ANDOVER — Entering the final race of the meet, the 4 x 400 relay, the top five teams were separated by less than 5 points. Each team was seeded 20th or better in the 4 x 400 with a chance to surprise the crowd and take home the Division 1 track and field championship at Andover High School on Sunday afternoon.
That’s exactly what St. John’s Prep did.
St. John’s Prep coach Ray Carey changed up his 4 x 400 team, putting junior Joe Luongo on the anchor leg for the first time. The move paid off as the Eagles finished sixth in the race for 3 points and a 1-point overall victory (49 points).
“We were just hoping to relay hard and put ourselves in the best situation to have a chance to win,” Carey said. “To win a meet like this is a great testament to the work that everyone in our program has done. You hope to be in the hunt as often as possible and once in a while things fall your way.”
Mansfield and BC High tied for second with 48 points and Acton-Boxboro finished fourth with 43.
St. John's Prep was in first place heading into the final event with 46 points and a 3-point lead over Acton-Boxboro and BC High. St. John’s Prep was seeded 14th in the final race of the afternoon. BC High was seeded seventh and Acton-Boxboro 19th.
St. John’s Prep won just one individual medal, as Evan Dombrowski was victorious in the shot put at 57 feet 4 inches.
Billerica’s Peter Garmon won the 800 in 1 minute 54.75 seconds, recording the fastest time in Massachusetts this season. Ben Colello of Lincoln-Sudbury set a meet record while winning the 400 hurdles (54.61 seconds).
The girls’ meet had a similar close margin, but with slightly less drama as Cambridge finished third in the final race, the 4 x 400, to rack up 73 points and outpace second-place Newton North (70 points). Lexington finished a distant third with 53 points.
“From jumpers to throwers to sprinters to distance runners, you can’t ask for much more than that. Complete team effort,” said Cambridge coach Jamahl Prince. “It’s a good feeling, a strong feeling that they have the complete package.”
Cambridge won three events as Maya Halprin-Adams took the 800 in 2 minutes 17.85 seconds and Brianna Duncan won the long jump at 19 feet 1 inch, which broke the school record by more than a foot. Duncan then came back to win the triple jump at 37 feet 2.5 inches.
“The girls met their expectations and some exceeded them,” Prince said. “A lot of wins, which is a good feeling. A great feeling.”
Newton North’s Michaela Smith was also a double winner, taking the shot put (40 feet 6 inches) and discus (117 feet 3 inches).
Barnstable’s Amanda Henson also won two events, defending her state titles in the 100 (12.15 seconds) and the 200 (24.85 seconds).
Brockton’s 4 x 100 relay team took the state title (48.69 seconds) while setting a meet record and recording the only time less than 49 seconds in the state this year.
New to this year’s event was a pentathlon competition, which was won on the boys’ side by Bridgewater-Raynham’s Mark Hamalian (3,238 points) and Haverhill’s Michaela Sliney for the girls (2,600 points).