Big Ben Strikes for Lowell
CHELMSFORD — When Ben Kyeremeh woke up Saturday morning, he was confident in his abilities and talents that he could win both the discus and shot put.
He wasn’t completely certain though, since he had been battling with the flu for the past week, which kept him out of two practices leading up to the Merrimack Valley Conference Championship Meet.
Although he didn’t have his best performances, he had enough strength to come through with titles in both events, taking the discus with a throw of 149 feet, nine inches and then coming back to also take the shot put with a mark of 50-01.50. His two first places, along with big performances down the stretch by the relay teams, allowed Lowell to enjoy its fourth straight title at the McCarthy Middle School.
This was a thrilling day for the senior, who wasn’t born in the United States.
“I was born in Ghana (West Africa),” he said. “I lived there for eight to ten years, then moved to Italy for two years and came here when I was in the fifth grade. I didn’t think I’d be here. I thought I was going to live in Ghana for the rest of my life. My dad won a visa lottery while in Ghana and then he won another one while he was in Italy, so I owe everything to my dad (Frank) for me being here. I also give thanks to my mom and my sister. I have been through a lot and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.”
And the Lowell team wouldn’t have won the league championship title without his first two places. The Red Raiders finished with 90 points, with Central Catholic second at 73.50. Billerica finished fifth, while Tewksbury, Chelmsford and Dracut finished in spots 7-9, respectively.
“The relays did great. Our big hitters scored their 10 points. I think the key for us was everyone came here to compete,” said Lowell head coach Dave Casey. “We have good athletes who are committed and we’re going to get their best so it’s just seeing what happens at the end. We’re happy with the result and we just happened to have a little bit more than the other teams.”
Counting the two titles from Kreremeh, Lowell had six first-place finishes, including four individuals.
“The last three or four years the culture has been great and the seniors are trying to carry that through as far as just trying to live up to what we’re looking for as people (who represent our program),” said Casey.
The day started out strong as junior Kelvin Santana easily took the two-mile title by over eight seconds with a time of 9:53.15.
“This means a lot. I did this for my teammates. I just wanted to help the team,” he said.
The final individual for Lowell to win was Andrews Bonsu in the 100 meters. He finished in 10.85 seconds, beating Jerimil German of Lawrence, who came in at 11.00 seconds.
″ In the preliminary (race) I kind of messed up on the starting blocks so the goal here in the finals was to get off to a strong start off my blocks and that’s hard because that kid is fast, real fast. He definitely pushed me. He had me until about the 60 or 70 (meter spot),” said Bonsu.
He added that trying to improve with his starts is pretty difficult because of his height.
“It’s very hard,” he said. “When you are six feet or taller, it’s hard to get out of the blocks, so my coach knows that and he has me working on that every day in practice.”
Both the 4x100 and 4x800 relay teams also won, providing crucial points for Lowell down the stretch. The 4x100 team of Jadiel Pinales, JoeBen Jacobs, Darin Div and Juan Giron finished in 43.23 and the 4x800 team of Samuel Mutiso, Bonsu, Div and Franco Recto won in 8:14.96. Mutiso also finished with fourth places in the 110-meter hurdles (14.42) and long jump (20-08.50). Joeben also picked up a fourth in the mile in 4:37.18, Vandi was fourth in the 800in 2:00.92 and Recto was sixth in the 200 in 23.89.
Rounding out the finishes were Jalen Dibbles with a third in the high jump at 6-0 and then fifth places from Luis Cadime in the discus at 125-01, Ricky Thyne in the two-mile in 10:06.93 and the 4x100 relay team with a combined time of 43.23 seconds.
Stephen Harris was the lone athlete to place in two individual events as he was second in the 200 at 22.63 and sixth in the high jump at 5-10. Thomas Dinsmore was also second in the 800 at 1:59.85 and third-places came from Ryan D’Agostino in the 100 (11.28), Rodrigo Freitas in the 400 (51.04), Gachan Kabugo in the mile (4:33.56), Shawn Stairs in the 400-meter hurdles (56.93) and the 4x400 relay team in 3:30.29.
Rounding out the top efforts included fourth places from John Holden in the two-mile (10:04.130 and the 4x800 relay team at 8:34.20, and then a sixth-place from Brandon Marion in the mile at 4:38.67.
Senior Lucas Frost captured his second straight MVC title in the javelin, throwing 177-04.
″ It wasn’t that good and I wasn’t happy with it,” he said. “After last week’s throw, I was hoping to get around 180 feet today. It didn’t happen so that’s alright. I felt good going into the meet today but I guess I just didn’t put everything together.”
In the same event, Liam Cafferty was fifth (140-00) and Derek Munroe was sixth (139-10).
Junior Thomas Barinelli had a big day as he placed in three events, a third in the triple jump (42-02.50) and fifth places in the high jump (5-11) and long jump (20-08.00). Jack Kelly was fifth in the pole vault, clearing 10 feet and Andrew Froio was sixth in the shot put throwing 46-11.
In the running events, senior Casey Ryan was second in the two-mile at 10:01.91, the 4x100 relay team was fourth in 44.01 and junior Zach LaLonde broke a school record in the 110-meter hurdles at 14.08 and finished fifth in a very competitive field.
Senior Steven Imperillo had a big day as he came up with a pair of second places in the long jump (21-02.50) and triple jump (42-09.50) to lead the way for the Lions. Earning third places were Shreyas Chaturuedula in the 200 (23.34) and Aiden Hennessey in the two-mile (10:02.03), while Evan Platteel was fourth in the high jump (5-11), Matt Higgins was fifth in the 400-meter hurdles (58.58), and the 4x100 (45.19) and 4x800 (8:36.73) relay teams finished in sixth.
William Peters and Jovan Aigbekaen placed in two events. Peters was third in the discus (129-08) and fourth in the shot put (48-07.00), and Aigbekaen was second in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.40 and sixth in the triple jump (41-06.00). Patrick Pinto cleared 11 feet to take third in the pole vault and, finally, the 4x100 relay team was fifth at 44.65.