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McIntyre Elite Relays

Latin quartet hits high note

Meisha Brooks takes the baton from Tamika Reid and went to complete Boston Latin’s state record-setting run. Meisha Brooks takes the baton from Tamika Reid and went to complete Boston Latin’s state record-setting run. (Robert E. Klein/For The Globe)
By Braden Campbell
Globe Correspondent / February 8, 2010

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At last weekend’s MSTCA Elite Meet, the Boston Latin 4 x 200 relay crew came close to making Massachusetts track history, winning in 1 minute 43.65 seconds, good for a new meet record but just shy of the top time in the state.

Yesterday, they got a second chance at the McIntyre Elite Relays at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. Alexandra Williams, Emma Rice, Tamika Reid, and Meisha Brooks ran the race of their lives, posting a time of 1:43.17 to supplant Cambridge (1:43.46 in 2006) in the state track record book.

“I was watching the clock up there when [Brooks, the anchor] came in and I knew we were close,’’ said Rice. “Then a couple seconds later, the announcer said we got the new state record.’’

The girls came in well ahead of second-place Andover (1:45.54) and third-place Cambridge (1:46.99).

Mansfield held a slim lead over Latin during the first two legs of the race, but once Reid got her hand on the baton, the race belonged to the Wolfpack.

“I noticed that she was slowing down and I had the potential to pass her,’’ Reid said. “I knew that she was just going to keep slowing down so I knew I had that lead. I didn’t think she had a chance to catch up.’’

The girls were quick to cite good leadership as the source of their success.

“We have to give a lot of credit to our coach, Dacia Taylor, she’s really worked hard with us,’’ Brooks said. “She’s an amazing coach.’’

Plenty of athletes gained some national prominence with their efforts yesterday. Berkeley Hall, a long jumper from Pembroke, led her team with a jump of 18 feet 9 inches. This distance is the eighth best in the nation this year and the seventh best in state history. What’s more, the long jump isn’t even her regular event.

“This is my first time actually really doing long jump,’’ she said. “I got recruited to college for triple jump, but I’m happy that now long jump can be added there, too.’’

Hall’s effort helped Pembroke finish with a total of 52 feet 2 3/4 inches, a meet record. Newton North (47-10) and Triton (46-11) followed.

Hall’s track prowess has drawn attention from some of the top college programs in the nation. Next year, she’ll be jumping for Dartmouth.

Seekonk junior Casey O’Brien earned his team a victory with his effort in the last leg of the 1,600 sprint medley. O’Brien ran his leg in 49.2 seconds, allowing the Warriors to surge past Bridgewater-Raynham and Xaverian to win the event in 3:35.46.

“I knew I could catch them because their strides weren’t as long as mine were,’’ O’Brien said. “I like to pretty much chase them, and then when I get in front of them, that’s when I lengthen out my strides to keep my lead.’’

Though the comeback win rested on his skills, O’Brien said his teammates put him in a good position.

“Everybody else did a really good job,’’ he said. “Johnny Gregorek ran a 1:57 to lead it off, then the Teixeira brothers [Joey and Jacob] ran great 200s and I just took it home.’’