It had been a morning of dead heats and shuffling standings, but no one — not even the winning coaches — expected the shakeup at the MIAA Division 1 Indoor Championships’ final race at the Reggie Lewis Track Center.
“We knew we had a chance, but you never know,” Cambridge co-coach Jamalh Prince said. “We are just as emotional and shocked as Lexington is. But again, you fight to the end. Fight to the end and the best person wins.”
Going into the girls’ 4 x 400, 5 points separated the top five teams. Third-place Cambridge, fourth-place Andover, and fifth-place Acton-Boxboro all had teams seeded in the final heat, hoping to grab 10 points and the meet title.
Less than four minutes later, it was the surprising quartet from Lexington, led by senior Robin Gross on the anchor, that outdistanced Newton North by three seconds to steal the race and jump from seventh into a co-championship with Cambridge (40 points).
Gross, who held the lead through the last lap, crossed the finish line in a season-best time of 3 minutes 58.51 seconds.
“It feels great, it’s really amazing,” Gross said, as she and teammates Camila Isern, Melissa Solomon, and Olivia Manickas-Hill began to relish in the championship title.
Earlier in the day, Gross had a personal record with a third-place finish in the 300 (40.96), while Isern finished third in the 600 (1:35.7). The seniors have both committed to run for Boston College next year.
But the Minutemen weren’t the only ones celebrating. Cambridge’s Maya Halprin-Adams, Jordan Poindexter, Tameka Vincent, and Dora Cronin finished fourth in the 4 x 400, earning 5 points to give the school a piece of the title for the first time since 2003.
“I don’t think we have any idea we had a chance at this, but you never know. You can’t play defense,” Cambridge co-coach Scotty Cody said.
According to Cody, it was senior Anchella Bernard who really pulled the Falcons through by placing in three events. She was fourth in the shot put (39 feet, 9½ inches), third in the long jump (16-6¾), and led off the first-place 4 x 200 team (1:47.6).
The Lowell boys scored in nine of 13 events to win their first Division 1 indoor title in coach Phil Maia’s 30-year tenure.
“We’re a team, we scored in nine events. It’s not just on the back of one kid. It’s just the fact that they are team,” Maia said.
The Red Raiders’ 4 x 800 team of Andrew Whitney, Mike Kalenoski, Patrick Coppinger, and Tyler Richards won in 8:01.13, finishing .51 seconds off the meet record three of the four of them set at last year’s championships, earning Lowell’s last points of the day.
Coppinger placed third in the mile (4:21.89). Ryan Fitzgerald broke his own school record, running a 35.64 for third in the 300.
In the high jump, Mike Holder cleared 6-4, but ultimately took second to Shrewsbury’s Rino Tonelli, who cleared the same height in fewer attempts.
Lowell picked up additional points with Johnny Abraham’s fourth place in the 2 mile (9:32.71), and fifth-place finishes by Kalenoski in the 1,000 (2:31.89), Colin Hoey in the shot put (49-8¼), and in the 4 x 200 relay (1:32.99).
Somerville’s Andre Rolim shaved a second off his seeded time in the 600-meter run to win his fourth consecutive Division 1 title at 1:21.97.