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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Familiar programs dominate in relays at Div. 4 track – Boston Herald

Usually the Division 4 track and field relay championships have been dominated by a handful of schools.

On Friday night, that trend continued at the Reggie Lewis Center.

Senior captain Will Acquaviva anchored Newburyport to a meet record time in the boys’ 4×50 yard dash (22.01 seconds), as well as a second-place finish in the 4×400 meter run (3:37.15), as the Clippers captured their second straight boys track relay title with 42 combined points.

“Repeating was the hard thing,” said Newburyport coach Don Hennigar. “We lost a lot of good seniors a year ago, but we have a very big senior class, a lot of experience and a lot of depth from the 55 to the distance medley. It was really the depth, and the work our assistants did with the other groups that made the difference.”

The Clippers didn’t necessarily take too long making history, as Acquaviva teamed up with Ryan Miles, Ean Hynes and Bryan Mendez-Heavellin to blaze to a first-place finish during their initial race in the 4×50, besting Pembroke for the crown by .18 ticks. Both schools ended up shattering the original mark for the race set by Milton in 2016 (22.38 seconds).

Pembroke's Katie Driscoll heads a pack of runners competing in the 4x800 relay race during the MSTCA Division 4 relays at the Reggie Lewis Center. (Photo by Amanda Sabga/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
Pembroke’s Katie Driscoll heads a pack of runners competing in the 4×800 relay race during the MSTCA Division 4 relays at the Reggie Lewis Center. (Photo by Amanda Sabga/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

“It’s amazing,” Miles said afterward. “We were actually aiming to break our school record, which is a 22.6. We ended up beating the meet record, which is great. We are super excited.”

Meanwhile, North Reading went on to capture the Div. 4 crown in the girls relays for a second straight season, racking up 57 team points between two groups. The Hornets dominated the field competitions, most notably the long jump relay.

During that event alone, the school had two teams place in the top three. North Reading’s ‘A’ group of Madison Vant, Giuliana Ligor and Ava McIntyre set a meet record with a combined distance of 15.05 meters to place first, while its ‘B’ unit of Georgia Roberts, Kayla Budny and Katie Zimmerman finished third at 14.50 meters.

North Reading also benefited from a second-place finish in the sprint medley relay, with Roberts, Jenna Mahoney, Tiara Lamont and Annalise Butler clocking in at 4:24.22. It was the fifth girls relay title for North Reading in the past seven years.

Not to mention, the school also finished as the runner-up to Newburyport in the boys field, finishing with 34 combined points.

“It feels great,” said North Reading track coach Sotirios Pintzopoulos. “Especially having both teams do it. We’re a program that works together. We have three coaches for the boys, three for the girls, and we kind of combined forces. Everybody gets their specialty, with coaches at the jumps, the hurdles, the throws. It’s great to come together with this staff and with this group of athletes. I think all in all, there were 30 girls and 30 boys here. It was pretty special.”

Other individual performances of note included Pembroke’s team in the girls’ 4×50, as Ally Johnson, Sarah Claflin, Catrena Ghattas and Melanie Butler combined to finish with a meet record time of 24.31 seconds, topping the original benchmark set by Old Rochester in 2012.

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