Krafian Adds Hurdle Crown at All State; Perkins PRs in 400 for 2nd [VIDEO]

Photo: Belmont’s Anoush Krafian out leans Plymouth North’s Madelyn Sessler to win the 100 meters hurdles state championship.

Back in February, Belmont High School’s track star Anoush Krafian was nipped at the line of the 55-meter hurdles in the Division 3 state championships, beaten by Hopkinton High’s Caitlyn Halloran by one-one hundredth of a second.

“I got beat on the lean,” said Krafian.

Fast forward to Saturday, June 3, at the Massachusetts All-State Championships at Bridgewater State University and once again, Krafian found herself involved in a race where the margin between winning and finishing second would be by the tightest difference.


But this time, it was Krafian who ran away with the victory.

In the most dynamic race of the meet, Krafian ran down defending champion Plymouth South senior Madelyn Sessler over the final three hurdles to capture the state title by, yes, one-one hundredth of a second, 14.64 seconds to 14.65.

“The second half of my race is always better than my first,” said Krafian. And it had to be as the Belmont trackster trailed Sessler by more than a step midway through the race. In the event that combines sprinter speed with the technical ability to smoothly clear ten hurdles, making up any deficit increases the likelihood of a loss of form that results in slamming into the hurdles.

But Krafian kept her cool and squeezed by Sessler for the narrowest of victories, ending a day where she twice smashed her own personal best (and school record) of 14.95 by nearly a third of a second, having run a PR of 14.87 in the qualifying round.

“I didn’t panic because I knew I could catch her,” she said. “I turned it on at the end.”

Krafian’s hurdle title was her second of the All-State meet, as she won the five-event pentathlon on Thursday.

Krafian’s time qualified to compete in the six-state 72nd Annual New England Interscholastic Outdoor Track & Field Championship this Saturday, June 10, at Norwell High School where she will be joined by her Belmont teammate Calvin Perkins. The junior took a half second off his personal best in the 400 meters dipping below 49 seconds to take second in 48.65 behind defending New England champion Rodney Agyare-May of Burncoat High of Worcester who strode home in 48.34.

The junior took a half second off his personal best in the 400 meters dipping below 49 seconds to take second in 48.65 behind defending New England champion Rodney Agyare-May of Burncoat High of Worcester who strode home in 48.34.

“Maybe next year,” said Perkins. “It was a good race.” 

At the New Englands Krafian will compete against meet favorite senior Bridget Charavalle of Danbury, Conn. (who has committed to run for Boston University) who ran a season’s best 14.23 at the Connecticut state championships over the weekend. Perkins will again be up against Agyare-May along with favorite Manchester, Conn. junior Jevin Frett who has a personal best of 48.08.

Belmont relay quartets came to the All-State meet to battle in the passing zones and crowded starts with the Girls’ 4×400 crossed the line in 9th in 4 minutes 4.39 seconds; the Girls’ 4×800 in 23rd in 10:00.20; the Boys’ 4×800 in 8:14.78 for (once again) 23rd and the Boys’ 4×400 in 3:27.26 for 13th.

Sweet! Krafian Crowned State Champion Winning All-State Pentathlon

Photo: Anoush Krafian.

Her first name means “sweet” in Armenian and in the state finals of the multi-event pentathlon held Thursday, June 1, Belmont High junior track star Anoush Krafian strung together a quintet of top-flight results that produced the sweetest of outcomes, a Massachusetts state championship.

At Bridgewater State University, the long-time standout track performer – she still co-holds the state middle school high jump record – beat her rivals and destroying the previous five-event top mark set last year by a whopping 215 points as she posted 3,243 points. Fellow Junior Natalie Marshall of Newton North (3,195 points) and Tewksbury High Senior Lauren Polimeno (3,184) finished second and third while the defending champion, Hopkinton junior Caitlyn Halloran, came in fourth.

Krafian’s total is the fifth-best mark set by a high school athlete in the US so far this outdoor season.

The 11th-grader was leading the competition after four events with the championship on the line with Krafian facing her most challenging event, the 800 meters. Tewksbury’s Polimeno and Halloran of Hopkinton (who defeated Krafian in the Division 3 championships last week) were expected to complete the race in about 2 minutes and 20 seconds, more than 18 seconds in front of the Belmont track star’s best time of 2:38.37 set last week, a gap that could have seen Krafian fall from first to third – or worse.

But Krafian came through spectacularly, setting a new personal record by eight seconds, 2:30.07, negating Polimeno (2:19.96) and Halloran (2:20.60) own best times over the distance. 

In addition to the 800, Krafian also achieved her best marks in the shot put (26 feet 5.5-inches), and high jumped over five feet (5-feet, 3.25 inches) while long jumping 16 feet, 5.75 inches.

