When the relay team toed the line last Saturday, the entire track team’s fate was in their hands. The whole day had come down to these last minutes, when the men of the relay would give it their all to beat their opponents. Displaying stamina and strength which could not be beat, the boys clocked in at 3:50.5, a fraction of a second ahead of their opponents. Lee Rattigan ’03 held the first leg, followed by Chimaobi Izeogu ’03 and Gordon Hoople ’04. Adam Kapor ’04 anchored the squad. Rattigan got out fast, and took the lead over Lowell early. Coming in after approximately 55.7 seconds his leg was very impressive. Coach Jon Stableford ’63 remarked, “Rattigan’s leg was fast and solid, and by handing off to Chimaobi ahead of his close competition from Lowell, he allowed Chimaobi to get out clean and fast.” Izeogu held the lead well, fending off the strong runner behind him and gaining precious steps in the lead. Chris Donais ’05 noted, “Chimaobi just powered it through, he looked focused throughout his leg and that focus translated into lots of support for the team.” After Izeogu’s 58.1 second leg it was time for Hoople. He got off fast and started pounding hard, running an admirable 58.7 split. The time had come for the last handoff, and all went smoothly. Kapor was just yards ahead of his opponent and was able to keep a slim lead for the win. Stableford said “What can you say about Adam? Quite simply, he beat a faster runner by refusing to yield any ground when the Lowell runner caught up. The last half lap was all guts, and with a quarter lap to go, I knew Adam would hold off the challenge.” Kapor remembered the final lap well, “I couldn’t really hear on the last lap because the crowd was cheering with intensity. The Lowell guy picked it up, but I made it in faster.” Head coach Corbin Lang was blown away by the teams performance, “These guys have hearts like lions, roars like tigers, and feet like leopards. Going into the race, they knew that if they won the relay, we won the meet. They rose to the challenge like the champions they are.” The Boys in Blue knew the stakes, and they felt the pressure mount before the race. Izeogu, who will be captaining the spring track team, remembered the mentality before the race, “We had the right kind of attitude, and I think that’s the way all of us felt. We knew the meet was on the line (especially after captain Chiu’s personalized pep talks), and we knew what had to be done. Determination can be a potent force at the end of a race, and like Anwell [Lanfranco ’04] said, our legacy was on the line. We hadn’t suffered from a defeat since Exeter two years ago.” The four members of the team have very different running specialties. Kapor and Izeogu are members of the varsity cross country squad. Rattigan is a sprinter specializing in the 55 and 100 meter dashes, while Hoople runs the hurdles. None of the runners see the 400 as their best race, but all acknowledge that it is one of the best events to run. Rattigan said “The relays are my favorite. Almost every time you run a relay and you are winning it is a great feeling. You get this amazing rush that you can only feel when you are running a relay.” The great performance of the team was an outstanding show of their training and fitness, the team has worked hard all season and that is why they were able to push it as hard as they did. Jon Hillman ’05 commented, “These four guys are among the ones you see who push it the most in the workouts. In the distance speed pieces Kapo0r always takes it out quick, and Chimaobi is right on his tail. Lee and Gordon must work hard through the sprint drills, just look at their times, they’re nasty.” Coach Stableford summed up the race and the winning meet well, saying “It’s nice to win. It’s even better to see athletes race well. This day they all did both.”
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