As Brook Hansel was trying to mentally prepare herself for the mile — her only event of the Mass. State Track Coaches Association Invitational — the Lunenburg junior got a big surprise. There was an opening in the 1,000 meters and her coach needed someone quick, so she volunteered. The decision turned out to be a good one.
Hansel finished the 1,000 in 3 minutes, 4.64 seconds, well ahead of her competition, beating out the runner-up by six seconds. She also went on to win the mile and break her personal best with a time of 5:14.30 —
After her wins, Hansel talked about her preparation and the pressure of competing in front of a large crowd.
“Before individual events I always take the day before off. It is important for me to get a full day of rest and a good night’s sleep,” she said. “I always get way more nervous in front of the big crowds, but today I used these extra nerves to my advantage. I feel like the pressure and the crowd really fueled my performance.”
Hansel is no stranger to the big stage. Last year she participated in the New England championships and posted a personal best of 2:59 in the 1,000.
Hansel hopes to continue competing in college.
“I am not really thinking about specific schools at this point, but I am passionate about the sport and hopefully will be able to compete at the next level.”
Hansel is a coach’s dream, according to Lunenburg’s Steve Kyajohnian.
“She studies hard in school and works very hard every day at practice,’’ the coach said. “We needed someone last minute for the 1,000 meters and Brook stepped up immediately and made us proud.”
The rest of the competition on the first day of the Coach’s Invitational was more than exciting as four meet records were set. Marlborough senior Jose Caquias set the 55-meter dash record with a time of 6.62 seconds. Andrew Ernst, a sophomore from Marblehead, smashed the record for the mile by eight seconds with a time of 4:20. Kevin Pawlak, a junior from Westford, set the standard in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 8 inches. Finally, just when all the excitement seemed to be over, Lauren O’Neil, a Falmouth junior, broke the 2-mile record by eight seconds with a time of 11:12.
The outstanding performer of the meet on the boys’ side was Bridgewater-Raynham senior Mark Hamalian. Although Hamalian did not win any of his three events, he still managed to have an outstanding day. Hamalian placed second in the long jump (21 feet, 2 inches) and high jump (5 feet, 11 inches). He also set a personal best in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.4 seconds.