CAMBRIDGE - Sometimes it’s not about piling up the first-place finishes, but fielding the deepest team. The Wayland girls had that last night in capturing the North sectional team title without amassing a single first-place finish.
“We’d love to win some events,’’ said coach Mike Foley. “But we’ll take all the points the girls were getting. It was the ultimate team effort.’’
Marblehead, which finished second to Wayland for the second straight year, was paced by senior Megan Alexander, who broke her own meet records in the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle in winning both.
Weston finished in third on the strength of its relay teams. The 200 medley relay team set the first of three state records with a 1:46.52, which earned it All-America honors. The 200 freestyle team also earned All-America honors coming in at 1:35.64. The squad’s 400 freestyle squad set a state record in 3:30.37.
Westford Academy’s Jen Marrkand helped her squad to a fourth-place finish with victories in the 100 backstroke (55.99) and the 100 butterfly, where she broke her own meet record in 55.29 to earn All-America honors.
But Wayland kept stretching its lead as others climbed atop the podium.
Sisters Molly and Megan Pierce had a standout day. Molly took second in the 200 IM and third in the 100 fly, while Megan finished fourth in the 200 free and third in the 500 free. They teamed up for a pair of relays, finishing third with Mindy Lou and Kristina Barakov (who was fourth in the 100 backstroke) in the 400 free relay. They added a second-place finish in the 200 free relay with teammates Saya Higano (third in 100 free, and fifth in 500 free) and Hallie Cramer.
Higano, Barakov, Heather Wright, and Anna Downs also added a fourth-place finish in the 200 medley relay.
“We have a ton of girls that work hard, they push each other every day in practice, and they end up swimming this well at the end,’’ said Foley.
South/Central - For many teams in the MIAA girls’ swimming and diving South/Central sectional yesterday at MIT, the meet served as a good warm-up for state championships and Olympic trials.
Such was the case with Gardner, which took home a comfortable 18-point victory with a team score of 227 that coach Don Lemieux said he was hardly paying attention to.
“High school state championships are important, but some of these kids have been training for [the Olympics] for four years, so it’s pretty big for them,’’ he said.
But King Philip senior and Boston University-bound Stephanie Nasson didn’t want to leave anything in the pool, especially with her freshman sister, Sydney, nipping at her heels. Stephanie, whom coach Heather Tomassian called the hardest worker she’s seen, posted a 4:55.43 in the 500-yard freestyle (her sister was third, 23 seconds behind) to lead the Warriors to a second-place finish (209).
“I always have that in the back of mind - if there was something I could have done better,’’ said the elder Nasson. “So I do everything I possibly can, and when it pays off, it’s so worth it.’’
In the 200-yard freestyle, Sydney finished second, four seconds after Stephanie’s 1:52.05 winning pace.
“We are very competitive,’’ Sydney said. “But she’s always been what I want to be as a swimmer. Her work ethic is what I strive to match.’’
Freshmen Carly Schnabel and Emily McQuaid also did well for the Warriors, who capped off the day with a team win in the 400-yard freestyle with a meet-record time of 3:37.07.
Junior Taylor Strachan led the charge for Gardner, breaking her own record in the 100-yard butterfly with a 54.69. Strachan also won the 200-yard IM in 2:05.93. Barnstable finished third with 182.5 points, highlighted by a win in the 200-yard medley relay (1:52.11). Bromfield submitted a strong sixth-place showing while winning the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:42.03.
Foxboro senior Meghan Foley hung on to win the 50-yard freestyle (24.86) and Nauset sophomore Marie Chamberlain cruised to victory in the 100-yard backstroke (57.71). Sophomore Nina Sparre was the lone winner for Holliston with a 53.88 in the 100-yard freestyle, while senior Alyssa Carle led Franklin with a winning 1:07.44 mark in the 100-yard breaststroke.
On the diving board, North Quincy senior Taryn Sherman put on a show, posting a winning score of 515.40.