While Gabe Montague may not be used to running in the city, he is used to winning races. After setting the Newton North record in the indoor 1000 meters this past winter season, Montague won the BAA Invitational Mile on Sunday morning in a photo finish.
“It was a lot of fun," Montague said. "I was surprised with the air quality. It was really easy to breath, I thought it would be a little dingy running in the city and the fans were great. It’s just a awesome program.”
Montague won the male high school mile, which was preceded by a the girls' high school mile and two middle school 1000-meter races. The races looped around Boylston and Newbury Streets before finishing on the Boston Marathon’s finish line.
In the last 400 meters of the race, Montague ran alongside Wellesley’s Danny Palladino and Hopkinton’s Tim Bolick ahead of the pack. Montague edged out Bolick at the tape. They both logged the same time, 4 minutes 34 seconds, in the photo finish.
Bolick’s teammate, Corey Branch, was third with a time of 4:36.
“I’ve raced both of them before, especially Danny, and I really didn’t want them to beat me," Montague said. "I don’t know how else to put it.”
Winning an invitational mile that featured two athletes from each city and town along the Boston Marathon course gives him confidence. While the Montague got second place in the indoor EMass championship by running the 1000-meter in 2:30, he believes he can still improve at the state meet later this spring.
“I really want to do well in All-States because that’s what I struggle with,” Montague said. “I hope to get as high as possible that could even be first. In the 800 at All-States.”
The girls' race also saw a photo finish, with Hopkinton junior Melissa Lodge (5:23) beating Natick’s Sarah Lagan (5:23.2) while Newton’s Maeve Greeley (5:34.5) finished third.
Lodge and Lagan both said the crowd spurred them along at the end.
“It was good competition definitely,” Lodge said. “I don’t think I would have been able to do it without the crowd.”
Lagan added, “I’ve never had a tape finish so that was pretty cool. … It was so exciting to see the big yellow [finish line], I was like ‘Oh the faster I run the faster I’m done.’ It went by so fast. It seemed like it was a minute long just because of the crowd was cheering.”
Lodge, who finished third in the 1000 meters at states this winter in indoor track, said this race gives her confidence for the rest of the spring season.
“This is still the beginning of the season, my times compared to what I can run are not exactly on par but it’s honestly just being,” she said. “Being able to come out here and being able to run a good race and have good competition this soon is really inspiring to carry me through the rest of my season.”
And she hopes to defend her title on Boylston street next April.
“Hopefully yeah,” she said. “That would be good.”
John Lara of Boston won the middle school 1000-meter race with a time of 2:54.7 while his teammate Jovan Talavera was second with a time of 3:05.1. Third place went to Maxwell Freeman (3:15.9) of Ashland.
In middle school girls' race, Brookline's Gabrielle Vandendries won in 3:24 while Wellesley's Jasmine Tiamfook was second with a time of 3:26.3. Molly Hawkins of Hopkinton finished third in 3:27.7.
Globe Correspondent Justin A. Rice contributed to this report.
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