The three Lewis sisters go to different high schools in Boston, and run track.
And all three (Elizabeth, Maria, and Juleen) will compete in state track meets this week.
But if they qualify for the All-State meet on Feb. 23, the Lewis sisters probably will not be able to compete because the meet falls on a Saturday.
“We’re Seventh-day Adventists,” said Elizabeth, a senior at West Roxbury High. “Saturday, we have to recognize the Sabbath.”
Juleen, a freshman at O’Bryant, will be the No. 5 seed in the 55-meter dash, with a seed time of 7.54 seconds in the Division 3 state meet on Thursday at the Reggie Lewis Center. She is also the No. 7 seed in the long jump with a leap of 16-1.5, and she will run on O’Bryant’s 4 x 200-meter relay team, which is seeded No. 21 with a time of 1:56.07.
Elizabeth and Maria, a junior at Snowden, will compete in the 4 x 200-meter relay in the Division 4 meet on Friday. West Roxbury is seeded fourth with a time of 1:51.14, while Snowden is the No. 15 seed with a time of 1:56.84.
Maria is also the No. 11 seed in the long jump with a mark of 15-6 and the No. 46 seed in the 300-meter dash with a time of 46.04.
If the sisters qualify for the All-State meet in any or all of those events, there is a slim chance they might be able to compete if the meet begins after the Sabbath ends after sundown.
“There’s always a way we can run if it’s after 5,” Elizabeth said. “It depends.”
The sisters have missed out on plenty of other big meets that have fallen on Saturdays, including previous years' state meets.
“I’ve gone through this plenty of years,” said Maria, who qualified for the All-State meet last spring in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, but couldn’t compete because it was on a Saturday. “I can kind of cope with it. It’s not that bad because there are other races to go on to race the same people that are at All-States.
“It’s kind of upsetting, but then again it’s not really because there are always other times. You can’t really do anything about it so you just have to move on.”
On a typical Saturday, the sisters wake up at around 7:30 or 8 a.m. and get ready for services at the Waymark Seventh-day Adventists Church in Dorchester, which start at 9 a.m. When the services finish around 1:30 p.m., they usually go home for lunch or have lunch at a friend's home before returning to church at around 5 p.m.
“It’s kind of social, we don’t see [our church friends] all week,” Elizabeth said. “These are people we don’t see all week. We only see them on Saturday so it’s social, but we have to keep the aspect of God.”
Elizabeth said while they are not allowed to make any purchases on Saturday, unlike
Orthodox Jews, they drive and use electricity on the Sabbath.
“We warm up food and use the microwave,” she said. “We don’t take it to the extreme. We just make sure we focus on God. It’s God’s day.”
Maria said the biggest misconception they have to deal with is people who think their church is a cult.
“My favorite part [of the Sabbath] is hanging out with my friends, worshiping, singing, I love the singing part,” she said, “and just relaxing and having a day to just rest and not worry about anything else.”
But before they can relax on Saturday, they have to get through the state meets this Thursday and Friday.
“I think I’ll be more nervous, I’ll be extremely nervous for states,” Elizabeth said, after anchoring West Roxbury’s 4 x 200-meter relay team to victory at the Boston City League indoor championships Feb. 5 with a time of 1:51.15.
Maria, who won a silver medal in the 55-meter hurdles at the city meet, also helped Snowden’s 4 x 200 relay team finish third. Juleen was on O’Bryant’s fourth-place team in the 4 x 200 at the city meet.
“It went by age, so we thought it was really funny,” Maria said about the order their teams finished in the 4 x 200.
Even though Juleen’s team finished last in the 4 x 200, she took home the most hardware at the city meet, winning the 55-meter dash and the long jump.
Juleen’s older sisters recognize that she is fastest of the trio, and Elizabeth and Maria tried to persuade their sister to join their track teams.
“I love O’Bryant because that’s the school that’s challenging and I like it,” Juleen said. “I don’t like things too easy for me.”
The sisters look forward to running together at a church retreat in Connecticut this summer.
“I couldn’t go last year but I know this year I will definitely be there and we're going to have our relay team.” Elizabeth said.
“Yeah, we're going to win that trophy,” Maria added.
But as competitive as the sisters are, they are content with missing the opportunity to run at the All-State meet.
“Because I’ve made it to states before where it was on a Saturday and I wasn’t able to run,” Elizabeth said. “It is a little disappointing that you can’t get to run but I know what I have to do and what I’m supposed to do for my religion. And it’s fine. I’m not going to be disappointed for long, there’s always another time. I mean, all of us can run.”
About Boston Public Schools Sports BlogMore »
- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.