HINGHAM — Fresh off winning the mile and setting an outdoor personal best (4:20.57) at Sunday’s MIAA Division 4 boys’ track and field championship, fatigue was setting in for Burlington star senior Rithikh Prakash in the blistering heat at Notre Dame Academy. Still scheduled to run the Red Devils’ 4x800 relay later in the afternoon and with his team holding a slight lead, he approached longtime coach Matt Carr with a request.
“He came up and said, ‘If we don’t need it, can you replace me in the 4x800?’ ” Carr recalled. “And I said, ‘get ready for the 4x800,’ and just walked away. But that’s the type of relationship we have.”
Carr’s tough love was taken to heart, and the Cornell-bound senior gutted through a resilient 2:05 split in the Red Devils’ second place 8:08.85, helping lift Burlington (100.33 points) to its first state title since 2017. Tewksbury (81 points) finished second.
“Once I heard [the points were close], I knew I needed to run the relay,” Prakash said. “We haven’t won a state championship since I’ve been here; we’ve gotten some seconds and some thirds and gotten really close. But it was really important to me to end my high school career with a win.”
Senior Elijah Wolinski shined for the Red Devils, winning the 400 hurdles (56.12), placing second in long jump (21-7), and taking fourth in the triple jump (42-00.75). Senior Eric Sekyaya, finished second in the 800 (1:57.05) and third in the mile (4:24.04).
“These seniors didn’t have a tournament their freshman year [due to COVID-19], finished third the next year, second last year, and now won it,” said Carr. “So we’ve been right around the edge, and everything had to go right [because] Tewksbury put on a huge performance.”
On the girls’ side, Newburyport (79 points) followed up its Division 4 state relay victory last month with another well-rounded effort to top Pembroke (61 points). The Clippers won only two events — senior Hailey LaRosa in the 2-mile (11:03.82) and the 4x400 relay (4:05.83) — but had top-four showings in 10 of 19 events.
After the Clippers finished fifth at last year’s outdoor state meet, coach Mike McCormick credited the program’s fresh talent for delivering Newburyport’s first girls’ state title in recent memory.
“Just a lot of dedication, talent, and hard work,” McCormick said.
One of those new athletes was sophomore hurdle specialist Lucy Buchmayr, who joined the team this past season and only began practicing hurdles in recent months. She finished third in the 100 hurdles (16.35) and fourth in the 400 hurdles (1:10.58).
“I’ve never been part of a team like this, so getting to do well so quickly has been fun,” Buchmayr said. “I’m mostly just happy the team did so well.”
While the Tewksbury girls’ (45.5 points) finished fifth, it was another banner afternoon for senior Jayani Santos. After finishing third (25.33) in a loaded 200 field on Friday, Santos won the 400 (57.85) by over a second and anchored the winning 4x100-meter relay (49.95) on Sunday.