Entering the final event of the day, the 4 x 400 relay, the Hingham girls’ track team had to beat Bishop Feehan by more than two positions to claim the MIAA Division 3 state championship at the Reggie Lewis Center on Saturday afternoon.
Hingham won the race, but Bishop Feehan finished a strong second, shaving six seconds off its best time, to hold off the Harbormen and maintain a 2-point margin of victory, taking home the title with 82. Notre Dame of Hingham claimed third with 67 points.
“I think we were seeded with about 64 points,” said Bishop Feehan coach Paul Powell, who said this may be his last season before retiring. “This is something I have wanted bad for a long time, so it was sweet.”
The boys’ meet wasn’t quite as tight as Amherst-Pelham won its first Division 3 state title with 62 points to second-place Bishop Feehan’s 49. Hingham was third with 39.
“We came in today thinking that we had a chance, but we also knew there were some other strong teams,” said Amherst-Pelham girls’ distance coach Bob Rosen. “For a team winning a state class championship is a wonderful thing.”
The Hingham girls’ squad got out to a strong lead, but Bishop Feehan and Notre Dame were on its heels. Through 11 events, the Harbormen had 70 points and Bishop Feehan sat in second with 66.
Bishop Feehan senior Abbie McNulty recorded an impressive double win, claiming victory in the mile (4:55.90) and 2-mile (10:58.91), pulling in 10 points for the Shamrocks.
It all came down to the performance in the relays.
Hingham was first in the 4 x 200, with Bishop Feehan third. In the 4 x 800, Bishop Feehan took second, while Hingham failed to finish in the top eight. Entering the 4 x 400, the Shamrocks had overtaken Hingham to lead the meet with 74 points to the Harbormen’s 70, and Bishop Feehan was able to maintain its position.
“I was stressed. I was stressed out big time, I was worried,” Powell said. “I knew Hingham had a strong 4 by 4 and I kept saying to myself, ‘As long as we can stay within one, we’ll be all right.’ And we did.”
Shepherd Hill won the girls’ 4 x 800 relay, recording the fastest time in Massachusetts this year and setting a meet record of 9:33.90 (breaking the mark of 9:41.34 set by Bishop Feehan in 2010).
The boys’ meet was even through the first eight events. As the teams entered the 2-mile — with the long jump still in progress — Amherst-Pelham had a narrow lead, 24 points to North Attleboro and Gloucester’s 23. Stoughton was right behind in fourth place with 21. But Amherst-Pelham maintained its position throughout the second half of the meet, and eventually earned a commanding win.
Hingham’s Andrew Bolze won the 300 (34.30) and the long jump (23-0½).