Track team take home league titles

North Middlesex cruises to victory in Mid-Wach C championship

North Middlesex athletes and coaches celebrate after winning Friday’s Mid-Wach C girls track league championship meet at Fitchburg High School. (Photo courtesy of North Middlesex Regional High School)

FITCHBURG — When the dust settled, a handful indoor track teams had earned the right to be called champions.

On Friday, Jan. 31, at Fitchburg High School, the North Middlesex Regional girls ran away with first place in the Mid-Wach C league championship meet, while the Littleton boys easily outpaced runner-up Lunenburg for the Mid-Wach D crown. The Lunenburg girls, meanwhile, outpaced Bromfield to win the Mid-Wach D title. Then, on Saturday, Groton-Dunstable claimed the Mid-Wach B girls championship.

Mid-Wach C girls

From start to finish, there has been no question which team reigned over the Mid-Wach C girls indoor track standings this season.

North Middlesex Regional and its potent senior class completed the last step in the process for league perfection, capturing the outright league title by winning Friday night’s Mid-Wach C championship meet at the Doug Grutchfield Field House.

North Middlesex secured the title with 127 points, followed by rival Oakmont Regional (75 points). Gardner had a strong fourth-place showing (57 points). It is the Patriots’ fifth straight title.

“It’s been a really good year,” North Middlesex head coach John Caouette said. “(The girls) performed as they normally do. It’s a great group of kids, really coachable. Again, it couldn’t be done without the assistant coaches and the hard work of the student-athletes. They performed like champions.”

The Patriots took home four first-place honors, with Martina Nkwantah (shot put, 35 feet, 4 inches), MacKenzie Luth (55-meter hurdles, 9.25), Morgan Nesbit (mile, 5:49.70), and the 4×880-yard relay — comprised of Riley Maskalenko, Sophia D’Ambrosio, Annaliese Henneberg, and Kayla Landino — all claiming first-place finishes.

Nkwantah, Nesbit, Maskalenko and Landino are members of the class of 2020, and were competing in their final indoor league championship.

All of the podium places had strong representation by North Middlesex, in addition to just the top step. Catherine Nkwantah (shot put, 34-10), Madison LaCreta (high jump, 4-8; 55-meter hurdles, 9.25), Lindsay Swartz (2-mile, 13:31.65), Nesbit (1,000, 3:30.11) and the 4×440 relay (4:50.59) all took second place.

LaCreta’s second in the hurdles was a photo finish with her teammate Luth, to whom officials awarded first place. Freshman Jenna McFadden (55-meter dash, 8.05) rounded out Patriots’ top-three performances.

Mid-Wach C boys

Quabbin Regional (140 points) got the best of North Middlesex (84 points) during the dual-meet season, and unfortunately for the Patriots, they could not force a split title. Oakmont (65 points) finished third, and Gardner (24 points) took fifth.

“Quabbin was very strong and ran great,” Caouette said. “Our boys performed excellent, but Quabbin just has a very strong team and are well-coached.”

Ben Whittemore claimed first in the shot put (44-3.5), senior Nick Woolsey captured the 55 hurdles (8.25) and the 4×880 (9:35.44) — comprised of Nick Revis, Jayden Werner, Maxwell Kowalski and Cameron Frechete — also took home top honors.

The 300 dash trio of Max Patenaude (41.43), Elijah Rusch (41.68) and Jacob Smith (42.03) finished second through fourth. Roman DeLorenzo pulled off a strong second in the 2-mile (11:01.33). Nathan Nesbit (600, 1:35.34) and the mile relay (4:04.59) placed third.

Mid-Wach D girls

In a nip-and-tuck battle with rival Bromfield at the Mid-Wach D league championship meet, the Blue Knights not only accomplished their mission, but exceeded expectations in doing so, as Lunenburg secured the outright league title, scoring 114.5 points to best Bromfield (96) after an undefeated dual-meet season.

“It’s a chess match between Bromfield and Littleton,” Kyajohnian said. “The girls did great and came to play. We got some key sixth-place performances that got points, and some multi-event kids doubled up and performed well. It was awesome, I’m ecstatic.”

