Lynn English senior Ricky Kimber waited 365 days for another shot at the Northeastern Conference 400-meter outdoor hurdles title.
Kimber had stumbled during last year’s race and settled for third place overall.
That’s why the stakes were so high for Kimber as he approached the starting line in the NEC Meet Saturday at Manning Field. Undefeated in the hurdles during the 2010 dual meet season, Kimber and everyone watching the race – including several members of his family – knew that he was the man to beat. And this would be his final opportunity to win an NEC title on his home track.
The 5-foot-10-inch, 135-pound track star redeemed himself with a first-place finish in the time of 57.2 seconds.Kimber let out a celebratory yell as he crossed the finish line ahead of his chief challenger, Edwin Mejia of Peabody High School.
“It took awhile to get here but it feels really great once you get here,” said Kimber moments after winning the race. “Last year I tripped up and came in third. But I just psyched myself up and got the lead and didn’t give it up.”
This year Kimber ran his race to perfection, just as he had strategized with his coaches.
“I like to play a little game at the second turn, let them try to catch up to me, and then when I hear footsteps, that’s what turns me on and I try to leave them in the dust,” said Kimber.
Kimber, who will attend Marian Court College in Swampscott in the fall, thanked his coaches, Mark Connolly and John Walsh, for their support.
“They’ve been excellent and they’ve been behind me 100 percent and I needed that,” said Kimber. “They motivated me and boosted me and every time they were there for me.”
Kimber will compete in the Division 1 Meet with the hope of qualifying for the State Meet.
Lynn English’s Camy Ducasse took home the NEC boys’ title in the 400-meter race in 51.2 seconds. Hulerie McGuffie of Lynn Classical was the girls’ NEC champion in the 400 meters in 57.4 seconds.