Pembroke boys, girls sweep Div. 4 state track titles

Just a month after missing out on the sweep at the State Coaches relays, the Pembroke track teams accomplished the feat Sunday at the MIAA Division 4 state championships at the Reggie Lewis Center.

The girls’ team racked up 58 points. Nashoba came in second with 46 and Marblehead took third with 44. For the boys, the Titans notched 50 points. Runner-up Randolph scored 42.5 points and Wakefield had 30.

While it was business as usual for the girls’ team — it won the relays by a comfortable 22 points — Sunday’s win served as redemption for the boys, who came within 4 points of first-place Randolph at the relays.


“After last month, this win feels great,” said Pembroke co-coach Greg Zopatti. “During the relays I thought we did really good, but [Randolph] still beat us. So going into this one, we knew we had to find areas where we could steal some extra points.”

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Three of those extra points came from junior shot putter Ben Stoyle, who surprisingly finished sixth with a toss of 47 feet 6 inches. He had never bettered 40 feet heading into this season.

Pembroke tallied second-place finishes from William Stafford (600 meters), Christian Stafford (mile), and John Valeri (2 mile), along with third-place finishes in the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 relays.

Christian Stafford came up especially big, setting a personal-best of 4 minutes 16.88 seconds in the mile. He and Burlington’s Paul Hogan (4:16.63) bested the meet record of 4:20.60 set in 1973.

“It was a tough race, I thought I had it right up until the end,” Stafford said. “Still, it felt great to set a personal record. I had been trying to get under the 4:20 mark for a couple years.”


Although Pembroke didn’t win any of the 13 boys’ events, consistency proved to be the formula for success. Meanwhile, the girls had to deal with the pressure of being the favorites.

“We have a tradition at Pembroke, where our goal is to always win this meet,” said co-coach James Rooney. “So the pressure has been there all year. I think by now, we’ve got a great grasp of it.”

The girls looked immune to the pressure, finishing in the top three in five events. That included a 1-2 finish by Jessica Gratzer and Meghan Richards in the shot put, netting the Titans 18 points.

But the star of the afternoon was senior captain Katie Freitas, who finished second in the 55 meters, third in the 300, and ran a great second leg to help Pembroke capture the 4 x 200.

“We kind of brought [the idea of running three events] up to her last week, and she was up for it,” said Rooney. “It was a demanding day for her, but she really put the team on her back.”


The Titans also finished first in the 4 x 400, setting a meet record with a time of 4:07.35.