Many say that mistakes only make one stronger, and that’s the attitude that the talented Charlestown High indoor boys’ track team is taking this week after losing the City Championship to Eastie by four points on Feb. 4 – a loss that came down to a bad handoff on the last leg of the 4 x 200 meter relay.
Senior Capt. Jozane Porter was running the final leg, and his teammates had secured a tremendous lead – with a win in the relay virtually guaranteeing them their first Indoor City Championship in some time. While they are the reigning outdoor champs, the indoor title has been elusive – as they have lost narrowly a few times already in the past.
However, this year was supposed to be their time.
Then came the bad exchange to Porter, who didn’t get the baton on first pass and then ended up running out of the zone for a disqualification.
“I was speechless,” said Juan Anthony Basabe, who ran the first leg and took first place in the Long Jump. “It was tough. Really, Really tough.”
Porter said he was using it as a learning experience, and he said it has been hard to accept for the past several days.
“I don’t think I slept for a few days,” he said. “I feel like everybody played a part in us losing, but no one is more at fault than I am. I’ve been doing track for years, for 10 years. I was doing track in Jamaica before I came here. Track was always the thing for me. I was always training. To come to America and have better training, better facilities and have the opportunity to win and then I come to a championship and mess it up, it’s hard to accept. I have flashbacks of that moment constantly.”
The entire team has been contemplating little mistakes that were made throughout the meet that could have helped them surge to an easy victory, such as their reliable hurdler taking second instead of first, their sprinter Jaison Gil false starting in what would have been a one-two finish with Porter.
Coach Charles Dean – who has worked tirelessly to build up a strong program at his alma mater – said the win was there for the taking, but they didn’t seal the deal.
“We had all the right things in place,” he said. “We didn’t seal the deal. I think losing by four was harder than losing all the meets we lost during the season…If you add up the points had we not make these little mistakes, we should have won by 25 points. They capitalized on our mistakes.”
There were some outstanding performances not to be overlooked. Juan Anthony Basabe won the long jump, and Porter won the 55 meters. Distance runner Adnan Abdirahman won the 1,000 meters, the two-mile and the one-mile. Many of the runners still have the state meet to look forward to, but all said they would be taking this loss as fuel to go out and defend their outdoor title.
“This year I see for outdoors that we need to go harder than last year,” said Basabe. “I see outdoor as a challenge. This year, we have to go out there much stronger than we were before this.”