Recap Of Freshmen-Sophomore Small School Meet

What does it take to finally hit that milestone you’ve been shooting for?

For Burlington’s Ryan Brooks, all it took was a few simple words from his dad.

Locked in the 19-foot range on all his previous attempts in the long jump at the Freshmen-Sophomore Small School Invitational, Brooks saved his best for last inside the Reggie Lewis Center. The Red Devils’ senior earned a PR and solidified his victory at Saturday’s meet at with a PR and meet record of 21-4.25.

Brooks broke the previous meet mark of 20-9.75. His effort moves him up to No. 15 in the state.

Brooks admitted it was more mental than physical leading up to his final attempt.

“I just didn’t think about it. I just went out there jumped,” he said about his final leap. “Before that, I was thinking about it too much and letting it get into my head. My dad gave me a little speech and I just went out there and jumped. He just said, ‘You’re your own enemy. Calm down and just go out there and jump.’ That’s what I did.”

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Brooks’ performance was one of two meet records that were set a the five-hour meet. In the boys’ 1,000m, Norton’s Sean Parham clocked a mammoth PR of 2:36.05 to win by more than seven seconds.

Parham’s previous best was 2:44.23 from a Tri Valley League meet on Dec. 8.

“I have no clue (how I ran that fast),” he said. “Coming through 800 (meters) it was around 2:04, I think. That’s a PR mid-race and my legs were starting to feel a little heavy. I kind of had to push through that last 200 (meters) to make it work.”

Parham’s eight-second best was his second event PR this season by the same margin. He won the 600m in a best of 1:27.27 at the Mercury Indoor Games on Dec. 10.

The three-lapper is the event he plans to focus on this season.

“I’m hoping to go 1:23 this season, maybe 1:22,” he said. “Maybe 2:33, 2:34 in the 1,000.”

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Competing in her first year of track this season, freshman Lavendar Kozaka of Oliver Ames captured the girls’ 55m dash with a fast 7.50. She edged Archbishop Williams’ sophomore Kaitlyn Burke, who was timed in 7.55.

Since the age of four, Kozeka competed in gymnastics.

“‘I used to do mini races in my town,” she said. “That’s just kind of how it started.”

Top seed Silas Gartner of Falmouth captured the mile with a time of 4:42.28. Weston’s William Cahill was second in 4:47.06.

Gartner was satisfied with the effort but was hoping to get close to his PR of 4:32.05, which he did as a ninth-grader at the Twilight Invitational in mid May.

“I was sick just a month ago,” he said. “I was going to try and break 4:40.”

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Walpole’s Ila Zollo was engaged in a tight race with Whitinsville Christian’s Emily Flagg in the two mile. After running on the heels of the Crusader freshman for most of the race, Zollo was able to take control with a few laps remainng to win with a time of 11:26.87. Flagg held on for second in 11:29.03.

Uxbridge’ sophomore ‘s Kendall Gilmore was a double-winner. The Spartan sophomore won the 300m (42.42) and the long jump (16-3.5).

Ari Levine of Hopedale became the state’s sixth shot-putter to exceed 50 feet. He claimed the title with a heave of 50-5.5, an effort that moves him to No. 4 in the rankings.

“It feels awesome,” he said. “I have been working for it all season. It’s a nice weight off my shoulders.”

Levin admitted he was ‘decently consistent” on his other attempts. His best came at the end.

“I could tell (it was a good one),” he said. “I felt really good.”

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