Division Relays: Woburn Thrives Under Pressure


Add Woburn’s Mike McAdams to the short list of tracksters who perform best in pressure-cooking situations.


McAdams came up big for the Tanners in the meet’s finale, clocking a sterling 50.8 leg to edge Woburn past Algonquin for the team title in front of a frenzied Reggie Lewis Center crowd. The Tanners finished with 41 points to Alonquin’s 39, winning in 3:29.08. Algonquin was a step back in 3:29.19.


“He does amazing things under pressure,” said Woburn head coach  Joe Curran. “We had our senior captain running anchor and now you know why he’s the captain.”


David Cooper, Dylan Crowley and Kyle Sullivan joined McAdams in the 4x400, and the Tanners also picked up a win in a meet record picked 22.15 in the 4x50 dash. “You never know whose got what,” said Curran. “The relays are a true championship. We really take pride in relays. It shows your team has depth. I think our kids did an outstanding job today. We understand how difficult it is because there are so many great teams out there.”


North Attleboro had wins in the 4x50 (25.08), long jump (14.25 meters) and shot put (30.01 meters) to capture the girls competition with 35 points.


The time will come this season when Marshfield’s 4x800 relay squad tapers for a meet and takes a serious crack at its school record in the event. In the meantime, the Rams proved that they can put up a solid time on very little rest.


The Marshfield foursome of Mike Tautiva, Brendan Doherty, Kevin Thomas and Joel Hubbard led from the start and recorded a quick 8:13.87 to easily defeat runner-up Holyoke (8:22.93). Thomas and Hubbard, arguably the best 1-2 distance tandem in Massachusetts recorded splits of 2:00 and 1:59.1, respectively to bring the Rams home with a sub-8:15 clocking.


“I think Joel and Kevin had heavy legs,“ said Marshfield head coach Dennis Sheppard. “We didn’t really stop our workouts for this meet so their legs are a little tired. The base from cross country is great and they took some time off after their respective last races. We’re building up their base again. We’ve only done a couple of workouts so far. Our school record is 8:09. We’ll try to get that later in the season.”


Fitchburg high jumper Oluwatoni Onikeku continued to torch the event this winter, clearing 6-5 to lead his squad to a 17-3 win. Oniekeku broke the school record earlier in the week with a 6-7 leap. He just missed clearing 6-9 on his third and final attempt, clipping the bar with his right hamstring.


“Wednesday I had a little more adrenaline and today I was tired,” said Onikeku. “My strength is definitely my jumping ability. I have to work on my approach, steps and my form over the bar. Those are the reasons I haven’t jumped higher. Coming off last season I jumped 6-4 and coming in this season I was prepared to jump high early. I wanted to get the record out of the way. By the end of the season I want to jump seven feet.”


The Oliver Ames girls came away with the gold medal and a new school record in the 4x800. Emily Newman, Emily Grotz, Megan Fitzgerald and Shannon Hickey destroyed the field, winning by 16 seconds with a time of 10:06.95. Masconomet was a distant second with its 10:06.95.


The Tigers expect to field a 4x400 team at the class meet and, hopefully, a week later in the state championship.


“We thought that Whitman-Hanson was going to have a really good team, but when we were in the gym we didn’t recognize any of the faces,” said Hickey. “It’s been nice outside without the snow. We can still run on the trails.”


The Panthers did pick up a record in the distance medley as Gianna Cacciatore, Mel Collins, Abby Baker and Rachel Baker pounded their way to a 12:33.33 win in the distance medley. Their time lowered Marlboro’s 12:38.46 run in 2008 and was the 11th best in the country this winter.


“We came in today to see what we could do because the DMR was our thing last year,” said Cacciatore. “That wasn’t our personal best. We didn’t even know what the record was. We’ve run a lot faster but that was a good race for us.”


Reading’s boys broke the meet record in the long jump with a 60-10-¾ mark and the Catholic Memorial 4x200 team of Dave Berment, Donovan Henry, Curtis West and Andy Rogintino clocked the fastest time in Massachusetts this winter with a swift 1:32.13. Jen Esposito ripped a 58.3 anchor leg to clinch Mansfield’s 4:03.1 win the 4x400.


In Saturday’s Div. 4 meet, Norwell coach Chuck Martin gave the competition a taste of what it will be facing come class meet time in February.

Norwell took full advantage of training outside on the track in December thanks to the unseasonably warm temperatures and a complete lack of snow.

The Clippers reaped the benefits by defeating defending champion Old Rochester with 44 points.


First-year senior Nikki Dempsey leaped to a personal best of 17-3 as she teamed with D’anna Mayers and Danielle Griffin to establish a meet record in the long jump at 48-11. The winning effort erased the previous mark of 48-2-½ set by Hopkinton in 2002.


Martin wasn’t surprised by the results. “We’ve been jumping well all year,” he said. “We jump here all the time so the kids feel comfortable and that made a difference. Luckily we had a good month of December weather-wise and could use our (long jump) pit. We haven’t been in the pit the last couple of weeks. We work on their steps a lot. They have great speed and there’s no substitute for those two.”


In the sprint medley, Griffin clocked a 2:17 800 split to lead Norwell to a 4:20.26 victory. The Clippers also came away victorious in the 4x200 in 1:49.57 with Dempsey, Sarah DiGregorio, Allie Debenedictis and Griffin edging out Old Rochester’s 1:49.79.


Martin believes the team is the best he’s coached since taking over the Norwell helm in 1993. And the although the squad is not a big one, there is plenty of talent on the roster.


“Every day I try to pound it into their heads that they can do something special this season,” said Martin. “After today they’ll know the teams they have to run against in a couple of weeks (at the class meet). This is the strongest team I’ve had. I’ve got 20 girls but they’re solid across the board.

“It’s a little different now (in the class meet) because kids can double so you have to play your cards right. I’m optimistic because we have a lot of talent. That’s one thing we have is a lot of flexibility where we can move kids around.”


The Narragansett foursome of Krista Webb, Kylie Chartier, Anna Capps and Renee Capps led three teams under the 4x800 mark of 9:45.9 set by Weston in 2004. Narragansett clocked a 9:35.40 to shatter the record, Hamilton-Wenham was second (9:39.90) followed by Lunenburg (9:39.92). 


Old Rochester dominated the boys meet and came away with 60 big points in winning the team title for the first time since 1969.


“We keyed up for this week,” said Old Rochester head coach Bill Tilden. “The New Bedford Voke meet really helped us. We’re excited about our chances (in the class meet). We have good variety in the distances and we have some good sprinters.”


Old Rochester had victories in the distance medley (10:56.15 ) and 4x800 (8:35.22) with Mike Wyman, David Friedman and Nick Pacheco running on both teams.



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