D3 State Relays: Marblehead Girls Win A Thriller, Back-To-Back For Billerica Boys

Marblehead girls’ coach Nolan Raimo never thought his squad could win the team title at the MSTCA Division 2 State Relays. He was looking at Sunday’s meet as more of a opportunity for a few of his relay teams to earn qualifiers for the Nationals in mid March.

With the Magicians holding a four-point advantage over Mansfield around the midway point of the competition, his thought process took a drastic change.

“We all of a sudden started looking and was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a chance,” he said.

Before a boisterous crowd inside the Reggie Lewis Center, that chance turned into reality after the final event of the day. With its narrow victory over Westwood in the 4×400-meter relay, Marblehead earned its first team title in two decades with a 36-35 decision over Billerica. Westwood was third with 32 points.

In the 4×4, the Magicians’ foursome of LeDaisha Williams, Sadie Halpern, Ava Machado and Charlotte Roszelli combined for a time of 4 minutes, 12.22 seconds. Westwood clocked 4:12.67. Less than a half of a second was difference between the Magicians winning the team trophy or going home with the runner-up plaque.

Williams proved to be the spark that the victors needed. About 90 minutes after running a 58-second 400m leg on the team’s winning Sprint Medley Relay (4:22.95), the gifted senior got the job done again with a 62-second split as the anchor of the 4×4.

“She’s been a leader of that team for a while,” Raimo said. “Three of those girls won the state (4x100m) in the spring by .01. We saw LaDesha out in the last leg in the 4×4 and we knew she could do it, and she did.”

Marblehead won three events for the day. In addition to the 4x400m and the SMR, the Magicians also struck gold in the high jump relay (4.32 meters). They were also fourth overall in the 4x50m (25.78).

“A lot of events went our way, which we didn’t think that they necessarily would,” Raimo said.

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Mansfield won a close race in the 4x50m. The Hornets edged runner-up Oliver Ames by three hundredths of a second with a triumphant 25.26 clocking. Abigail Scott, Chloe Guthrie, Elyssa Buchanan and Olivia Barry comprised the quartet.

In the more than five-hour meet, Billerica went home with the boys’ title. The Indians beat runner-up Burlington, 40-32, for their second straight crown.

Billerica collected three victories by taking the SMR (3:37.81), 4x50m (22.23), and the DMR (10:49.38). The Indians were also third in the shot put relay (37.43m) and fourth in the 4x200m (1:33.79). In the 4x50m, both Billerica and second-place Milton (22.36) broke the meet record

Billerica coach Shaun Corum admitted that at the beginning of the season, winning a team title was not on his mind. He realized his squad might have a chance just about a week ago.

“We came into this meet, we were doing the numbers, we were just picking up teams and going for team wins,” he said. “The other day the coaches and I were just sitting there and looking at the paper, we’re like, ”That’s a couple of first places. This could be a pretty high scoring meet for us.’ The rest was history.”

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Ryan Leslie anchored two winning relays. He split 1:58 for his 800m leg on the SMR and ran 4:26 for the final 1,600m leg of the DMR.

“Ryan Leslie is incredible,” Corum said. “The coolest thing I’ll say about him is he’s a distance runner, a 5K runner, a two-miler. To see him drop down and still crush a 1:58 800 is incredible. He’s one of the best athletes, the most versatile, and a pleasure to have on this team.”

Amherst Pelham was impressive in the 4x800m with the squad of Kyle Yanko, Miguel Pinero-Jacome, Nicolas Lisle and David Pinero-Jacome combining for a winning time of 8:17.32. Plymouth South was second a 8:22.75.

Burlington captured the shot put relay with a distance of 39.93 by its trio of Liam Welch (44-2, 13.46m), Christopher Williams (43-5.25, 13.24m) and Kevin Conte (41-0.25, 12.5m). Amherst Pelham was second at 38.16. The Hurricanes’ Logan Alfandri had the top throw of all entries with a distance of 50-2.75 (15.31m).

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