All-State title last week, we knew she had what it took to win New Englands,” said Central girls head coach Andrew Grange. “But to actually win a New England title, that’s something you will never forget.”
Duren’s 14.48 was well ahead of No. 2 Tess Stapleton (14.79) of Fairfield Ludlowe High School (Conn.) Haverhill’s Jayla Kitchings (15.18) was third.
“I’m so grateful to have won,” said Duren. “I never go into a race thinking I’m going to win. I always want to stay humble and hungry. This is very exciting.”
The win was another exclamation point on a season that already saw Duren win the EMass. Division 2 and All-State crowns and set the Eagle-Tribune area record in the event.
“Katharine came into the race on Saturday very confident,” said Grange. “She had the same game plan as she has had all year, get out fast and attack each hurdle.
“She was focused and did exactly what she came here to do. And to be a sophomore and win, it shows the sky is the limit. She’s really proven to be a very special athlete.”
LAWRENCE’S GERMAN TAKES SECOND
Lawrence first-year track athlete Jerimil German continued to shatter expectations on Saturday.
The Lancer junior took a stellar second-place finish in the 100-meter dash at New Englands in 11.06, despite battling heavy headwind.
“It honestly feels amazing,” said German. “I remember before the meet I didn’t think I would make the top-3. But my acceleration phase and start were perfect. It’s awesome.”
Seeded third after the trials, German was just edged by Terrence Bogan (11.01) of Sheehan High School (Conn.)
Not finished there, German also joined Axel Ortiz, Anderson Santos and Jordany Volquez to place sixth in the 4x100 (43.11).
“To place at New Englands is truly an amazing feat,” said Lawrence head coach Bill Meuse. “And this left (German) hungry for next year.”
After the meet, German was already thinking 2020.
“Now my confidence is sky high,” he said. “Hoping to take first place next year.”
HAVERHILL DUO SHINE
The Haverhill duo of Sean Glass and Jayla Kitchings each scored impressive finishes.
Glass took fourth in the 200 in 22.20. Kitchings was third in the 100 hurdles (15.18).
“Both ran great,” said Hillies coach Mike Maguire. “With the tough headwinds, it was all about getting out and competing. Jayla won her preliminary heat with ease, then really battled to place third in the final. She has finished her career very strong.
“Sean ran a great race and was just out-leaned in the final few meters. Both are coming home with medals. I could not be prouder.”
SPENCER, ROJCOwin medals
Pinkerton’s Adam Spencer took home a pair of medals. The senior placed fourth in both the 110 hurdles (14.80) and 300 hurdles (39.40).
Not far behind him in the 300 hurdles was teammate Conor Seleny (39.69) in sixth.
“Both hurdlers had very good days,” said Astros head coach Carol Quarles. “The times were a little slow because of the wind, but they both had very good performances.”
Salem’s Katya Rojco also took home a medal, placing sixth in the 100 hurdles (15.70) in her first season running the event.
“It was a well-deserved finish,” said Salem girls coach Steve Burns. “She has worked very hard to be comfortable with the 100. She was driven to improve upon her time, and since then she has become a state champion and New England medalist.”
KNIGHTS RELAYS SHINE
North Andover’s 4x100 relay of Rachel Brimmer, Ava Nassar, Angie Coa and Trinity Tapper placed fourth in 49.45. The Knights’ 4x800 relay of Courtney Dalke, Katherine Sullivan, Aisling Callahan and Abby Mastromonaco took seventh (9:35.86).
New England BoysChampionship
Area top-8 placers:
110 hurdles: 4. Adam Spencer (Pinkerton) 14.80; 100 meters: 2. Jerimil German (Lawrence) 11.06; 4x100 relay: 6. Lawrence (Axel Ortiz, German, Anderson Santos, Jordany Volquez) 43.11; 300 hurdles: 4. Spencer (Pinkerton) 39.40, 6. Conor Seleny (Pinkerton) 39.69; 800: 8. Zach Plaza (Pinkerton) 1:57.28; 200: 4. Sean Glass (Haverhill) 22.20
New England GirlsChampionship
Area top-8 placers:
100 hurdles: 1. Katharine Duren (Central Catholic) 14.48, 3. Jayla Kitchings (Haverhill) 15.18, 6. Katya Rojco (Salem) 15.70; 4x100 relay: 4. North Andover (Rachel Brimmer, Ava Nassar, Angie Coa, Trinity Tapper) 49.45; 4x800: 7. North Andover (Courtney Dalke, Katherine Sullivan, Aisling Callahan, Abby Mastromonaco) 9:35.86
Contact David Willis at @DWillisET or DWillis@eagletribune.com.