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MSTCA DIVISION 5 STATE TRACK RELAYS

With a finishing kick in the 4x400, Amesbury boys win their first MSTCA Division 5 Relays championship

Ernie Bissaillon (center), who founded the Amesbury boys' indoor track program in 1996, directed the team to its first Division 5 State Relays title on Saturday.MITCH FINK

As Amesbury’s Michael Sanchez hurtled toward the finish line of the 4x400-meter relay, the noise inside the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center crescendoed to the loudest it had been all day.

The Amesbury boys needed eight points in the 4x400 — the last relay of the meet — to win the MSTCA’s Division 5 State Relays Saturday afternoon.

The Indians earned a second-place finish (3 minutes, 33.81 seconds), good for exactly eight points and the program’s first indoor relay title.

“It was a great team effort for the boys,” said Amesbury coach Ernie Bissaillon, who founded the program in 1996. “It’s been 27 years, and it’s just kind of nice for it all to come together.”

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Entering the 4x400, Weston led with 36 points and Littleton followed with 35. But the Wildcats earned no points with a seventh-place finish, and the Tigers were disqualified for throwing the baton. Amesbury finished with 37.

Sanchez’s brother, Max, ran the second leg of the winning 4x400.

Amesbury led after the first few events, but surrendered its lead in the distance medley before coming back to secure the dramatic victory in the final event.

“They kept fighting the whole way,” Bissaillon said.

Lunenburg finished first in the 4x400, setting a new meet record (3:32.78).

Weston (56 points) dashed to its second consecutive girls’ title, thanks to veteran leadership and an influx of new faces and fresh legs.

Freshmen Avery Lehman and Solana Varela played a key role on Weston’s winning 4x400-meter relay (1:46.98), which broke a six-year-old meet record.

Weston also finished first in the 4x800-meter (9:57.25), distance medley relay (13:00.99), 4x400-meter relay (4:12.83) and long jump relay, and third in the 4x50-yard (26.24) to cement the team victory. Nipmuc (38 points) and Medway (29) completed the top three.

“Last year’s team set the groundwork of running for each other,” said Weston coach Jason Montrose. “They just carried that tradition on.”

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The Littleton boys finished third overall and stormed to a record-breaking 10:48.08 in the distance medley. After sprinting out the final leg, junior Timothy Rank celebrated by crushing an imaginary home run.

“You had to do it in a meet when you actually did crush it out of the park, so it was good,” Rank said.

The Weston girls repeated in the MSTCA Division 5 Relays at the Reggie Lewis Center Saturday under the direction of coach Jason Montrose (right).MITCH FINK