Stoughton hurdles runner Greg Boursiquot.Globe Correspondent / March 11, 2010
All winter, Gregory Boursiquot lagged behind his competitors out of the blocks in the 55-meter hurdle race before emphatically overtaking the field. He wasn’t drafting off his foes; the Stoughton High junior just feels more comfortable running from behind.
“When I chase somebody, that makes me faster; [it helps] to see what’s going on,’’ said Boursiquot, who finally lost his first race of the season in a preliminary heat at the All-State meet on Feb. 26 at the Reggie Lewis Center.
Fresh off his victory at the Division 2 state meet in 7.69 seconds, Boursiquot was three-tenths of a second behind his normal start in the All-State heat, a fact his coach, Harvey Blonder, subtly pointed out to his pupil before he won the final in 7.50.
“He doesn’t get totally flustered if he’s a little bit behind; I have had hurdlers start faster than Greg, but he’s the best I’ve ever had running through the middle of it,’’ Blonder said, before noting how impressed he was to see Boursiquot jump out of the gate in the final.
“He’s smart enough to know that all he had to do was get a better start and he’d be all set. The next race, he went over the first hurdle right with the field and I knew he was going to win.’’
Boursiquot has not lost since, including his victorious 7.48 clocking at the New England high school championship held last Friday at the Reggie. He will conclude the season on Sunday at the
Boursiquot will enter the meet with the 11th-fastest time in the country; the top six finishers earn All-America status.
“I don’t expect to come close to winning anything,’’ Boursiquot said, “but every time I think that, something good happens.’’
Boursiquot was never more pessimistic than when he earned the No. 1 seed for the New England meet, seeded ahead of even Rodrigo Souza, the Old Saybrook High (Conn.) senior who ran the fastest time in the country (7.43) this winter at the Yale Invitational.
“In my head I was scared,’’ Boursiquot recalled two days after his school-record time. “In practice I tried to stay focused, but I said, ‘Coach, how am I going to beat him? He runs so fast.’
“I don’t like being the top seed because you’re expected to win. Everyone looks at you, and if you don’t win it’s like you’re not good. I was scared to warm up because I was afraid of getting cramps.’’
Ultimately Boursiquot knew there was only one solution: Beat Souza off the blocks.
That was still only half the battle: Souza led going into the final hurdle before Boursiquot eclipsed him.
“I think my start was a little bit faster than him,’’ Boursiquot said. “In the middle of the race, we were tied but at the end I came through.
“When I beat [Souza’s time] in the first round I was amped. When I won the finals, I never expected that at all. I never thought I’d beat him.”
This spring, he will focus on the 110-yard outdoor hurdles school record set by Sean Earle, a 1993 Stoughton graduate who periodically works with Boursiquot as a coach. He has already broken Earle’s mark in the 50 (6.4) with his 6.3 sprint. Rodney Julien’s 400-meter hurdle record of 58 seconds flat is also a quest.
“It would be really cool,” Boursiquot said. “That would be awesome, my name all over the place. That would be cool.”