The Blue Knights accomplished their mission without securing any individual titles, showing off the depth of the team and the versatility of its athletes. There were a whole host of second-place finishes, however, including Camille Elbthal in the shot put (30 feet, 6 inches), Nicole Lawrence in the high jump (5 feet), Lauren Long in the 2-mile (12:15.01), Amber Green in the 55-meter hurdles (9.60), Isabella Brackett in the 55-meter dash (7.83) and Abby Rodriquenz taking home two seconds, in the mile (5:46.58) and 1,000 (3:24.01).

The mile relay, comprised of Gabrielle Maia, Keena Kelly, Breda Page Violette, and Grace Roy (4:48.66), also took home second, while the two other relays, the 4×880-yard (11:04.67) and 4×220 (2:07.11), took third.

A big point swing came in the 55-meter hurdles, as in addition to Green’s second, Lawrence (9.62) and Elbthal (10.20) took third and fourth, respectively. Long, who is only an eighth-grader, is the first athlete in Kyajohnian’s tenure to double up in the mile and 2-mile, and she didn’t fatigue, as she took third in the mile (5:49.03). Kelly captured a strong third in the 600 (1:52.35), while Ava Pilon was one of many who outperformed her seeding, taking fifth in the 1,000 (3:33.21).

Ayer Shirley (18 points) is heavy on the underclassmen side, but the league championship served as an important experience-gathering opportunity. Senior captain Eryca Lopes took home the highest honors, placing third in the 55-meter dash (8.08). Promising eighth grader Devin Delyani placed fifth in the 55 hurdles (10.84).

“(Lopes) was seeded fourth and finished third, and had an electric personal record for the year,” Ayer Shirley girls head coach Mike Seguin said. “She’s been with us since the seventh grade, and it was an awesome way to finish.”

Mid-Wach D boys

At the early portion of the boys meet, both Lunenburg and Ayer Shirley were right in the thick of things, but in the end Littleton had just a little too much firepower, as the Tigers won the meet with 113 points, followed by Lunenburg (93 points) and Ayer Shirley (82 points).

Earning individual first-place finishes for the Tigers were Thomas Neary (high jump, 5-10), Garret Rieden (1,000, 2:45.66) and Anthony Rawa (600, 1:36.25). Placing second were Parker Landfors (55 dash, 7.02) and Bona Bradshaw (2-mile, 11:01.61). Griffen Copp was third in the shot put (30-1).

Tim Smith finished second in the 300 (40.01) and third in the 55 dash (7.12). The Blue Knights 2-mile crew delivered, with Ben Sweet (11:32.84), Dillon Ryan (11:35.56) and Sean Whalen (11:40.34) placing third through fifth, while sophomore Brady Iovanni reeled in a third in the 55 hurdles (8.99). Another sophomore, Billy Cunningham, had a strong outing, crossing third in the mile (4:59.64) and fourth in the 600 (1:35.58).

Ayer Shirley featured some strong first-place performances, including William Schilp in the 2-mile (10:47.78), Mason Casavecchia in the 55 hurdles (8.67) and the potent mile relay (4:03.60), comprised of Caleb Callaluca, Liam Gleason, Davis Preston and Schilp.

Preston finished second in the 600 (1:35.31) and Dana Maloney had the same outcome in the mile (4:50.64). Although not able to threaten Rivers, who is one of the preeminent throwers in the state, Liam Bourassa (40-2.5) and Antonio Urbaez (38 feet) outpaced the rest of the competition, finishing second and third in the shot put. Bourassa also took home a third in the high jump (5-8).

The Panthers 4×880 took home a hard-fought second place (9:44.34).

“We were with Littleton most of the night,” Ayer Shirley boys head coach Chris Donovan said. “But we needed a perfect night to beat them. Early on, we were stealing a lot of points, but you’ve got to do it all night.”

Mid-Wach B girls

Groton-Dunstable took first place with 124 points, followed by Westboro (110) and Nashoba Regional (69). First-place finishers for the Crusaders were Moriah Scharn (55 hurdles, 9.0) and Sydney Adams (2-mile, 12:21.96). Adams (mile, 5:44.39) and Audrey Gold (600, 1:52.98) and Kimmie Harding (2-mile, 12:41.60) placed second individually.