Tewksbury High attempted the near-impossible and then went out and accomplished it Saturday night, taking first place in two individual running events at the Merrimack Valley Conference championships at Lowell's Cawley Stadium.
Bridle won the her third consecutive MVC 400-meter dash championship in 59.30 seconds and came back less than 30 minutes later to run the 100-meter dash, winning that event in 12.74 seconds and making history in the process.
"You never get a double winner (in two track events) at the league meet," "This is the first year that running two individual events has been allowed at the MVC meet, but the schedule makes it so difficult that no other sprinter, male or female, even tried it. So obviously this was something that had never been done, or even attempted, before."
Up until this year, runners were only allowed to compete in one individual race, one field event and one relay at the MVC meet. But the 2011 rules were amended to allow runners to compete in two track events, if they could pull it off.
"It's almost impossible to do, particularly a 400/100 double," Byrnes said. "There's just not enough time to recover from the 400 in time to do well in the 100. On top of that, most 400 kids aren't powerful enough to run the 100, and most 100 kids don't have the endurance to run the 400."
Fortunately for Bridle, meet officials inserted a 15-minute break between the 400 and the 100, giving the Tewksbury High speedster time to recover. Bridle was the only girl in the 400-meters to break 60 seconds, besting Andover's Sydney Eberth by a full second. But that's when things got tough.
"There's no way I thought I could win both," Bridle said afterward. "It usually takes me a good half hour of just lying on the ground to recover from the 400. There's no way I thought I could be ready in time for the 100."
But Bridle's coach thought differently, escorting her back into the infield almost immediately after the 400, and getting her preparations for the 100 started.
"Byrnes just told me to get my mind off the 400 and get ready for the 100, so I did," Bridle said. "He rubbed out my calves (to get rid of the tightness from the 400) so I felt pretty good."
Bridle took first place in her preliminary round heat in the 100 just 21 minutes after winning the 400. She came back 30 minutes later and out-raced Andover's Terra Organisciak for a clear-cut victory in the 100-meter finals, earning a place in the record books.
"It feels great," Bridle said. "Byrnes told me he thought I could win the 100 when we were talking about (the MVC meet) this week. But I wanted to run the 400 because that's my race. So I decided to do both."
Bridle's win in the 400 would have been a remarkable feat in its own right. She suprised the rest of the MVC by winning the 400 at the 2009 league meet as a freshman, and successfully defended her championship at last year's MVC meet.
"She's now a four-time MVC champion, and she's only a junior," Byrnes said. "We've never had that before. We've had some pretty good sprinters come through our program. Mary Brady set school records 20 years ago in the 400 and 200 that still stand today. We've had some great athletes, but I'd say as sprinters go, it's probably Mary Brady and then Jess. There's been some real good ones, but Jess is the latest and probably the most consistent of all of them."