Three years ago, a new crop of freshmen arrived at Andover trying to ensure that what happened in 2008 — a loss at sectionals — would not happen again on their watch.
Led by their senior class, the Warriors won their fourth straight North sectional title and their 13th in 14 years at MIT Saturday, scoring 466 points to blow away the rest of the field.
Acton-Boxboro (281), Chelmsford (269), Reading (234), and Lexington (167) rounded out the top five.
“When we came in as freshmen, it was the first time [Andover] had lost in 10 years, and so I think the team was really down and it was our comeback year,” said Andover senior Maggie D’Innocenzo, who won the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes 4.27 seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (1:06.10). “There are high expectations for everybody, and the fact that we’re able to meet them every year is really exciting.”
The Warriors kicked off the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay, where D’Innocenzo joined classmates Emma Cammann and Ashlee and Alexa Korsberg, who finished in 1:50.07.
Ashlee Korsberg placed first and earned All-America consideration in the 200 freestyle (1:51.57) and the 500 freestyle (4:54.49), breaking her own meet record in the 500 set in 2010 (4:56.39).
Andover won seven of 12 events and finished in style, winning the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:35.70.
While a few seniors racked up big points for the Warriors, coach Marilyn Fitzgerald was most impressed with the way the underclassmen stepped up.
“They know we need the points,” Fitzgerald said. “We don’t win with three or four superstars. You need the depth.”
The Warriors’ last 12 sectional titles have led to state championships, and they will try to make it 13 at Harvard on Nov. 18. One of their biggest incentives is a spot in the town of Andover’s Santa Parade Nov. 25.
“They want that police escort back into town,” Fitzgerald said. “It happens year after year, and it is magical.”
Andover dominated Saturday, but Acton-Boxboro grabbed the spotlight several times. Junior Jessica Crowley won the 50 freestyle (24.23) and the 100 freestyle (53.20), while senior Lucy Chai won the 100 butterfly (56.91).
The boys raced separately from the girls, guaranteeing that no controversy would arise like it did last year. As a result, the competition was sparse.
Billerica senior CJ Khoshabjian raced uncontested in both the 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley, and Billerica was the lone team in the 400 freestyle relay.
The Indians placed first among five boys’ teams with 259 points.
South/Central Sectional — Framingham came into the MIAA South/Central Sectional at MIT with one goal: beat last year’s victor, Bishop Feehan. It succeeded but just by 7 points: Framingham had 344 points and Feehan 337.
“We were nervous coming in, we knew [Bishop Feehan] was coming in fired up,” 100 free winner Maddie Biron said. “We knew we had to swim harder than we ever have to win. We pulled it off and I don’t have words to describe how happy I am.”
The sectional was close between the schools in each event, especially the 100 breaststroke. Needham trailed behind in third place at 182.5.
“We knew we were in a big fight today against Bishop Feehan,” Framingham coach Mike Foley said. “They swim well, but the girls just rallied around each other. This was a dream season and to cap it off this way is phenomenal.”
In addition to Biron’s win, the Flyers got first-place finishes from their 200 and 400 free relay teams, and Maura Sticco-Ivins in diving.