Krafian started the day in her best event, the 100-meter hurdles, finishing first in 15.04 second, obliterating the old mark by nearly a full second while garnering 836 points, the highest individual event total by any athlete on Thursday.

Krafian will be seeking more state championships this weekend. On Saturday, she will return to Bridgewater to compete in the individual long jump and the 100 hurdles where she is a co-favorite with senior Madelyn Sessler of Plymouth South and Kristen Hohenstein of Chelmsford. 

Belmont Juniors Krafian, Perkins Take Home EMass Division 3 Track Titles

Photo: Belmont High Anoush Krafian in action earlier this outdoor season.

A pair of Belmont High juniors will be heading to this week’s All-State Meet as Eastern Mass Division 3 champions as Anoush Krafian and Calvin Perkins sprinted home to take individual victories on Sunday, May 28 at Burlington High School.

Krafian cruised to the 100-meter hurdles title in 15.33 seconds, beating Pembroke High senior Julieanne Watts by nearly half-a-second.

Perkins powered to an impressive 49.13 to defeat Burlington High senior Ben Piotti by more than half-a-second on his home track. The time was just a second back from the EMass D3 record of 48.1.

Belmont High junior Calvin Perkins during the 2016 Cross Country season.

It’s been a busy week for Krafian who on Thursday, May 18 shattered the school’s 100 meter hurdles record (which she already held) with a 14.95 second effort during the Division 3 state Pentathlon, a five-event competition that includes the 100 meter hurdles, the long jump, the shot put, 800 meters and high jump. The time broke the best-ever time in the hurdles portion of the event by more than a second.

At the All-State meet, Krafian will meet the only other athlete under 15 seconds in the hurdles, Plymouth South’s senior Madelyn Sessler who has run 14.91. 

Krafian placed second in the one-day pentathlon with a personal best of 3,040 points, behind the defending champion Hopkinton junior Caitlyn Halloran’s 3,166 points. During the events, Krafian also achieved her best marks in the shot put (26 feet 3.75-inches) and the 800 meters, 2:38.37. 

Not that she isn’t busy enough, on Sunday, Krafian took 5th place in the long jump, leaping 17 feet, 6 1/2 inches.

In addition to his victory, Perkins joined his teammates junior Max Serrano-Wu, senior Aidan Carey and junior Bryan Huang to lead off the 4×400 relay to a second-place performance in 3 minutes and 28.41 seconds behind winners Pembroke which broke the tape in 3:26.41 

Belmont’s tradition of strong relay squads continue as the girls’ 4×400 team of senior Danielle Kelly, junior Emily Duffy, freshman Soleil Tseng and senior Julia Cella placed third with a 4:06.70 effort behind Hopkinton and Tewksbury while the girls’ 4×800 of freshman Olivia Zarzycki, junior Alexa Sabatino, frosh Madeline Kitch and senior Alexandra Bailey broke the 10 minute barrier with a 9:53.51 to finish an impressive 4th.

Over on the boys’ side, Belmont’s 4×800 team of junior Jason Berger, junior Zach Tseng, senior Adam Cronin and junior James Kitch kicked it to the line in 8:17.29 in 4th. 

Also scoring for Belmont were junior Alexa Sabatino placing 7th in the mile (5:22.90) while 9th-grade sprinter Soleil Tseng took 5th in the 400 meters just a tad over the one-minute (1:00.11) mark for the one lap.

Belmont girls’ was 7th in the team event with 39 points with the boys’ in 10th with 23 points.

Belmont’s Krafian Hurdling Towards Track Laurels

Photo: Anoush Krafian

After missing out of a Divison 3 indoor championship by one-hundredth of a second, Belmont High School Anoush Krafian showed she hasn’t slowed down in the spring rain as the junior won the 100 meter hurdles at the prestigious Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association’s Girls Coaches Invitational Track and Field meet held May 13 at Sharon High School. 

Krafian took the win running away from the pack in 15.12 seconds, distancing Wellesley’s Isabelle Winkelman by more than half a second. Her performance was nearly equal to the top hurdler in eastern Massachusetts, Plymouth South’s senior Madelyn Sessler, who won the Andover Invitational in 15.04 on May 13. 

The Belmont native also finished 12th in the long jump at the meet. 

Krafian and her Belmont teammates on Girls and Boys Outdoor Track will now head to the Middlesex League championship Tuesday, May 16 before heading to the Division 3 meet. 

Krafian, who lost to junior Caitlyn Halloran of Hopkinton High in the 55-meter hurdle Division 3 indoor finals by .01 second before finishing a disappointing 7th in the state indoors, could battle her rivals in the outdoor states and possibly the state Heptathlon championship, a seven-event competition. At the indoor pentathlon championships (five events), Krafian took 6th behind both Halloran (3rd) and Sessler (4th).

Belmont High Frosh Jumper Sets Marks at National, State Track Meets

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.