Joe Curran unleashed his squad on the rest of the Div. 2 during during a weekend of relays at the Reggie Lewis Center and Woburn once again came away with the team title.
The Tanners won the 4x50 hurdles in 27.35 behind Kawai Marin, Dmitar Zlenkor, Elija Mawoejji and Dennis Pearg and took gold in the 4x50 dash in 22.62 on the way to capturing its third consecutive title with 47 points. The Tanners edged out North Andover (44) and Marshfield (43).
Woburn also finished second in the long jump (17.27 meters) and picked up a pair of thirds in the high jump (4.75 meters) and 4x200 (1:33.49)
"We take pride in it," said Curran. "It's a judge of a teams depth and a real team championship because so many more kids are involved. We're deep in a lot of events. Some teams have killers in one or two events. We have a lot of hard-working muckers. They work their butts off. You can't win this with just one guy. You can win a dual meet with eight people; you have so many events and a good relay. We have a great team and some really good kids. We had to get through some adversity today. We had to move some kids around."
Ellen DiPietro and Kelsey Sullivan were the big guns who fueled the Marshfield girls to the team victory. DiPietro, Sullivan, Katherine Meuse and Rachael MacKinnon defteated Natick to capture the 4x50 hurdles in a quick 30.46. The Rams also won the high jump (4.52 meters) and long jump (12.74 meters).
The team battle was a tight on with the top four teams finishing within four points of each other. Marshield put up 42 points ahead of North Andover (41), Woburn (38) and Beverly (38).
"It's absolutely satisfying," said head coach Ed Ryan. "Last year we were runner-up and this year we got some points in events I didn't think we were going to score points in. It was very satisfying. We were scoring points in a lot of events and that's what you have to do to beat a team like Woburn. We lost some kids from last year but we still have that core group of kids. As long as we can stay healthy, that's the key."
Sullivan has confidence the Rams have a talented enough lineup to put them at the top step of the victory podium at the state meet.
"Typically it's individuals who compete in the bigger meets," said Sullivan. "At Div. 2 last year we came in second. It's me and Ellen's senior year and we wanted to come in and leave on a good note. We want to bring this team to where its never been before. Our next goal is to capture Div. 2 and then maybe even all-states.
"It's a team effort. It takes everybody. And without all the other girls' efforts in the other events we wouldn't have done it today."
Needham's distance medley team of Margie Cullen, Sarah Armstrong, Kaleigh Hughes and Olivia Corkery missed the meet record by less than a half second in a runaway, but its 12:33.80 was a school record and the No. 4 time in the country this winter. Beverly was well back in second with a 12:52.72.
The girls were looking to break the meet record, but didn't know they were close to the top times in the country. "We knew what the meet record was," said Corkery. "We were going for our school record and we got that."
When you have the fastest 800-meter runner in the country handling the opening leg of your sprint medley relay team, good things are almost certainly going to follow.In the Div. 3 meet, Dracut's Karina Shepard wanted to put her squad in the best position to win and take the pressure off her teammates at the same time. Shepard, who ran a national best of 2:10.68 in the recent Hispanic Games in New York, roared through the opening 400 well clear of the field in 62.5 on the way to a 2:12.9 split.The Middies never trailed and won in 4:12.52 in a runaway that put them at No. 1 in the country.Bishop Feehan was a distant, but still very strong, second in 4:17.55 with Abbie McNulty anchoring Shamrocks in 2:16.1.
Shepard had no intention of holding back and kicking home over the final 200. "I definitely wanted to set the team up in a good spot," said Shepard, who was second in the 1,000 in last winter's state meet. "I felt great. We talked about it and we knew we could get it, but we really just wanted to win."
Hingham came up big in both meets as the boys and girls defended their titles from last winter. The boys won the 4x50 hurdles (27.37) and 4x400 (3:32.59) on the way to scoring 46 points. The girls put up victories in the 4x400 (4:01.59) and long jump (14.49 meters) and scored 65 points to easily outdistance runner-up Bishop Feehan's 48 points.
"The goal was to bring home another title," said Hingham's Harvard-bound Andrew Bolze, who anchored the 4x400 to victory with a scalding 49.0 split. "We won it last year and wanted to keep the streak going. We can hopefully bring this momentum on to the class meet and the state meet."
The 4x200 was also a burner as Notre Dame's Gabriela Kenyon just held off a charging Sierra Irvin of Hingham for a meet-record win of 1:46.34. The Harbormen were also under the old record with their 1:46.41. Bishop Feehan raced well to take third in 1:48.85. Irvin rebounded well by posting a 56.6 split in the anchor leg of the 4x400 to lead Hingham to a school record of 4:01.59.
From the start, Hingham girls coach Dawn Diedricksen wanted to spread the talent through the events. "We tried not to stack everything into one event," said Diedricksen. "Clearly we stacked the 4x400. We're deep with a lot of 400 and 200-meter runners. The kids were really fired up and knew they had a job to do."
McNulty was back at it in the distance medley, blazing the anchor leg mile in 5-minutes flat as the team of Adrienne Santoro, Brynna Harum and Elizabeth Hannon clocked a meet record of 12:25.27. The time was also the 12th-fastest ever in Massachusetts.
"I felt good," said McNulty. "It's a good benchmark to come back from a hard 800 to run a good mile. Running the 800s helps me in the longer races."
Olivia Lantz didn't have to be great in the distance medley in Div. 5. The Manchester Essex junior, who clocked a 4:57.88 last winter on the Reggie Lewis track, was still very good and that proved to be a major obstacle for her competition.
Lantz showed she's approaching elite form moving forward to the midpoint of the season, clocking a solo to anchor the Hornets to victory. Lantz teamed up with Fiona Davis, Samantha Woodman and Megan Clark to clinch the gold medal in 12 minutes, 43.89 seconds.
Lantz was reasonably pleased with her effort. "I was looking to run in the low 5s," she said. "I went out a little too fast. This was special because I'm running with my teammates. I think I could have run faster."
Newburyport's Nick Carleo, who was coming of a blazing 4:15.80 mile last weekend at Boston University, was his usual devastating self in the distances as well, anchoring both the 4x800 (8:15.77) and distance medley (10:53.49) teams to victories. Ursuline standout Amy Piccolo also anchored a pair of wins, wrapping up the 4x400 (4:07.10) and sprint medley (4:14.96).
The Clippers captured the boys' title with 51 points behind a long jump team of Jared Healey, Alec Reduker and Brendan Byron that took the win with a distance of 16.75 meters. "We just practiced for the first time yesterday," said head coach Tim Foley. "We don't have a (long jump) pit at our school. That was a big surprise."
North Reading's girls won the 4x200 (1:52.09), 4x50 hurdles (31.0) and shot put (26.63 meters) to highlight their 45-point victory. Old Rochester was second (39 points) and also the runnerup in the boys' team results (42 points).
"I knew we had a strong, balanced team," said North Reading head coach Sotirios Pintzopoulos. "It's a young team and things went as well as planned."