Even though Elizabeth Lewis is the only non-sister on West Roxbury High’s 4x200-meter relay team that will be the top seed at the Boston City indoor track Championships on Tuesday at the Reggie Lewis Center, she knows how to relate to teammates Mackala, Michelle and Monique McPherson.
Lewis’ youngest sister Juleen is a freshman on the O’Bryant track team and her other sister, Maria, runs for Snowden.
“I’m pretty sure they also compete with each other inside, so that’s the same,” said Lewis, comparing her relationship with her sisters to the McPherson sisters. “But I feel they have a good relationship like I have a good relationship with my sisters.”
And Lewis has a good relationship with the McPherson sisters as well. In fact, the team gelled from their very first race of the season this winter, running a time of 1 minute 56 seconds to qualify for the Division 4 state meet.
But Lewis is the only one on the team who has run the state meet and she was overwhelmed by her experience their last winter.
“I know how it is to be at states but it’s really scary so I don’t know if I can calm them down about the feeling,” Lewis said, “because it was really scary for me because I was the only one from the team and I didn’t have anyone running with me.”
Second-year West Roxbury coach, Erin Ripston, said her team will be ready for the state meet by the time it rolls around on Feb. 15 at the Reggie Lewis Center. She said they should be fine because they are so familiar with running at the Reggie.
“So there’s nothing new as far as coming here,” she said. “Preparation, warming up, everything is the same. So it’ will just be different teams really.”
It also doesn’t hurt that the team has improved its time every single time it has stepped onto the track this season.
“Every meet their time has gone down, every single meet, so we’ve really worked on the handoffs because that’s where the seconds come off,” Ripston said. “It’s been interesting having them run together and see their relationship. And it’s so fun. They are so sweet and they are all really good students and really athletic.”
Recently, the team ran a 1:50.9, about one second faster than the 4x200 team from Latin Academy, which won the city title last winter.
The West Roxbury relay team also recently defeated Boston Latin in a 4x200 race.
“It felt really good because for years and years we’ve always facing them but we don’t beat them, that wasn’t our goal,” Monique said. “Our goal was just to have a fast time but it felt really good like ‘Yeah we finally did something.”
Winning a city title in the 4x200 as sisters would be even better, especially since this is their one and only opportunity to do so because Mackala is a senior.
“We would feel like we accomplished something together as a team,” Monique said, “and have something to bring home.”
The sisters, who live in Hyde Park, say they are just as close on the track as they are at home, where they often talk shop after a meet and know how to give each other space when an argument arises.
“We still talk, we still hangout, have fun,” Mackala said. “The only difference is we try to help ourselves, better ourselves on the track at home it’s casual, relaxing.”
As close as the three sisters are, they also treat their anchor leg, Lewis, like a sister as well.
“I don’t really feel left out,” Lewis said, “because they include me in everything.”
And that might even mean being secretly competing with Lewis, who will also run the 55 hurdles — against her sisters.
“I’m the older sister so I have to keep my time but Juleen, who is the youngest, the freshman, she is really good,” Lewis said. “She’s better than both me and Maria combined. She has the best time in everything she runs and her long jump is really good. I’m the older sister, it’s hard for me. I’m like ‘OK’ I have to humble myself.’
“She is just really talented whereas I have to work hard. I’m like you know, not everybody gets the talent.”
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