With the meet winding down to the last few events, Wellesley High found itself trailing top rivals Peabody and Central Catholic at the MIAA Division 2 Championships.
Then came the relays.
The Red Raiders retained order in a hurry, winning all three events at the conclusion of Sunday’s meet to rally to a slim 84.5-80 decision over Peabody. Central Catholic scored 70 for third.
“We needed every point,” said Wellesley coach John Griffith. “We got there. If not, we wouldn’t have been state champs. I am just so proud of the girls and everything that we did, working hard to get here. There are so many great teams here – Woburn, Central Catholic, Peabody. Just so many great teams. Winning all three relays was a key for us.”
Scoring in 15 of the 19 events at Merrimack College, North Andover ran away with the boys’ team title. The Scarlet Knights racked up a whopping 124 points. Hopkinton was second with 79.
“I couldn’t be more proud. I think we’ve had a lot of success but this is right up there with one of our greatest wins ever,” NA head coach Steve Nugent said. “It’s funny, Before the season started I made a stupid remark that this may be the most talented senior group that we’ve ever had. We were just a very senior-heavy team, very senior-loaded with some outstanding performances all across the board. And then we lose the State Relay meet by three points. Hopkinton earned that win. They beat us. It was kind of an eye-opener for our kids, I felt kind of silly for saying that before the season, but I’ll give it right back to them. They responded and we finished our dual meet season undefeated in a pretty tough conference. MVC (Merrimack Valley Conference) there are no days off and then the MVC Championships and then to win as much as we did today. To score as much as we did, my hats off to my boys. I love them.”
In all three relays, the Lady Red Raiders moved up the state rankings with their 4x100m (48.49 seconds) to No. 2, 4x400m (4:01.96) to No. 4 and 4x800m (9:42.13) to No. 7. Wellesley also garnered a victory from Annie Comella in the long jump (19-2) during Day 1 on Friday.
Top-ranked Macy Daigle of Central Catholic beat a talented field in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 6 inches. Hingham’s Nina Crean and Peabody’s Lindsey Wilson tied for second at 5-4.
“I was very nervous, actually, and I don’t usually get nervous,” Daigle said. “There was just such good competition that it kind of got my nerves up. I pulled through.”
Promising freshman Nicole Gangi of Woburn captured the 400m hurdles with a state No. 2 of 1:03.15. Belmont sophomore Dana Lehr was a double-winner, taking the mile with a time of 5:00.98 and then 800m on Thursday with a 2:15.56 clocking.
Competing in her first year of track & field, Bishop Feehan’s Tea Briggs raced to a winning time of 58.5 for the 400m.
“Each time I just want to PR and get better for myself and just really race my own time,” she said. “I keep staring at athletic.net and looking at the times, and everyone else. Honestly, I just want to PR every time.”
Among other top performances, Peabody’s Aaliyah Callahan earned gold in the shot with a distance of 43-0.5.
In the boys’ competition, North Andover had a pair of victories from Ryan Connolly, who copped the mile (4:21.37) and the 800m (1:53.36). The Scarlet Knights’ Ethan Belongia soared to a winning height of 11-6 in the pole vault and teammate Caleb Agbor compiled 3,030 points to earn the top spot on the podium in the pentathlon.
As expected, Hopkinton’s Sean Golemblewski swept the hurdle events. He was timed in 54.71 for the 400m IH and improved on his state-leader in the 110m HH with a time of 14.23.
Wellesley’s Christopher Brooks was the fastest of the day, taking both sprint events. He blazed to a state-tying 10.61 for the 100m and ran 21.69 for the 200m, currently No. 5 in the state.
In a close race down the stretch, Natick held off Wellesley in the 4x800m with a school record of 7:56.67. Wellesley crossed the line at 7:58.11.