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Feliz’s hurdles win leads Concord boys to eighth place

  • Concord's Rebecca Massah competes in the 55 meter hurdles at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014.  Massah placed second with a time of 8.79 seconds.<br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

    Concord's Rebecca Massah competes in the 55 meter hurdles at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014. Massah placed second with a time of 8.79 seconds.

    ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

  • Concord's Angel Feliz jumps at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014.  Feliz placed second in the long jump with a distance of 20' 4.5".<br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

    Concord's Angel Feliz jumps at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014. Feliz placed second in the long jump with a distance of 20' 4.5".

    ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

  • Concord's George Feliz sprints in the preliminaries of the 55 meter dash at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014.  Feliz did not qualify for the finals, but he placed first in the 55 meter hurdles with a time of 7.81 seconds.<br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

    Concord's George Feliz sprints in the preliminaries of the 55 meter dash at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014. Feliz did not qualify for the finals, but he placed first in the 55 meter hurdles with a time of 7.81 seconds.

    ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

  • Concord's Smita Boesch-Dining runs in the 1500 meter race at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014.  Boesch-Dining placed second with a time of 4:48.46.<br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

    Concord's Smita Boesch-Dining runs in the 1500 meter race at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014. Boesch-Dining placed second with a time of 4:48.46.

    ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

  • Concord's Rebecca Massah competes in the 55 meter hurdles at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014.  Massah placed second with a time of 8.79 seconds.<br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff
  • Concord's Angel Feliz jumps at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014.  Feliz placed second in the long jump with a distance of 20' 4.5".<br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff
  • Concord's George Feliz sprints in the preliminaries of the 55 meter dash at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014.  Feliz did not qualify for the finals, but he placed first in the 55 meter hurdles with a time of 7.81 seconds.<br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff
  • Concord's Smita Boesch-Dining runs in the 1500 meter race at the Division I Indoor Track and Field championships at Dartmouth College on February 2, 2014.  Boesch-Dining placed second with a time of 4:48.46.<br/><br/>ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff

HANOVER – There were minutes to go before the start of his signature race, but George Feliz wasn’t feeling the unshakable confidence one would assume from a defending champion.

Instead, Feliz had a case of nerves on the biggest stage of the season. But Jen Rivers knew what to say to the best hurdler in the state during a rare moment of need.

“I decided to step in and talk to him,” the Concord track co-coach said. “What I said to him was, ‘This is your last time in this building. Leave it all on the track. This title is yours to win, so take it.’ ”

The pep talk worked. Feliz crushed the competition in his final 55-meter hurdles race, winning his second straight crown with a 7.81-second dash that gave the Crimson Tide its best finish at the Division I championships at Dartmouth College yesterday.

“I wasn’t thinking of winning, that’s for sure,” Feliz said. “I came in here with a little pressure, a lot of nerves. After a conversation with Coach (Rivers), I kind of calmed myself down.”

Feliz’s win helped the Concord boys to 18 points, good for eighth place in a meet won by Pinkerton (87), which finished ahead of Bedford (44), Londonderry (42), Nashua North (41) and Merrimack (37). The Concord girls were ninth with 16 points, behind Bishop Guertin (61.33), Bedford (57), Winnacunnet (55), Londonderry (41) and Pinkerton (37.33).

“It’s been a great season,” said Rivers, whose team also got second-place finishes from Angel Feliz (long jump), Smita Boesch-Dining (1,500) and Rebecca Massah (55 hurdles). “I think we accomplished all the goals we wanted, and I’m really proud of how they performed.”

The highlight came in that boys’ 55 hurdles race, when Feliz accelerated away from his group to snag the victory. Feliz was .27 seconds ahead of second-place Nick Masella of Merrimack, a gap bigger than Masella and the sixth-place runner, and he celebrated the victory with a yell and fist pump as he crossed the finish line.

Career capped.

“Yeah, definitely,” Feliz said when asked if he was thinking about it being his final race. “That’s the reason I was most excited. … It’s my senior year, I’m done with indoor, sadly. I’m leaving with a good team, but it’s worth it.”

George’s brother Angel, a sophomore, had a versatile day for the Crimson Tide, placing second in the long jump at 20 feet, 4½ inches while also finishing 10th in the 300 and helping a 4x200 relay team that was seeded 10th finish seventh at 1:38.28.

“We really wrecked there,” said Angel, who teamed with George, Elbert Mejia and Cole Patoine in the race. “We did our best time, best handoffs. … We seem to have flawless handoffs. For the first handoff it was instant. I just grabbed the stick and ran.”

In the girls’ race, Boesch-Dining had her best time of the season in the 1,500 at 4:48.46, finishing behind only Exeter’s Shannon Murdock, who set a record at 4:36.79.

“I was very excited. I felt great when I went out there,” Boesch-Dining said. “The adrenaline just kicked in. … I tried to stick with (Murdock), but I really wanted to focus on time.”

Concord co-Coach Tristan Black-Ingersoll gave his runner high marks for the race.

“In many respects, running second in a situation like that is much more complicated than trying to go out and run in first,” he said. “In indoor track, somebody gets 50 meters on you, you basically can’t see them anymore. That could sometimes be discouraging. … I thought Smita ran a fantastic race. She’s really been able to develop her speed.”

The other high finisher for the girls was Massah, another senior, who finished the 55 hurdles in 8.79 seconds.

“With hurdles, you never know what could happen,” said Massah, who had the top preliminary time heading into the event. “You just have to go in and try your best and whatever happens, happens. You never know what the outcome is. … But I’m happy with my performance. I ran and made my team proud, which is what I came to do.”

Hana Knowles had a high individual finish for the Crimson Tide with a seventh-place finish in the shot put, while Concord’s 4x200 (Megan Reese, Maria Emmons, Grace Orzechowski and Massah) and 4x400 (Massah, Austin Chudzicki, Orzechowski and Boesch-Dining) teams were eighth and ninth, respectively.

(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or abonifant@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @dbonifant.)

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