NEW BEDFORD — The 39th annual Boys’ State Coaches Invitational is supposed to be a meet for individuals, which is why there are no team scores kept. But the dominance of athletes from one squad stole the show Saturday at Greater New Bedford.
Newton North made a statement with the Division 1 meet looming as four Tigers — Ryan Lucken (400), Gabe Montague (800) Mike Schlichting (mile), and David Oluwadara (triple jump) — all reached the top of the podium.
“So far winning four events it’s been a good day for us,” said longtime Newton North coach Jim Blackburn. “We are hoping that we are going to do all right in the state meet because that is our focus now.”
Lucken turned in the day’s most impressive performance, registering the state’s fastest time this year (49.07 seconds) while topping a field that included five of the eight fastest times of the spring season.
“That was a great race for him,” said Blackburn. “We have been trying to decide if he should run the 200 or the 400, so I think we got the answer there.”
His hard push on the final straightaway gave him enough space to distance himself from Marshfield’s Pat Sheridan (49.61).
“I was experimenting with different ways to run my race, because the 400 is difficult in that you have to sprint all out, but you can’t do it the whole time,” said Lucken. “So I was kind of feeling it out a little bit and toward the end I decided to pick it up a little bit.”
Montague and Schlichting were no less dramatic. Schlichting won the mile in 4:26.39, less than a second ahead of his closest competitor, Gloucester’s Jacob Holscher (4:27.03), while Montague (1:55.83) had more than a second of space in front of Danvers’s Drew Piazza (1:56.85).
Oluwadara also turned in an impressive effort, as his leap of 46 feet 3½ inches in the triple jump was the second best in Massachusetts this year. Right behind him was BC High’s Jordan Samuels, who leaped 46-0½ to take second. Samuels saved his best for the 110 hurdles, which he won in 15.06. Samuels also ran on the 4 x 100 relay team, which finished in fourth, and was named the top athlete of the meet.
“I was on the phone with my dad telling him I didn’t do that well when the announcement came,” said Samuels. “I was pretty shocked. I definitely wasn’t expecting it all.”
The most exciting race came in the 100 where a pair of sophomores turned in an epic battle, that ended when Amherst-Pelham’s Taj-Amir Torres (10.79) outleaned Falmouth’s Craig Green (10.80) at the finish line to take the win.
Lincoln-Sudbury’s Ben Colello blitzed the field in the 400 hurdles in 54.12, shattering the four-year-old record of 55.39.