BOSTON – Led by the junior sprinter Mange Camara’s top performance, the Watertown boys track & field team took third place at the MIAA Div. 5 Indoor Championships Thursday. Distance runner Emily Koufos excelled for the girls.
With each best time in the 55 dash and the 300 meters, Camara sets a new school record. He set the record at the Coaches Invitational and then again at the Middlesex League Meet. Thursday at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center he set the mark even higher – or lower timewise.
“Mange had another great day,” said Watertown boys track coach Tom Wittenhagen. “This is three meets in a row that he got two school records. He keeps getting better and better.”
With his time, Camara now has the third fastest 300 in New England and the 26th fastest for high schoolers in the nation, Wittenhagen said. He will move on to All-States on February 24, then New Englands and finally the New Balance Indoor Nationals in which he will compete in the top tier, the Championship Division.
Camara, a junior, took second place in the 55, running 6.58 seconds in the final, just .1 behind the winner, John Caouette from Oakmont. In the 300, he went one better and won the race in the time of 34.71.
“I had two PRs [personal records]: the 55 by a hundredth of a second and in the 300 by almost 0.2,” Camara said. “I’m pleased with my performance.”
Caouette is a familiar opponent for Camara, having raced him at the Coaches Invitational in January.
“Last time I was behind that kid and I barely beat him, but this time I left my self a little more room for error,” Camara said.
Camara also anchored the 4 x 400 relay team. Along with senior Ben Landry, junior Nathan Follett and senior Gus Brouillard, team came in first with a time of 3:33.11. The team will also compete at the All-State Meet.
Another consistently strong runner this year has been Koufos in the distance events. The senior already won the 2 mile at the Middlesex League meet, and at the Div. 5 Meet she ran the mile. Her time of 5:12.19 took third place Thursday, behind twins Sarah and Kaitlyn Roffman of Littleton.
Koufos said she always enjoys racing the Roffmans.
“At the Coaches Invitational I raced Kaitlyn Roffman,” Koufos said. “Me and her were neck and neck. We ended up having both a 5:11s and I beat her by just a very, very small amount. They are both amazing runners and I love racing them.”
Koufos said she was pleased with her time, but despite qualifying for All-States with her third place finish she will miss the meet because she is traveling to Italy with some of her Watertown High classmates.
“My best time is a 5:10, so 5:12 is not far off that,” Koufos said. “My plan was to get under 5:10. Hopefully I can do that outdoors.”
Senior Edward Ferreira leapt into the finals of the long jump, and his best jump of 19-feet-4.75-inches was sixth best at the meet. He said he felt pressed for time.
“I had to rush it a bit because I had to run the 4 x 200 relay,” Ferreira said.
In the relay, he was the lead-off leg for the team, which was made up of Follett, Brouillard and Landry. They finished in 1:36.87 and got sixth place.
Raiders finishing just outside the top eight point-scoring places were junior Jack Barry (10th in the 2 mile), senior Elizabeth Powderly (10th in the mile), junior Abigael Peterson (10th in the high jump).
Landry placed 13th in the shot put, sophomore Rose Muldrew got 17th in the 55, sophomore Lakshmi Thangaraj got 18th in the mile and the girls 4 x 200 relay finished 20th.
Watertown moved from from Div. 4 to 5 this year, which helped make a move up the team standings, Wittenhagen said.
The boys finished in third place with 34 points, just two behind the second place Oakmont and five behind first place Ayer Shirley. The girls placed 23rd with six points.
See a gallery of photos from the Div. 5 Meet below: