East Boston High boys track team crowned City Champs
By John Lynds
The East Boston High School boys indoor track team was crowned City Champions last week during the annual city league meet.
The Jets boys team has not won a City League Championship in 20 years and faced some stiff competition from arch-rival O’Bryant but was able to beat the Tigers by a point and a half and finished 66.5 to O’Bryant’s 65 on the point sheet. Eastie tied O’Bryant in the regular season.
“I think this season was a magical one. We started off with three goals in mind,” said Eastie’s track coach Garcia Dalzon. “First, we wanted to be city champions. Second, we wanted to be divisional champions. Lastly, we wanted to build a program. East Boston has always been known for its strong sports programs, but you would never think of indoor track as a sport that contributed to that legacy. From day one this team wanted to make history and I think that is what fueled us all season. We haven’t won a Boys Indoor track City Championship in over 20 years. Moreover, there hasn’t been a team that has won the city championship not named O’Bryant, or Boston Latin Academy since 2004.”
Dalzon said his team was well aware of the history and wanted to create their own legacy.
“It was difficult to recruit kids and get them on board because we haven’t been as successful in the past, but I found a group of 22 boys who were dedicated and great things happened as a result of their commitment,” said Dalzon. “It was a very close meet and we only won by 1.5 points edging O’Bryant, which it made the victory even sweeter because we tied with them during the regular season. To beat them was an amazing feeling.”
Dalzon said he believes the reason why Eastie won was because of a total team effort.
“If it wasn’t for every single member of the team putting forth their best effort we would not get the results that we strived for,” said Dalzon. “Track is a sport base on individual performance, however in order to win a championship you have to have all members of the team acting on one accord and I was fortunate that I had a team that believed and they were rewarded for that.”
The Jets finished the season undefeated with a record of 5-0-1 and won the North Division.
East Boston resident set to run as part of the YMCA’s Boston Marathon Team
East Boston resident Jolene Visconti understands firsthand the importance and impact that the YMCA of Greater Boston can have on a family.
Seven years ago,Visconti, 40, and her husband, Nino, took in her nine-year-old nephew, Michael, when her sister was no longer able to care for him. At the time, Visconti said she and her husband were caring for her own 19-year old son, and his 22-year old daughter from a previous marriage.
With both parents working full time, and a full house at home they turned to the East Boston YMCA for childcare and support, and they ended up getting so much more. Michael attended the afterschool program at the East Boston YMCA until he reached the age of 12. Too old for daycare, and too young for employment, the Y guided him through his tween years allowing him to serve as a volunteer counselor until this past summer, when he turned 16, holding his first official summer position at the Y.
The Y also granted Michael a full scholarship to North Woods Camp in New Hampshire for two years at no cost. During the two-week sessions at North Woods Camp, Michael was immersed in the great outdoors where he unplugged from technology and took part in activities such as fishing, kayaking, hiking, and creating shelter.
It is because of all of these opportunities that Visconti will lace up to run and raise money as a member of the YMCA of Greater Boston Marathon team. She considers her participation a “thank you” to the East Boston YMCA for helping to support her nephew for the last seven years through its teen programming and financial support.
All funds raised by Y Marathon team members will support the YMCA of Greater Boston’s teen programs. This past summer the YMCA of Greater Boston gave out 15,000 free three-month memberships to teens at the Y’s 13 branches with unlimited access and held more than 900 community events.
Programs like Safe Dating, Cyber Bulling, Job Readiness, Volunteerism, Leadership, SAT prep and mentoring programs empower and engage youth in productive ways.
“When Michael is at the Y I know he is safe, engaged and getting the homework help he needs – it’s a relief for a working mom,” said Visconti. “I’m only able to take on the Marathon because of my incredible family helping out around the house and being such a great support system.”
Visconti’s family has also been helping with her fundraising. With her family and friends spreading the word through social media her son has been helping to sell tickets for her upcoming fundraiser, a comedy show in Saugus.
So far, Visconti has raised $5,000 out of her $8,000 goal.
“The funds raised through our Boston Marathon team are crucial in helping to meet the growing demands of our teen population,” said CEO and President of the YMCA of Greater Boston James O’S. Morton. “This past summer was our busiest to date with each of our branches creating programming to fit the needs of the youth in their neighborhoods. YMCA of Greater Boston’s teen programming is an invaluable resource for the youth of our city, keeping them off the streets, out of trouble, and engaged in productive and educational activities.”
To prepare for the big day, Visconti is hitting the pavement four to six days a week, taking shorter runs by herself on weekdays and one long run on Saturdays with a group that includes her teammates. She has made friends from various other teams that will also be running in the Marathon.
Taking care of her mind and body, Visconti tries to sleep eight hours a night, stay hydrated, and eat as clean as possible, consuming vegetables, whole grains and carbs and avoiding fast food and anything high in fat. Allowing herself one cheat day a week, she indulges in a steak dinner with a loaded potato and glass of wine on Saturday nights, as a reward for completing her long runs.
“The YMCA has been a huge help to my family, and to my nephew in particular,” said Visconti. “Running for the Y and raising money is such a great way to give back to a wonderful cause.”
Runners who have qualified to receive a Boston Marathon bib and would like to experience the comradery of running with a team while supporting charity are welcome to join the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Marathon team. Runners must raise a minimum of $1,500. For more information on how you can join the team or how to support the runners, email [email protected] to learn more about YMCA’s marathon runners visit, www.ymcaboston.org/boston-marathon-team.
For more information Visconti, or to donate to her upcoming run in the Boston Marathon, visit https://www.crowdrise.com/ymcaboston2016/fundraiser/jolenevisconti.