Andrew Bolze lost six weeks of the indoor track season to a stress fracture in his right foot, but the injury didn’t keep him from winning the Division 3 and All-State 300-meter titles.
On Saturday afternoon at Reggie Lewis Track Center, the junior from Hingham further proved his foot was fine by adding the New England Championship to his resume.
“He’s worked so hard to get here, and to come back from that injury and be able to do what he has done, it is pretty extraordinary,” Hingham coach Fred Jewett said.
Unlike last week’s All-States — where he won from the third of four heats to set Hingham’s school record and the meet record (34.70 seconds) — Bolze entered the New England dash in the top slot and held on for the entirety.
And again, he set the school record by shaving off .01 seconds, crossing at 34.69, just ahead of Ryan Lucken of Newton North (34.81).
“I wanted the win tonight so badly,” Bolze said. “This week I could finally run against someone that’s a great athlete like Ryan . . . he really pushed me through that finish.”
Lucken attempted to catch Bolze on the final curve and through the straightaway, but didn’t have quite enough.
Bolze’s time stands as the fourth fastest in the country this season and qualifies for next weekend’s New Balance National Indoors in New York City, but, unlike his teammates running the 4 x 800, his season has been declared over as he will give his foot a rest.
“Not being able to compete at the beginning of the season made every event that I could compete in so special,” Bolze said. “It’s been a wonderful season.”
As Bolze looks toward time off before the outdoor season, the Harbormen senior quartet of Duncan Burleigh, Nick Neilsen, Bill Lumbert, and Grant Whitney already had their sights set on New York next weekend, but winning the 4 x 800 New England title was a bonus.
“They are really experienced, they are really disciplined,” Jewett said. “Training-wise, they do what they are supposed to do, they don’t get too nervous.”
The four edged out Ridgefield (Conn.) by 1.47 seconds to open the boys’ running events, crossing at 7:56.32 and also breaking the school record for the fourth time this season.
“We got third in the state meet, that was not satisfying. We wanted to win,” Lumbert said.
Hingham picked up the lead on the second leg and held through to the finish, despite pressure from Ridgefield at the final handoff.
Lumbert, on the anchor, created separation down the final straightaway and held the lead.
“I tried to go out faster and burn out all the other runners, but they stayed with me,” he said.
Ursuline sophomore Amy Piccolo will also take the out-of-state trip to run against the country’s best, but in the 400, not her usual 600.
She finished second (1:33.56) in the 600 after keeping a tight race, but Erica Johnson of Bay View (R.I.) crossed first at 1:33.37.
“A little bit nerve-racking that someone was right on me, but it made me work a little bit harder,” she said.
Other Eastern Mass. winners were Newton South’s Jung Park in the 55 hurdles (7.40); the boys from Acton-Boxboro in the 4 x 200 (1:30.51); in the 4 x 400, the boys from Lincoln-Sudbury (3:24.49) and girls from Lexington (3:56.12); Newton North’s Carl Whitham in the shot put (56 feet 10 inches); and Somerset-Berkley’s Adam Couitt won the high jump (6-9) after winning the Division 3 and All-State titles last month.