Anchoring the O’Bryant boys’ 4x400 relay, senior Derrick Samuels knew he needed to step up.
Trailing by four points in the team standings to East Boston entering the final event at White Stadium, O’Bryant’s quartet of Brandon Douglas, D’Shaun Slade, Christian Holt, and Samuels needed a win to earn a shot at the title.
Holt handed Samuels the baton with the lead, and he never looked back, completing a 3:57.13 team effort to give O’Bryant the victory and 10 additional points.
However, with East Boston (4:03.89) finishing third and gaining six points, the boys’ team title ended in a 147-147 tie between both schools.
Adding to the wild finish, the girls’ meet ended in a tie as well, with Latin Academy and O’Bryant both finishing with 167 points. TechBoston (48 points) finished third for the girls, and Latin Academy (63) was third for the boys.
“It was kind of amazing because I looked over to [fellow O’Bryant coach Jose Ortega], who’s been around for at least 35 years, if not more, and he said he’s never seen that in his whole career,” O’Bryant coach Henry Cobb said. “So to not only have one but two teams tie? I mean, you never think that would happen.”
Samuels, used to catching up and gaining places as the anchor, said he had to alter his approach when receiving the baton in the lead.
“It’s a totally different mind game,” Samuels said of leading the pack. “I always have to look at someone, so I start looking at myself… If I beat myself, the people behind me won’t be able to beat me.”
Samuels also won the boys’ mile (4:54.53), but the awards for athletes of the meet went to two Latin Academy runners.
Senior Melvin Wiltshire won top honors for the boys after winning the 200 (23.64) and finishing second in the 100 (11.42), just .02 seconds behind Charlestown’s John Basabe (11.40).
For the girls, senior Lia Van Der Linde earned athlete of the meet after winning the 100 (12.74), 200 (27.77) and long jump (14-11.00).
Competing for Latin Academy since middle school and finishing her sixth year on the team, Van Der Linde was proud to leave the program with a City title, even if it was shared.
“I’m really excited to leave with this win. I think I’ve been working really hard for it,” Van Der Linde said. “Being co-champions, especially with [O’Bryant] … is something really special.”
Joseph Pohoryles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.