Photo: Belmont High freshman Anoush Krafian at the New Balance National Indoor on Friday, March 13. (photo, Don Rich.)
Anoush Krafian stands 5 feet, 3 inches tall. And she can jump higher than her own height. That’s special for any high school athlete. Did I mention that Krafian just turned 15? That’s extra special.
In the past month, the Belmont High School ninth grader has been showing her soaring and running talent in state-wide and, this past week, at national competitions.
On Friday, March 13, Krafian jumped 5-feet, 2 1/2 inches to place 14th in a field of 27 of the nation’s top freshmen at the New Balance National Indoor for High School Track & Field in New York City.
“It’s really exciting. I’m proud of myself and what I’ve done,” Krafian said earlier in the month when her name was floating around as possibly heading to the nationals.
In the Massachusetts Div. 3 state championships on Feb. 13, Krafian equaled her personal best with a 5’4″ effort in the high jump, equaling the best height of the meet and only placing second only due to the number of extra jumps she took. In the 55-meter hurdles, the Marauder ran 9.05 seconds to place fifth in a field stacked with seniors and juniors.
While she didn’t have a great All-States meet the next week, Krafian holds the distinction of being the only 9th graders competing in both the high jump and hurdles out of two dozen competitors from across the state. Statewide, she is nearly three-quarters of a second faster than the next freshman in the hurdles – that’s close to a lifetime in the sprints – and has jumped two-inches higher than the second-best ninth-grader.
Yet her best event is one that isn’t one most people know. On Feb. 23, Krafian finished 7th in the Massachusetts State Track Coaches’ Pentathlon, a two-day, five-event competition in which competitors are tested in the 55-meter hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put and 800 meter run. Her total of 2,774 points made her the only non-senior in the top ten, and nearly 900 points better than the next freshman.
“I’ve done the pentathlon a lot with my club, so I’m used to it. My three best events are the high jump, hurdles and long jump, so I’ve got three of the events down,” Krafian said.
Krafian is no overnight sensation, having been a long-time member of the Waltham Track Club and earning the title of Massachusetts Middle School state track champion in the high jump and hurdles in 7th grade. She missed defending her titles last spring due to a stress fracture in her back.
“I played soccer, basketball and track, a lot of everything. When I got older, I narrowed it down to just track because those are my strengths,” she said.
Krafian had some adjustments to make running for a high school program.
“High school is different than middle school because here it’s intense, up to an hour-and-a-half practice each day and meets every week,” she said. “I had a slow start, I was just getting into it, but now I’m where I want to be.”
Krafian’s goals at Belmont is to win an all-states meet and do well nationally. “I’ve come so far, and I have just a little bit more to go,” she said.
And there is no rest for the weary; Krafian first day of spring practice starts on Monday, March 16.