|Carla Forbes performs in the triple jump, one of two meet records she set. (George Rizer For The Globe)|
Newton North sweeps up
FALL RIVER - Jim Blackburn stood by the crowded trophy tent at Durfee High School, as members of his track team crept up behind him with a jug of Gatorade.
The resulting shower was doubly nice, as it not only cooled the Newton North boys’ head coach on an 80-degree Sunday afternoon, but also capped a day on which both the Tigers boys’ and girls’ teams took home first place at the Division 1 outdoor track and field championships.
The boys finished with 64 points to edge Acton-Boxboro, last year’s champion, by 9 points. The girls decimated the field, finishing with 95.5 points, with the A-B girls also taking second place, scoring 62.
“We’re keeping it going,’’ said Blackburn. “Every year I keep thinking we’re going to have a big drop-off, but in the end it seems that we’re there. That’s what we want to do, just keep the tradition going and keep winning.’’
The boys’ win came in large part due to skill on the field. The Tigers scored exactly half of their 64 points in the discus and shot put, both won by Swardick Mayanja, taking the shot put with a throw of 56 feet 2 inches and the discus with a hurl of 147-8.
The Tigers also were able to capitalize on their strategy to not run in the 4 x 400-meter relay, in favor of going after a strong finish in the 4 x 800.
Adrian Butterton, Justin Keefe, Mike Sternstein, and Gabe Montague combined for a time of 8 minutes 2.56 seconds, which won the event and scored 10 critical points for the Tigers.
Mayanja was the star of the boys’ team, and Carla Forbes did the honors for the girls. The junior took first place and set meet records in both the triple jump (41-2) and long jump (19-3 1/2).
“Two meet records, that sort of speaks for itself,’’ said Joe Tranchita, who coaches the girls’ team. “People start to take [Forbes’s jumps] for granted. We don’t because she still has to go out there and get the job done.
“She rises to the competition, as any jumper does,’’ continued Tranchita, whose team successfully defended its title. “She thrives on this. The bottom line for her isn’t even the winning. It’s, did she do the best that she could do? That’s how she evaluates the whole thing.’’
Of the 17 events, the Tigers registered points in all but five, with top-three finishes in all three of the relays.
“I’m just thrilled with the entire team,’’ said Tranchita. “[Forbes] scores the points that she’s going to score, but to score 96 points, that’s our power. We had a lot of young kids that really stepped up today all the way around and all our seniors came through for us, too.’’
“It feels really good,’’ said Forbes, whose jumps weren’t even her personal bests. “I think it shows the depth of our team and how hard we’ve worked these past few weeks. I know that a lot of people on our team, their season has ended, so for all of us to stick around and continue to work hard - I think really paid off.’’