Swimming wins back-and-forth battle
By Mike Stoller
It’s been quite a run – literally and figuratively – for the Somerville High girls track and field team, which has won two straight meets and is looking forward to its big matchup with Malden tomorrow.
“Malden is a very good team, and it should be a very close meet,” Highlanders head coach Charlie O’Rourke said.
Suffice to say, Somerville is ready for the event, after defeating Everett, 67-17, last week, and squeaking out a one-point win over Medford, 43 ½ – 42 ½, in the prior meet.
“Our senior captains continue to set a great example for our young team,” O’Rourke said after the win over Everett, citing his two senior leaders, Gelynne Berger and Melina Garro-Duplisea.
“Gelynne has been sprinting very well, and Melina has been running the best races of her career,” O’Rourke said. “Their leadership has set the bar high for the rest of the team.”
The rest of the group has responded in kind. Against Everett, for example, Saragrace Magre, Samantha Simon, and Kaylee Lima, led the Highlanders to a sweep of the top three spots in the 300 meter.
“It was key race for us early in the meet,” O’Rourke said.
The Highlanders also got significant contributions form Alison Kaba, who won the shot put, and freshman Melissa Sanon.
“Alison continues to be our most versatile contributor, running hurdles, throwing the shot put, running sprints, and high jumping,” O’Rourke praised. “Melissa has impressed with her sprinting and improvement in the high jump.”
The Highlanders also got wins from Maureen McNabb in the two-mile; Berger in the 50 meter dash; Catherine Nakato in the 600 meter; Garro-Duplisea in the 1000 meter; Delmi Hernandez in the mile; and the relay team of Nakato, Laxmi Spearing, Garro-Duplisea, and Berger.
In the win over Medford, the meet was decided in the relay events, which the Highlanders won in a thrilling finish. Berger crossed as the fourth runner in the last relay to give Somerville the victory.
“Great win,” O’Rourke said. “I wasn’t sure how this young team would respond to having their first meet against a good Medford team. Our veteran girls stepped up and the new girls performed like seasoned veterans. This was a great win for this young team.”
The coach noted strong performances by Garro-Duplisea in the mile; Kaba in the shot put; Delmi Hernandez in the 1000 meter; Magre in the 300 meter; Taija Clark in the high jump; and Berger in the 50 meter dash.
“But one newcomer really impressed me,” O’Rourke added. Melissa Sanon jumping 4 feet, 4 inches in the in the high jump to get a tie for third place, and also getting a key third [place] in the 55 meter dash.”
Back and forth they went, and when it was over, the Somerville co-ed swimming team had defeated Medford, 84-73, in a pulsating Greater Boston League meet last week that saw the lead change five times.
“We were able to hold them off for the win,” Somerville head coach Michael Williams said. “It was an outstanding effort by both teams and a great display of sportsmanship.”
In the opening event, Medford took an 8-6 lead, winning the 200 medley relay in a time of 2:13.85. The Highlanders stayed close with second and third-place finishes. Harrison Grams, AJ Tulachan, Rafael Lima, and Henry Hover took second place with a time of 2:14.95. William Quan, Tenzing Kartsos, Carlos Flores, and RJ Bingham placed third.
Medford also won the 200 freestyle, but again Somerville proved to be neck and neck with the Mustangs. Cam Rumrill, Tsring Gesar, and Marisa Rafal took second, third, and fourth place, respectively, to pull the Highlanders even on the scoreboard.
The seesaw battle continued until Somerville took the lead for good in the 500 freestyle. Rafal won the race, with Quan finishing in second place. O’Rourke also noted a “strong fourth place finish” by Matt Damaceno.
Medford rallied with another first-place finish in the 200 free relay. However, a terrific showing by the Somerville team of Bingham, Flores, Kaitlin Doherty, and Vanna Loue helped the Highlanders keep the overall lead.
“Down to the last three events, it was still anyone’s meet,” Williams said.
Somerville sealed the victory with a first-place finish by Grams in the backstroke and second and third-place finishes by Tulachan and Kartsos in the breaststroke.