Lowell Boys Rule Division 1 Meet
ROXBURY -- On a typical bus ride to a meet, the Lowell High School boys track and field team is jovial and loud.
But during Thursday afternoon’s trip to the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center, the tone of the ride was much more quiet, serious and focused. That was just the sign that Lowell head coach Scott Ouellet was looking for, as it served as a dead giveaway that his squad was headed for a big night.
The Red Raiders got off to a fast start and ultimately racked up 65 points to capture the title at the Division 1 Indoor Track and Field Championships. They went there with the confident goal of winning, and that’s exactly what they did for the second straight year. Newton North (53) was second, followed by Brockton (42).
There were 31 boys teams that scored.
“I think it was the balance, that’s how we’ve been all year,” said Ouellet. “We have some high-end athletes that we rely on heavily. We also do have guys in a lot of the events, which is big. The shot put has been our best event all year, and we went 1-2 with Ben Kyeremeh and Brian Callery. David Ajama won the high jump, Richmond (Kwaateng) won the 55-meter dash and was second in the long jump. Those are our four guys that we really rely on and we build everything off of them. The depth guys really came through, too.
“We knew all year that our team was very good. The whole season was just treading water waiting for tonight, really, and next week (All-State Meet).”
For Merrimack Valley Conference champion Lowell, it was its third Division 1 championship in the last seven years. Acton-Boxboro took fourth with 41 points.
The UConn-bound Ajama put on a show in the high jump, winning with a leap of 6 feet, 8 inches, his personal indoor best. He came within a hair of getting over 6-10 with seemingly the whole building cheering for him, but he didn’t need it.
“A lot of people counted us out, but we knew we just had to come in and represent,” said Ajama, who also took eighth in the long jump. “We knew if we could just get all the pieces together and do our best that we could do it.”
Kwaateng, a junior, won the dash in a time of 6.40, whileteammate Andrews Bonsu was sixth.
Kyeremeh won the shot put with a toss of 52-4, while Callery was right behind with a throw of 51-10.5.
“It feels amazing. This is my first time competing at the Division 1 indoors, so it feels incredible,” said Kyeremeh. “Us getting first and second was big for our team.”
Lowell captured fourth in the 4x200 relay with the quartet of Bonsu, Franco Recto, Kwaateng and Jalen Dibbles. It also took fourth in the 4x800 relay behind Luke Silva, Sammy Grimes, Juan Giron and Jadiel Pinales.
Junior Samuel Mutiso took seventh in the 55 meter hurdles. Junior Kelvin Santana placed sixth in the two mile.
“Most of the bus rides, these guys are singing and yelling at each other and arguing over who had what for lunch,” said Ouellet. “This bus ride was very focused. I had a good feeling about that. We got the ball rolling early. Rich winning that 55 dash was like a jolt of energy to the team. Then the shot put was going on and a lot of people don’t even pay attention to what’s going on down there, but our guys were down in that cage and going crazy when Ben and Brian were making those throws. You could see the enthusiasm, they were so excited.”
Lowell knew it had clinched the crown before the final relays.
It was also a great night for the Lowell High girls, who placed second with 43 points. Andover, an MVC rival, was the champion with 61 points, while Brookline and Lexington tied for third with 38 points.
In all, 27 girls teams scored at least a point.
Senior Kimesha Lewis was a star for the Red Raiders, taking second in the 55 dash in a time of 7.35, and second in the 300 in 40.98. She also teamed up with Elizabeth Tighe, Jordan Lamarre and Casey Mitchell to win the 4x200 meter relay (1:44.72).
“On paper, I thought that if we got to the low-40s, and if we got any luck and we could get to the mid-40s, I felt pretty comfortable with that number,” said Lowell girls head coach Tim Patterson. “We got off to a real good start in the dash with Kimesha -- she had a great day. That 4x200 has been rock solid, those four kids have been awesome for us all year.”
Junior Slap Mirambeaux took third in the mile and seventh in the two mile. Lamarre, a senior, was fourth in the 300. Senior Deborah Zahui Gboignon was fifth in the shot put.
Senior Jackie Harding placed fourth in the girls high jump (5-0) and teamed up with Rachel Porter, Rachel Murray and Uche Orakwue to take eighth in the 4x200 meter relay.
Junior Phillip Holmes placed eighth in the boys 55-meter hurdles.