“They did what they needed to do.”
It’s that simple.
Those were the words of Wakefield coach Ruben Reinoso on Sunday night, just a short time after his boys’ squad posted a 53-38 victory over Medfield to claim the MSTCA Division 4 State Relays.
Wakefield captured just one event. But proving once again that depth is the key to winning this meet, scored eight or more points in five of them to solidify the crown.
“We always talk about how difficult this meet is to win because you need everybody to step up,” Reinoso said. “Our kids did that. I am so proud of the boys. This is one of the most difficult events to do all year. It’s the most fun that the kids have. I think our kids definitely stepped up this year. I am really proud of every single kid that was able to compete at this meet.”
Wakefield’s scored nearly half of their total in two events, the 4×800-meter and the distance medley relays. In the 4×8, the Warriors got their lone win, edging Bedford with a time of 8 minutes, 18.28 seconds to their rival’s 8:19.68 effort. The DMR squad put Wakefield firmly in the driver’s seat by placing first (11:03.20) and third (11:23.24) to collect 16 huge points.
“That’s pretty mush what put us over the top. Then it becomes a numbers game,” said Reinoso, whose team also finished third in the sprint medley (3:40.30) and second in the 4x400m (3:34.83) relays. “We know what we needed to do. (The DMR) bringing us back to where we needed to be was kind of huge. At that point, we knew what we needed to do in the 4×4. The 4×4 obviously getting second overall was big team points as well.”
In the SMR, Norton came just a few strides from earning a New Balance Nationals’ qualifier in a thrilling race. The foursome of Stephen Collins, Matthew Cropley, Sean Parham and Andrew McConnell combined for a time of 3:40.16, just .16 from the standard needed to get into the mid-March meet. Less than a second separated the top three finishers with Wakefield and Dover Sherborn (3:40.91) occupying the next two spots.
McConnell put the exclamation point on the victory with a strong surge during the final stretch.
“We were looking for a nationals’ qualifying time of under 3:40 and every time I passed (each lap), I was right on,” he said. “The last lap I was really trying to dig to get under 3:40. It helped have competition literally right in front of me. My goal was if I pass them maybe I’ll get it. I was working on (the Wakefield anchor). All the way through the final stretch, he was right in front of me. I just had a really good push in the end.”
Pembroke dipped under 22 seconds to establish a new meet record in the 4x50m relay. The squad of Jayden Leonard, Luke Lamar, Joseph D’Angelo and Gabe Lamar combined for a winning time of 21.93. Nauset Regional also broke a meet mark by taking the shuttle hurdle relay. The Warriors clocked 26.87 with the foursome of Paytah Dill, Reed Dill, Aidan Brown and Isaiah Robinson.
In the girls’ meet, Holliston scored in six of the 10 events, earning gold in three of them, en route to a 52-38 decision over second-place Medfield. Pembroke was third with 36 points.
“This is 100 percent a team effort on all fronts,” said HHS coach Jen Moreau. “We had some surprises in the long jump and 4×2 that put us on the board and then our distance team held us strong.”
Holliston’s talented distance core (and a little more) was part of 28 points that were scored by the Panthers. Holliston won the distance medley (12:34.60) and sprint medley (4:16.25) relays and was second in the 4x800m (10:00.12). The SMR and DMR teams, which both earned qualifiers for the NBN, were anchored by multiple all-stater Carmen Luisi. She ran 2:18 for her 800m leg on the SMR and 5:11 for the final 1,600m leg on the DMR. Luisi also ran a leg on the team’s third-place 4x400m (4:17.54).
“We were really shooting for the DMR school record, which was set in 2008. That was one of our goals today and they did that,” Moreau said. “We were also really honing in on getting our time down in the sprint (medley) for nationals as well.”
In the 4x800m, Bedford broke 10 minutes and their own school record for the second straight time with 9:56.6 best. That effort currently ranks No. 8 in the state.