The fans at Tuesday’s Boston City League indoor track championship were on their feet, clapping and cheering during every race. Members of the competing teams pushed up against the metal fences surrounding the track at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, telling teammates to keep pushing every lap.
But for the boys’ and girls’ teams from Latin Academy, the most exciting run of the two-day competition was the victory lap they took with their championship trophies.
“I feel real confident in the team. I think they did a great performance today,” Latin Academy coach Brian Leussler said. “There were a lot of individual fantastic performances. We put enough distance between us and the competition on the first day that this second day was a little bit easier, but there were some incredible performances.”
The boys’ team earned 65 points Monday and finished with a winning total of 87. South Boston finished second with 66 points, and O’Bryant took third with 56.
The Latin Academy girls earned 80 points Monday and finished with an impressive 139 point total. Runner-up O’Bryant scored 72 points, and West Roxbury finished with 40.
Tuesday’s wins marked the Latin Academy girls’ and boys’ fourth-straight indoor track championships.
Latin Academy freshman Kenneth Holman kicked off the Dragons’ scoring Tuesday with a win in the 1-mile run. Holman captured the title in 5:13.43 after a close race with South Boston’s Quayshawn Owens.
“I’m just psyched,” Holman said with a smile, sporting his first-place medal.
Owens got off to a strong start and held a sizable lead halfway through the race, but Holman caught up to him and the two battled for the top position.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to catch [Owens] at the beginning, but I’m really glad I did,” Holman said. “It was a really good race.”
With two laps to go, the bell that typically signals the final lap was prematurely rung, but Holman was not fazed by the miscue and ran a strong final 400 meters to close out the victory.
“I looked at the time and it was 4:20, and I just thought, ‘no way,’ because there’s no way I can run 30 seconds faster,” he said. “I knew I had another lap.”
Latin Academy senior Malik Anderson led the Dragons to a victory in the 4x400-meter relay with a fast first leg. Anderson won the 55-meter dash and the high jump Monday.
“It feels awesome,” Anderson said of helping the Dragons earn the City League title. “It shows my progression because is my first year doing the 4x4 and my team actually got first and it feels really good for all of us.”
Youth led the way for Latin Academy girls as sophomore Leigha Mills won the 1,000-meter run in 3:35.46. Sophomore Britney Firmin took first place in the 600-meter run in a speedy 1:45.47. Sophomores Ashley Lewis and Imani Presley finished first and second, respectively, in the 300-meter dash Monday.
“My girl in the 600 I thought was great, Britney Firmin,” Leussler said. “And then my girl in the 1,000 has only run it once before, Leigha Mills, so she was real excited to win that.”
The Dragons’ also dominated the relays, winning the 4x200-meter relay in 1:54.17 and the 4x400 in 4:29.06.
“They did well,” Leussler said. “I think that coming in we kind of peaked just at the right time for this meet.”
South Boston coach Said Ahmed said it felt good to finish in second place. He said he has been coaching for about five years and that this year was his best finish.
“Finally I have a good group of athletes together and they’re young,” Ahmed said. “On my team I have two seniors and the rest of them are very young. I’m glad. I’m happy. It can’t get any better than today.”
Ahmed said senior Dewayne Rogers, who finished third in the 55-meter dash and fourth in the high jump, had a great all-around performance in the championships. He also praised his “superstar” freshman J’Saun Bastien for his second-place finish in the 300-meter dash.
Ahmed said he is looking forward to the future with his young team.
“I can’t wait for outdoors,” he said.
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