Amherst sophomore Taj-Amir Torres is the fastest high schooler in New England

Last modified: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Taj-Amir Torres is the fastest high schooler in New England.

And his reign has a chance to last.

The Amherst Regional sophomore captured the 100-meter dash title at the New England Track & Field Championships Saturday.

“It’s a great feeling,” Torres said. “It’s surreal. It hasn’t kicked in yet. I can’t believe I won.”

Torres finished in 10.73 seconds at Willow Brook Park, New Britain, Conn. He edged David Campbell, of Bloomfield, Conn., by 0.03 seconds.

The top six sprinters, all seniors other than Torres, ran under 11 seconds. Torres’ time was 0.01 shy of matching his personal best, which he set last week at the All-State championship.

Sophomore Evan Lexo, of Groton-Dunstable, was seventh in 11.00 seconds, while sophomore Zakari Jenkins (Nash North, N.H.) ran 11.02 and finished eighth.

“I looked at the results and I saw that everyone hit 11,” Torres said. “It was tough competition. I knew it was going to be a close race. You never know what can happen. I did what I’ve been doing all year and hoped that I’d win.”

Running in the fifth heat Saturday, Torres earned the top qualifying time for the finals. His 10.85 mark was 0.11 faster than Jenkins, who also ran in the fifth heat.

“I told myself I had to take a little off but not a lot,” Torres said. “I had to push it and I think it helped me in the (finals). I knew that I wasn’t running as fast as I could but 10.85 was still a fast time. I knew I could push it more and I did.”

Amherst senior Aybars Gungor placed eighth in the javelin with a toss of 174 feet. Teammate Gary Burnett was 26th in the 300 hurdles in 42.02 seconds.

The Hurricanes’ 4x100 relay placed 14th in 43.87 seconds. The team included Devin Clarke, Dylan Owens, JJ Sylla and Torres.

The Northampton girls 4x400 relay had its best time of the season and placed fifth. Adrienne Pascucci, Mia Toffoli, Khaila Ramirez and Alexandra Dibrindisi finished in 3:56.86.

Pascucci tied for 12th with a mark of 5-0 in the high jump.

Dibrindisi was 27th in the long jump at 15-6.