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McIntyre Elite Meet

Joining fast company

Robinson sprints into the nationals

Arlington’s Rebecca Robinson qualified for the nationals with her winning time in the 300. Arlington’s Rebecca Robinson qualified for the nationals with her winning time in the 300. (Jay Connor/For The Globe)
By Gabe Souza
Globe Correspondent / February 7, 2011

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When school lets out, Rebecca Robinson can usually be found running around the third-floor hallways of Arlington High.

To escape the cold of winter, she sprints past the empty classrooms and down the long corridors, honing her skills for the 300-meter dash.

“It can be hard,’’ Robinson said. “I run at least 15 sprints a day. If I didn’t have my friends to help me and run with me, I wouldn’t be able to do it. They push me.’’

Yesterday at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, Robinson’s hard work paid off.

With the fastest athletes in Massachusetts featured at the Bob McIntyre Elite Meet, Robinson propelled herself into the national spotlight.

By sprinting to a 38.90 mark in the 300, the third-fastest time in the nation, according to Mass. State Track officials, Robinson automatically punched her ticket to the national championships in New York City next month.

“I wasn’t sure how I was going to do,’’ said Robinson, who also won the event at last year’s meet.

“Before the race I had to qualify for the 55 dash, so I was still shaking a bit.’’

Robinson will run the 400 meters at the nationals, as not all states perform the 300.

While many athletes set personal bests, few saw as much improvement as Renee Capps of Narragansett did with her time of 5:15.69 in the mile run.

“I set it by 13 seconds,’’ said Capps, who has shaved more than 30 seconds off her time since the start of the season. “I didn’t change much, just got new shoes.’’

In the 2-mile race, Katie Carlson of Wachusett distanced herself from the pack and glided to a 11:13.88 finish, nearly 20 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.

In the boys’ 1,000 meters, Billy Looney of Bishop Feehan set a personal best and school record with his time of 2:31.70, which qualified him for the nationals.

“I knew what the school record was, and just wanted to get there,’’ said Looney, whose mark was the fifth fastest in the nation, according to the MSTCA.

In the field events, Nick Staley of BC High won the high jump at 6 feet 9 inches, a half-foot higher than the rest of the field.

Danny Zawalich of St. John’s (Shrewsbury) set a personal best in the mile at 4:19.45.

“Last week I got outkicked at the end,’’ Zawalich said. “This time I didn’t want that to happen so I just kept going and didn’t look back.’’

The New Bedford boys’ 4 x 200-meter relay clocked 1:31.60 to win, and Acton-Boxboro took the 4 x 800 relay at 8:13.80.

During the event, the Mass. State Track Coaches Association inducted Margaret MacDonald (Dedham ’24), Katherine Mearls Rogan (Boston Girls ’26), Cliff Blair (Hingham ’47), Carl Wallin (Milton ’59), Peter Scott (Scituate ’62), and Pam Connell (Norwell ’86) into its Hall of Fame.