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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
6 Jan 2024
Joe Reardon


NextImg:Fast times common at Freshman Sophomore Small Schools meet

Lavender Kozaka is taking a hiatus from the sport she has been competing in since the age of 4 to take on a new athletic challenge.

An accomplished gymnast, the Oliver Ames freshman has been on the track this winter to concentrate on the indoor season. So far, she has been opening eyes with her speed in the 55 dash.

Kozaka dominated the event at Saturday’s Coaches Freshman/Sophomore Large Schools Invitational.

Racing on the Reggie Lewis Center infield, Kozaka won her preliminary heat in a personal best and broke it again with a mark of 7.50 seconds in the final to claim the gold medal. Archbishop Williams’ Kaitlyn Burke was second in 7.55 and Sydney Almeida of Dartmouth was third with a 7.60.

“The races went well,” said Kozaka, whose time was the No. 13 fastest time in Massachusetts this season. “I PRed twice. I had a good (starting) block and finished nicely. The final was stressful because everyone was so close together.”

Norton’s Sean Parham and Rayan Brooks of Burlington both chalked up meet records. Parham destroyed the field in the just his second time running the 1000 – winning by more than seven seconds – in 2:36.05 and Brooks leaped 21-4-1/4 to take down the long jump mark.

A 600-meter specialist, Parham felt strong in the 1000 but admitted it was tougher for him than the shorter race.

“It’s something that’s pretty new,” said Parham. “It felt great. It (the record) was kind of a surprise. I was for the win and a PR.”

Gavin Brady took the 600 to the rest of the field and no one was able to respond. The North Reading sophomore was aggressive from the gun and blazed through the 400 in 58.1 and never let up. He crossed the finish line with a personal best of nearly three seconds in 1:27.47.

Amesbury’s Maxx Rodrigues was more than a second back in 1:28.69 and Connor Earle of Duxbury was third in 1:29.0.

Brady was all business from the start.

“I never looked back, I always look ahead,” he said. “My coaches put me in the best position to do well. I’ve been working on my endurance speed.”

East Bridgewater sophomore Isabella Bright broke the school record in her 55-hurdle preliminary race and lowered it again in the final with her 9.15 victory. Having moved to a three-step approach between hurdles, Bright has the added quickness she lacked last winter.

“It went well,” said Bright. “I’m really happy to get back to the hurdles because I love it.”

Archbishop Williams’ Maddie Hussey ran a conservatively in the mile before unleashing a kick over the final 400 to pull away for the win in 5:29.14.

“I was a little nervous,” said Hussey. “I didn’t take it out fast. My coach told me to let someone else lead. I went hard on the last lap. I definitely learned how to race this year. I used to just go, but now I try to make a plan beforehand.”

Falmouth’s Silas Gartner was fighting a cold, but still managed to capture the mile with a time of 4:42.08. Gartner finished comfortably ahead of Weston’s William Cahill (4:47.06) and Coleman McCarthy of East Bridgewater (4:49.07).

Ari Levine of Hopedale had a huge day in the circle as he tossed the shot put to a personal best of 50 feet, 5-1/2 inches.