On a dreary, chilly, rain-soaked day, the North Andover girls’ track & field team made history while the Scarlet Knight boys continued their dominance at the MSTCA Division 2 Relays.
The host school swept the relays Sunday, with the girls capturing the program’s first championship in the 23-year tenure of coach Rick Dellechiaie with their 104-point performance, edging Hingham (74) and Central Catholic (58). The boys (124 points) won their fourth title since 2013, outdistancing Central Catholic (48) and Hopkinton (37).
“We have an awesome program,” Dellechiaie said. “The girls have been knocking on the door of this meet for a few years, so it’s nice to finally win one.”
The Scarlet Knights created separation with their prowess in the throwing events, as junior Jenna Bard spearheaded winning efforts in the javelin and shot put.
The Scarlet Knight girls also won the 4x100, 4x1600, and the distance medley, in addition to emerging victorious in the 4x200 by just .03 seconds. Senior captain Ava Nassar anchored the winning 4x100 and 4x200 squads while being the team’s top jumper in the long jump relay, which placed second.
“I think it goes to show the depth that we have on this team,” said senior captain Katie Wojcik, who ran the lead leg of the 4x400.
“This is the deepest program we’ve had, maybe in the history of North Andover track. We do have our studs, but I think our bread and butter is the sheer number we have of quality runners.”
The Scarlet Knight boys, also victorious in 2019, won eight of the 15 events Sunday, including all three throwing events. There were also four runner-up finishes.
“This group of boys is special,” said Steve Nugent, who has been at the helm of the North Andover boys since 2002. “I knew they were going to be in the thick of it, no matter who came through the gate today.”
With a time of 3:25.29, the Scarlet Knights’ 4x400 team fell a second short of the school record, set at the 2017 All-State meet.
Senior Will Gossman, junior Owen Phelan, senior Andrew Howard, and senior captain Peter Martel combined to run away from the field. The three seniors had quite the day: Martel, who will run at Colby, also anchored the victorious 4x100 and 4x200 teams, while Howard ran on all three winning teams. In addition to competing in the 4x200 and 4x400 teams, Gossman had the best throws in the javelin.
Nugent prides his team on being well-rounded, displayed by finishing top three in 14 of 15 events held.
“This is a meet that’s very important to our program,” Nugent said. “You can win some of these bigger meets with six or seven or eight athletes. This is a meet that takes a whole team to win. For us, it’s the most important meet on our schedule.”
At Gordon College in Wenham, athletes, coaches, and spectators took shelter beneath the bleachers as rain showers, heavy and light, persisted throughout the afternoon.
The conditions at the MSTCA Division 3 relays were no problem for the Danvers boys competing in the first event of the day, the 4x1600 meter relay. The Falcons won convincingly in 19 minutes, 13 seconds.
Or Burlington, which continued its run of dominance with its eighth championship in 10 years, but first since 2017. The Red Devils (73 points) outdistanced Stoughton (62) and Tewksbury (54).
The pack in the 1,600 thinned quickly in the race, with Danvers and Burlington separating themselves from the rest of the field on the first leg. Danvers held a lead of only about a second going into the final handoff.
Senior T.J. Glowik ran the anchor, and knew that he didn’t have much of a lead at all.
“I could definitely feel [the Burlington runner] on my shoulder,” Glowik said. “I knew if I wanted to win this I would have to keep pushing throughout, so I went out hard and stayed hard.”
Glowik ran that last leg in a split of 4:47, and ended up getting the win for the Falcons by 21 seconds. Junior Luke Llewellyn ran the leadoff leg (4:45). Junior Mack Eon ran the second leg (4:53), and junior Kevin Rodgers ran third (4:48).
Burlington won the meet despite not winning any events on the track. Their throwers took center stage, taking home the win in both the discus throw and the shot put relays. Mitchel Adamson was the team’s top performer in the shot put, placing sixth (12.32 meters). David Downie was sixth in the discus, with a throw of 29.19 meters.
Burlington also fared well in the other half of the field events, placing second in the long jump and high jump relays.
In the girls’ meet, North Reading won its third straight championship, finishing with 78 points. Melrose was second.
The Hornets won the javelin, the triple jump relay, the 4x100 relay, and the 4x100 shuttle hurdles. In the javelin, North Reading’s Madison Vant placed first with a throw of 26.8 meters. The team also produced the individual winner in the triple jump, Katelyn Gorgeni, who jumped 10.49 meters.
There was no Division 3 pole vault competition for boys or girls.