The track meet from hell.
That’s what Andover High track coach Peter Comeau figured Thursday’s mid-afternoon/early-evening event at Reggie Lewis Center would be.
And for good reason.
The bus company Andover uses couldn’t find bus drivers.
“Our meet was at 4 (p.m.). We usually leave around 2:45 (p.m.),” said Comeau. “But then I get a call we can’t get a bus at that time. No bus drivers available.”
The only option available was a noon bus, that had a driver. The problem with that is they are in Boston by 1 p.m.
“So basically, I’m getting the kids out of school at noon (p.m.). Then we get to Reggie Lewis in less than hour, because there isn’t any traffic,” said Comeau. “So we have to sit around the bleachers and wait almost three hours … and waiting. The kids, I guess, could do homework, but it’s not a good thing.”
The other concern was the actual meet, with his powerful team sitting around for a long time.
“I was concerned we might not be mentally with it,” said Comeau.
Well, everything went as planned. The bus came at noon. They were in Boston around 1 p.m. And the Andover High kids did their homework, waiting for about 3:30 p.m. to come to start stretching.
Except the “mentally with it” part.
Andover had probably its best indoor meet of the season. Eights girls and six boys broke personal records.
For the girls, Molly Kiley’s 2-mile was 10:58.37, the second best run by an MVC competitor. Ashley Sheldon bettered her best 55 meter hurdles (8.77) and Shayla Quill got a pair of PRs in the 55 meter hurdles (9.12) and long jump (16-4).
For the boys senior Jack Gruenberg continued his ascent with the shotput, winning with a throw of 48-2, his best by two feet, qualifying him for the New Balance HS National Meet in Boston on March 13.
Colin Kirn had his best mile of the year at 4:29.75 and Harvey Lys has his best high jump at 6-0, also qualifying him for nationals.
“Honestly, I was stunned,” said Comeau. “The lesson I got from it was our kids were prepared, thanks in large part to our assistant coaches.
“We did know the situation on Monday and our kids brought food, water and homework,” said Comeau. “It shows when you prepare, you can just those hurdles.”
Andover boys and girls was competing against Lowell and North Andover. Only the girls won, beating Lowell.
The bus pulled in at Andover High at 8:45 p.m.
“That’s a long, long day for everybody,” said Comeau. “But we showed a lot of mental toughness. It will prepare us well for the big meet, the MVC meet, next Friday night at New Balance in Boston. I couldn’t be prouder.”
You can email Bill Burt at email@example.com.
The track meet from hell.