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Reigning champ Latin Academy jumps out to first-day lead in city track

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs  February 4, 2013 07:43 PM

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South Boston's Ewoe Amedoadzi accepts his gold medal after winning the long jump in the first day of the Boston City indoor track championships at the Reggie Lewis Center on Monday. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

South Boston's Ewoe Amedoadzi thought he had let the long jump get away from him.

After coming in second in the 55-meter dash, the senior had to watch as Latin Academy’s Xavier Hill recorded a jump of 19 feet 2 1/2 inches, a distance that would secure most the first place of the indoor track city championship at the Reggie Lewis Center.

However, Amedoadzi won the event, and state tournament qualification, beating Hill’s distance by just a quarter of an inch.

“He had a 19 and I’ve never had a 19 before so I was kind of scared but my coach always told me I had it in me, I just had to push it out,” Amedoadzi said. “I mean I’m happy. I came in second in the 55 and I wanted the gold and I got one so I’m kind of happy.”

While South Boston was fourth after the first day of competition, coach James de Mello said he couldn’t be prouder of his Division 2 state qualifier.

“He really wanted that 55 meters but he goes ‘you know coach, I didn’t win the 55 but I’m going out there to win that long jump,' ” De Mello said. “That showed me he has it. No matter how much he didn’t feel good, he put himself up there again to say ‘I can do this, I can make myself feel good’ and he’s doing this for the team.”

However, the reigning champs still sit atop the standings for boys with 47 points, well ahead of O’Bryant (24) and Brighton (21).

A spark for Latin Academy was junior co-captain Malik Anderson, who beat Amedoadzi in the 55-meter dash, finishing in 6.69 seconds to qualify for the state tournament.

“It feels really good because all this season we’ve been working and it’s good to see people grow and it’s good to see that I’ve grown myself,” Anderson said. “The medal helps but it’s really the times that help. Even if I don’t get a gold medal or a silver medal, I’m mostly focused on improving my time.”

Anderson improved on his preliminary times by .07 seconds.

“The most amazing thing about Malik in the 55 is no matter what the competition, if it’s a dual meet, a league championship, a Bay State Invitational, he always throws out the best time he had that season,” coach Brian Leussler said. “He really does better under pressure.”

Latin Academy is tied for first in the girls’ standings with O’Bryant with 52 points. West Roxbury (37 points) is third.

Sophomore Monique McPherson, a runner for West Roxbury, had a big day, winning gold in the 300-meter run and setting a personal best by finishing in 42.82 seconds.

“I feel really accomplished, I love it,” McPherson said. “It felt more like I pushed myself and I’m very proud,” McPherson said.

The city championships continue Tuesday.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

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