FITCHBURG - As the MIAA boys’ All-State Track and Field Championship meet approached, Mansfield coach Julie Collins was faced with the difficult decision of placing senior Josh Lampron in either the 800-meter race or the anchor of the 4 x 800 relay, in addition to the mile, which he regularly runs.
Collins opted for the 800, and it paid off as Lampron set a meet record with his winning time of 1:51.99 to help the Hornets defend their crown Tuesday.
Lampron’s time was .21 seconds faster than Catholic Memorial’s Bill Martin, who set the meet record in 1975.
“It feels really good, I wasn’t really expecting [the record],’’ Lampron said. “I just wanted to come in for the win so getting the meet record was a good surprise.’’
Lampron, who was named the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011, also won the mile with a time of 4:07.88.
Marshfield’s depth in the distance events - the Hornets are a perennial track and field powerhouse - enabled Collins to feel comfortable about removing Lampron from his traditional anchor spot in the relay.
“We have other guys waiting in the wings dying to get on that 4 x 8,’’ Collins said. “So, you don’t have that huge anchor, but you have four solid guys.’’
Mansfield won the meet with 49 points, Pembroke finished second with 37, and Hingham finished third with 33. Acton-Boxboro and Catholic Memorial rounded out the top five with 26 and 25 points, respectively.
“I thought it was going to be very, very tight,’’ Collins said. “I thought Pembroke - their athletes stood a chance to move up the most in the seeds. I thought Pembroke was favored slightly.’’
The Hornets depth extended beyond the long-distance races, as junior Matt Baldasare, won the 400 with a time of 49.30.
“At the beginning I tried to pace myself a little bit so at the end I’d have a nice kick,’’ Baldasare said, who was seeded fourth. “I just gave whatever I could.’’
According to Collins, another big boost was Brian Ferreira’s fourth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.92.
Collins estimated Mansfield graduated 20 to 30 seniors from last year’s championship team, and she acknowledged that defending the title this season was going to be a challenge.
“We graduated a lot of jumpers and throwers and we were loaded in the jumps last year,’’ Collins said. “We had great triple jumpers and great long jumpers so we didn’t think we [had] as balanced of an attack coming into this meet. Because we were unable to advance any of our field athletes, we had to get it all done on the track.’’
Other notable performances in the meet were Kris Horn of Pembroke, who won the long jump at 22 feet, 9 inches and finished fifth in the triple jump (44-2 1/4).
Brendan Sullivan, a senior pole vaulter from Westford Academy, broke the meet record he set last year with a jump of 15 feet, 3 inches.