North Andover boys, Central Catholic girls win Div. 2 State Coaches Relays titles

Whitman-Hanson’s Rachel Baker hands off to Hannah Wells in the 4 x 800. The quartet finished first in 9:41.60, just three seconds shy of the meet record.
Whitman-Hanson’s Rachel Baker hands off to Hannah Wells in the 4 x 800. The quartet finished first in 9:41.60, just three seconds shy of the meet record. (Robert E. Klein for The Boston Globe)
Robert E. Klein/For The Globe

WALPOLE — On a beautiful day for track and field, the North Andover boys’ and Central Catholic girls’ each won Division 2 Massachusetts State Track Coaches Relays titles.

For the Scarlet Knights of North Andover, the day was especially beautiful because they won their first title in the event. It was a battle throughout, with Reading finishing just two points behind North Andover’s 58. North Attleboro (53) finished third, while Central Catholic (42) and Woburn (39) rounded out the top five.

“We’ve been building toward this meet since before the indoor season started,’’ said Scarlet Knights coach Steve Nugent. “I thought this was a meet we had a good chance to be competitive at. I’m just glad we showed up today and competed.”

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North Andover tallied three first-place finishes, winning the high jump, 1,600 sprint medley, and pole vault competitions.

Nugent said he didn’t try to “mix and match” athletes to any teams in events, rather focusing on placing as high as possible in events.

“We’ve been runner-up a few times . . . but right now, it’s pretty outstanding,” said Nugent.

On the girls’ side, Central Catholic had to battle for its title as well. The Raiders’ 50 points earned them the crown.

Tewksbury and North Attleboro finished just five and 10 points behind, respectively. North Andover (33) and Concord-Carlisle (30) rounded out the top five.

The Raiders took home first in just one event, the 4 x 100 shuttle hurdle, but finished among the top five in seven other events. The team finished second in both pole vault and triple jump and third in discus.

“We have a lot of depth as a team and this is a meet all about depth,’’ said Central Catholic coach Katie Andrade. “I don’t think we expected that we would do as well as we did in field events. We figured we’d be in contention at least.”

The Raiders were led by Brianna Gagnon and Hope Alaimo. Gagnon participated in the hurdles and triple jump, while Alaimo placed in hurdles, triple jump, and javelin.

“[Gagnon] was an anchor for the hurdles and it came down to that last leg,” said Andrade.

As for Alaimo, her coach simply said “she had a very big day.”

Before the meet began, a moment of silence was held for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15 as well as for Walpole High School graduate Matt Shea. Shea was a member of the 2004 graduating class and Rebels track team. He was diagnosed with cancer his junior year of high school and died April 17.

“He was a teammate of mine . . . he meant a lot to our program,” said Walpole boys’ coach Kevin Butera. “Matt was the kid who made you feel like you belonged. If you were timid, he welcomed you to the team.”