The members of the John F. Kennedy boys’ track track team don’t know that the Millrose Games were started in 1908 by the employees of New York City’s John Wanamaker Department Store.
They also would be hard pressed to cite the most prolific winner in the event’s history — Loren Murchinson, a sprinter who won 13 titles between 1919 and 1926.
Still, Romaine Angel, Tajae Montgomery, Ronald Gadson, Cain Caldwell and Jeral Perez, Kennedy’s 4 x 400 meter boys’ relay team, have been dreaming of competing at the games since they were high school freshman or before.
“When we finished running, we just stood there with the other teams, looking up at the scoreboard,” said Gadson, recalling the Millrose time trials held at the Armory in Washington Heights on Jan. 16. “When we saw that we qualified, we felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment.”
Kennedy’s time of 3:32.98 was good enough to claim coach Raymond Cusranie and his team the sixth and final qualifying spot for the boys’ PSAL race at the games, which will be held at the Armory on Saturday, Feb. 16. A total of 52 girls and 55 boys teams from the PSAL competed for the top six spots.
Brooklyn schools were the top three qualifiers, with Samuel J. Tilden finishing first, with a time of 3:26.17, followed by Boys & Girls, at 3:28.75 and Medgar Evers at 3:29.40. Mott Haven, a Bronx school was fourth, at 3:30.89, followed by Brooklyn’s South Shore, at 3:31.76, and Kennedy.
Kennedy’s performance was particularly notable, as Perez, the team’s alternate runner, stepped in for Caldwell, who was injured.
“Running with my teammates is exhilarating,” said Perez. “Knowing that we all get stronger together.”
A good pass
Most successful sports teams rely on the excellence of both individual players and the chemistry of the team. Athletes are expected to dazzle with their own skills, as well as be willing to pick up the slack for one or more teammates.
Track and field relay races may very well epitomize this coalescence.