A pair of seniors, Acton-Boxborough’s Samantha Friborg and Sam Welsh of Concord Academy, have been selected as the state’s Gatorade Girls’ and Boys’ Track & Field Athletes of the Year, respectively.
The 5-foot-9 Friborg won the 800 meters at the All-State meet at Fitchburg State and placed fourth in the event at New Balance Nationals Outdoor with a time of 2:06.13, the fifth fastest time recorded nationally this year by prep competitors in her age group.
The first A-B athlete to win the award, Friborg also holds school records in the indoor 800 (2:10.18) and indoor mile (5:04.56).
“Samantha is really aggressive every time she steps on the track,” said Concord-Carlisle track coach Steve Lane. “She has a clear target in terms of time and really goes after it. At every meet, my athletes stop whatever they are doing to watch her race.”
Friborg, who will attend Yale University in the fall, recorded a weighted 4.22 GPA throughout her high school career. She is an accomplished violionist who volunteers on behalf of multiple community service initiatives through her church.
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Welsh threw the discus a state-record 212 feet at the New England Prep School Track Association Division 3 Championships held in Bath, Maine. It was furthest distance recorded by a prep competitior in the nation.
The 18-year-old Lunenburg resident also won the shot put at the NEPSTA meet along with the national championship in the discus at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor last weekend in Greensboro, N.C.
Paul Swain, the track coach at Pingree School said, “I have been coaching track since 1991 and Sam is the best high school thrower I have ever seen. When he throws the discus, it looks as though it’s been fired from a missile launcher.”
He registered three throws of 200-plus feet this spring, including 203 at last weekend’s nationals.
Welsh is headed to Harvard, where he will continue to compete in track & field.
As Gatorade Players of the Year, Friborg and Welsh will be able to donate $1,000 to a national or local youth sports organization, with the opportunity to earn $10,000 by writing a brief essay on why the selected organization deserves additional support.Nate Weitzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.