The Cambridge boys’ indoor track team won eight of 13 total events, scoring 143 total points and taking home first place in Saturday afternoon’s Greater Boston League Meet at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston. On the girls’ side, the Somerville Highlanders used two late relay victories to slip past the Falcons and win the meet by just three points.
The Highlander boys began the meet well, with senior Lyndon Kaba edging out Cambridge’s Darren Barnes and Malden’s Franklin Huynh in an exciting 55m Dash. Kaba beat Barnes by just 0.02 seconds, finishing in 6.64.
But after Kaba, the Highlanders won just two more events. Junior Andre Rolim won the 1000m in 2 minutes and 42.23 seconds, then anchored the 4x400m relay team. By the time the speedy Rolim got the baton, his three teammates – junior Brian Martinez and sophomores Kevin Ma and Marcelo Brociner – had built such a lead that Rolim was virtually uncatchable.
Somerville boys’ coach Dave Dickerson said he wanted to stretch his runners out before next week’s state meet, testing how runners like Rolim and the relay racers responded to longer races and more events.
“Last week, they didn’t run events, they just ran the relay,” Dickerson said. “[I wanted to] see how they would do in their event after running an event before, like a 600. And they ran a second faster than they’ve run it.”
“So that’s good. Good sign.”
But overall the boys’ meet belonged to the Falcons. Victories by junior Alexander Kirby and senior Kwame Turnbull-Hugh in the 300m and 600m, respectively, paved the way for victories in the 4x200m and 4x800m Relays.
Junior Niko Emack-Bazelais capped the individual track events by winning the 1 Mile in 4:37.90. The Falcons went 1-2-3 sweep in that event.
Cambridge also swept the three field events. Senior Jalen Bernard won the shot put, throwing 45-9.00. Later, junior Raphael Guzman won both the high jump and long jump.
“That’s all we key off every year: we want to have a balance,” Cambridge boys’ coach Jamalh Prince said. “We have to have it, and we want to have it.”
In the high jump, Guzman and Malden senior Eddie Fisher battled through a five-round jump-off. Guzman finally won by clearing 5-foot-10, and the two then embraced, congratulating each other on a hard-fought event.
Fisher had already won the 55m Hurdles for the Golden Tornadoes, whose boys’ team finished second with 111 points. Having Saturday’s only three contenders in the 2 Mile likely helped.
The girls’ meet came down to the final three races, beginning with the 4x200m. Somerville senior anchor Nicole Genard received the baton needing to make up a quarter-lap against Cambridge. Genard immediately kicked into a full sprint, bursting past other runners in pursuit of her target.
“In the relay, you have people depending on you,” Genard said. “It’s not just about myself. In the relay, I’m the last leg, so all the pressure is on me. So I have to do it for myself and my team.”
Genard maintained her blistering pace all the way through to the finish line, running her fastest 200 meters and overtaking Cambridge in the final moments to win by 0.02 seconds.
The win capped a three-win Saturday for Genard, who had already won the 55m Hurdles (8.53) and the long jump (15-10.00).
“She responds to the challenge,” Somerville girls’ coach Charlie O’Rourke said.
The Falcons easily won the 4x800m, finishing over 22 seconds ahead of the Highlanders and setting up the final 4x400m Relay.
Junior Gelyne Berger began for the Highlanders, building a decent lead in her two laps. The Highlanders sustained that lead through to anchor Michel-le Meranda, who did not allow the Falcons to gain back anymore ground, finishing in 4:21.87, 2.38 seconds ahead of the Falcons.
O’Rourke said that while the win was nice, it wasn’t revenge against the Falcons for taking the GBL title from the Highlanders.
“Cambridge was the better team definitely in the dual meets,” he said. O’Rourke also credited the win to better performances beyond the top three spots. The Highlanders placed fourth to sixth in six races, three more than the Falcons.
“All the way here I said, ‘fourth, fifth and sixth will make a difference,’” he said. “Those are the kids who came through.”
Senior Pristine Mei started the day for the Highlanders by winning the 2 Mile in 12:54.37. Senior teammate Maggie Langwig finished second in 13:46.87.
Only Medford’s Lauren Walsh won an event for the Mustangs, jumping 4-6.00. The Medford boys finished second in three races but did not win any,
Everett’s best performance came in the boys’ 4x800m, where they finished second.
The final boys’ scores were: Cambridge 143, Malden 111, Somerville 70, Medford 37, Everett 32. The girls’ were: Somerville 125, Cambridge 122, Malden 62, Medford 61, Everett 27.
Both the Cambridge boys and girls went 4-0 in the GBL regular season. Following the boys were Malden (3-1), Somerville (2-2), Everett (1-3), and Medford (0-4). Following the girls were Somerville (3-1), Medford (2-2), Malden (1-3), and Everett (0-4).