Gagnon snaps 31-year-old record

HARTFORD -- Lowell High ace distance runner Brian Gagnon jammed another impressive feather in his overstuffed cap yesterday, breaking a 31-year-old Lowell High record while placing third in the mile at the 34th annual Hartford Public School Invitational Track & Field Meet held at Trinity College.

More than 1,000 athletes from the eastern seacoast competed in the meet, which saw two new best-in-the-nation performances in the girls steeplechase and boys javelin throw (235 feet).

Gagnon was matched up against an elite field of milers, and his third-place time of 4:17.08 was a personal best while also shattering the old LHS mark of 4:22.1 established in 1974 by LHS Hall of Famer Bob Hodge.

Brian wanted to go to this meet because he was intrigued by the caliber of opponent and wanted to see how well he'd do, said LHS coach Phil Maia.

It was an awesome race. Brian was right beside the eventual winner (Chris Barnicle) halfway through. He slipped back a little during the third quarter, but at the end he outkicked two other runners. No one is going to outkick Brian over the final 100 yards of a race.

Barnicle, of Newton North High, won the race in 4:11.10, which was two seconds off the meet record held by Brookline's Jon Riley (4:09).

Gagnon, a senior, is headed to the University of Connecticut on a track scholarship in the fall.

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