Runners set to break records at state track meet

Many of the 35 Whittier students who qualified for the Massachusetts Vocational School Track Meet are top seeded and will run with the fastest heats in the state today as they compete against students from 20 other schools. Hopes are high this afternoon as they gather with hundreds of vo-tech students at Blue Hills Vocational School in Canton.

 Senior Emily O'Brien already holds a number of records at Whittier and is ranked first in today's meet in the 100-meter hurdles. "I can't believe it," she said as she read the qualifying list. "I'm going to beat her," she said, pointing to the name of the #2 runner with the same time. Emily holds school records in the 100-meter sprint, 400-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump.

Junior Tom Mahoney never ran competitively before his freshman year when a former track coach spotted his gait on the football field. "He said, I Iooked fast and asked me to come out," he said. "It's a great sport. It's competitive, and you rely on yourself, not others." He is the #1 seed in the 100-meter race today and #3 in the 200-meter. He will also compete in the long jump.

The team's proud coaches Electrical Teacher Lance Little and Special Education Teacher Rebecca Pfiel boarded the bus with them. "They knew the times that would qualify them for this and they worked hard to get there," Ms. Pfiel said. More than 100 students are members of the team.

An added bonus was leaving school at 10 a.m.