D2 State Relays: Woburn Girls, North Andover Boys Dominate

Despite what he considered a team that was capable of pulling off a victory at MSTCA Division 2 State Relays, Woburn High girls’ coach James Fletcher admitted he was nervous prior to Saturday’s competition at the Reggie Lewis Center.

“I always am,” he said. “We were seeded to do a lot of damage. If you scored the seeds, no one was really that close to us. But I am always that type of coach that I never take anything for granted. I’m always making sure that we’re in the best position we can be.”

They certainly were.

It didn’t take long for Fletcher’s talented squad to solidify its status as the best team out there. The Tanners got off to an exceptional start, capturing the first four events of the meet to pave the way to a convincing 58-31 decision over second-place Reading Memorial. Algonquin Regional was third with 30 points.

For the boys. North Andover rolled to its fifth straight team crown by racking up 76 points. Peabody was a distant second with 39.5. Algonquin placed third with 38 points.

In its’ win, Woburn placed first in the sprint medley (4 minutes, 17.23 seconds), 4x50m (25.01), shuttle hurdle (30.0), 4x800m (9:58.11) and the 4x400m (4:20.37) relays. The Tanners were also second in the 4x200m (1:48.53).

“Everyone just understood their jobs today,” Fletcher said. “They focused in and they did the best for their team. That’s why this is my favorite meet. It’s not just an individual meet. It has to be a team meet in every sort of way. That’s sort of what makes our identity what it is, and that’s what we’ve done.”

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Concord-Carlisle clocked the state’s third fastest time in the 4x200m in a close race with Woburn. The foursome of Lauren Zipoll, Claire Beckley, Alissa Bono and Charlotte DiRocco combined for a time of 1:47.53, more than three seconds quicker than their seed of 1:51.0.

“Last year we lost some good runners but this year we came back and ran a new 4×2 and we’re still running good times,” DiRocco said. “We’re really happy.”

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In the distance medley relay, Algonquin and Arlington engaged in a fierce battle down the stretch with the Maroon & Gold edging their rival with a school-record time of 12:46.93. Arlington was timed in 12:49.13.

Olivia Guckian, Mackenzie Clark, Sheila Purcell and Brigid Purcell comprised the triumphant team for Algonquin.

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On the boys’ side, it was business as usual for North Andover, which has won nine of the last 10 team titles. The Scarlet Knights won just three events – the 4x400m (3:32.14), 4x50m (meet record, 21.83) and shot (41.48 meters). Demonstrating their outstanding depth, they scored in all but one of the 10 events contested.

“It feels pretty good,” North Andover coach Jason Guarente said. “We circle this meet on the calendar every year. We get up for it and love it, and the boys came up and competed. It was pretty cool to see.”

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Reading Memorial won a close race in the 4x800m. The Rockets were timed in 8:09.14, just over a half a second ahead of Winchester (8:09.70). In the DMR, Algonquin made it a sweep by the Maroon & Gold in that event with a winning time of 10:37.48.

Peabody captured the 4x200m in an exciting race with second-place Waltham down the stretch. The Tanners were timed in a PR of 1:32.74 with their rival posting a 1:33.65 clocking.

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