8 Minutes and 11.64 Seconds

How long does it take to achieve a goal?



Senior Nick O’Brien, second from right, poses with members of the Mills 4X800 relay team. Contributed photo

Tyler Smelski, Contributing writer

It’s a comfortable 70 degrees at the Litchfield High School track for the Berkshire League Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Nick O’Brien, Lewis Mills senior track star, runs through his dynamic warm-ups and stretches in preparation for the 4×800 meter relay race. Adrenaline pumps through O’Brien’s veins as he waits in anticipation for his event at the BL Championships to begin.

“First call for boys 4×800!” rings out over the Litchfield High track.

O’Brien and his fellow 4×800 runners, Winthrop Hayes, John Mudgett, and Jon Lewis, gather around the starting line, checking in to the mid-May relay race.

“Listen up” says track coach Gene Michaud, “You guys have to win this for us if we want a chance to beat Nonnewaug. Just go out and run your race.”

“Last call for boys 4×800!”

O’Brien takes his place at the starting line as the first leg of the 4×800 meter race. Grasping the baton, O’Brien waits in anticipation for the race to begin.

“Runners on your marks!”

The runners twitch in anticipation. The starting gun fires and the race begins. O’Brien jumps at the sound of the gun, taking an early lead. Caught up in the moment, O’Brien only thinks of running, one foot in front of the other. O’Brien rounds the second turn of the first 400 meters, picking up speed. He pushes the pace, daring the other runners to keep up. The Lewis Mills senior opens a sizeable lead through the first 800 meters of the relay before passing the baton to sophomore Winthrop Hayes.

“Great race, Nick!” encourages Coach Michaud.

O’Brien takes a few minutes to catch his breath and by the time he looks up John Mudgett has the baton with no competition  in sight. Mudgett passes the baton to Jon Lewis, starting the last leg of the race.

Lewis crosses the finish line with the clock reading 8 minutes and 11.64 seconds. O’Brien is stunned, as the relay team had just achieved the Connecticut State Class MM first seed.

Announcements rang out soon after the finish: “Lewis Mills finishes first with a Berkshire League record time of 8 minutes and 11.64 seconds!”