After garnering the first-place medal in the 4×800-meter relay race at the Class LL and State Open finals, the quartet of Bianca Granitto, Grace Collier, Mari Noble and Zoe Harris continued their championship trend in the event in ultra-impressive fashion at the 33rd New England Interscholastic Championships.
The foursome proved they were the best of the best at the prestigious meet, held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Roxbury, Mass., combining for a winning time of 9:17.27 in the 4×800 relay race.
“One of the reasons why winning the race was so exciting was that we were able to pr (personal-record time) every time we ran the race,” said Noble a junior. “The hard work that we all put in culminated into that race at New Englands.”
In the 4×800 finals at Saturday’s New England Interscholastic Championships, Granitto, a sophomore, ran the first leg, followed by Collier, a junior. Collier handed off to Noble, who was followed by Harris, a senior, who anchored the race.
“Bianca had a really good leg, we were in the mix after her leg and when I got handed the baton from Grace, we were in first place,” Noble said. “I ran a pr (personal-record time) in my leg and as soon as I handed it to Zoe, the anchor, I knew we were going to win. We mentally prepared for that race all season and it all culminated into a successful relay.”
The championship time of 9:17.27 the Cardinals relay squad produced was almost seven seconds better than runner-up Hall (9:24.11) in the event and the fourth top time in the nation.
“When we won the race, there was a mix of excitement and relief,” Noble said. “We all had pressure on us, since we were the State Open and state (Class LL) champions in the event.
We knew we had to work for it and it wasn’t going to be easy. To win it was really exciting, we did not expect it going into the season.”
As for posting a top-five time in the country in the event: “It felt amazing, it shocked our team when someone came up to us and said, ‘you guys are fourth in the U.S.,’” Noble said. “That was icing on the cake.”
So far this winter, Granitto, Collier, Harris and Noble have also teamed up to win the 4×800 race at the State Open (9:28.55) and Class LL Championships (9:24.09). Noble anchored the event at the State Open and Class LL finals and Harris ran the last leg at the New England Championships.
“There have been a few races, where I have anchored it and there have been some where Zoe has anchored and it’s worked out great,” Noble said. “I know when Zoe is anchoring she is going to do everything she can to finish the race well.”
The Cardinals’ premier relay squad finished ahead of Immaculate for the 4×800 State Open title and Hall at the Class LL finals.
“Going into the race at the State Open, we knew there would be a lot of competition,” Noble said. “We went into the race acknowledging the competition and we knew winning, or placing was not a given. We knew it was going to be a challenge, especially since we would be racing the same teams as the Class LL meet.”
Granitto, Collier and Noble are each returning to the Cardinals next season, but their 4×800 dynamic will be a bit different since, Harris is graduating in the spring and will continue her track career at Columbia University.
“It is going to be hard without Zoe and it will be interesting to see who might step up next year,” Noble said. “It’s really exciting that three of us will be back.”
The Cards’ 4×800 relay squad will now showcase their skills at the 2020 New Balance Nationals Indoor at the New Balance Armory in Manhattan, which takes place March 13-15.
“It is going to be an exciting race,” Noble said. “We are currently ranked No. 4 and we have to be in the top six to make All-American. We are all going into the race knowing we still have a little extra left in us.”
Harris will also compete at Nationals in the 800-meter race and the Cardinals are bringing their sprint medley relay squad.
Noble will also race in the championship mile event at Nationals.
The 4×800 relay qualified for Nationals with a standout performance at the 38th Yale Interscholastic Track Classic in January.
“We have been pleasantly surprised with the season our team has had,” Noble said. “Through all of our hard races, we have definitely grown and learned a lot from our experiences.”