The Charlestown High track team has a history of championships and City titles, but for some years, the program fell apart.
Now, Head Coach Charles Dean has his athletes competing intently for every event, a serious group to be contended with, and a rivalry with East Boston rekindled again.
“The expectations for us have always been high because I’ve made a big effort to build the team up again to what it once was,” he said. “When I took it over, we were pretty much a laughing stock.”
This past week, the indoor team walked into the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury with a great chance to win the indoor City Championship. Had it not been for a mishap on one of the relays, they might have come out on top, but instead fell to third place behind Eastie and O’Bryant. Last year, the team finished just behind Eastie, and the runners across the Harbor have become hearty competitors again with the Townies.
Dean can recall the glory days when Charlestown won City Championships and state championships because he was a runner during high school on those teams. Some years ago, he came back to take over the indoor program, and last year he spent his first year coaching the outdoor team as well.
He started with rebuilding the relays.
“I did build the team off the relays,” he said. “If you start with a track team of eight or 10 good runners and compete in the 4 x 200 and 4 x 400, you can build around them. You can mix them up and put them in different individual events. It has worked. If my relays aren’t good, the team falls apart.”
Right now, some of his standout runners include Captains Cane and Abel Monteiro, as well as football standout Jahwon Ryan. Hurdler Christopher Michel has also found his stride, as has high jumper Ke’Brant Almond.
Right now, Dean said the team is preparing for the indoor state meet, and conditioning for the season outdoors – with sights firmly set on avenging their third-place finish at the indoor City Championship.
“Everyone watch out,” Dean said. “They know Charlestown is always here to compete with anyone now. When we step into White Stadium or Reggie Lewis, we’re coming for championships. We have the fire and then some.”