The Amesbury boys indoor track team ran through the full range of emotions at Saturday’s Division 5 State Relay.
At first, it was complete joy and hopefullness after the Red Hawks took 18 out of a possible 20 points over the first two events to build a good lead. Then, it was despair, as a couple of mistakes resulted in DQs and zero points in a couple of events to put the team in third place heading into the final race.
For a program that’s finished runner-up at State Relays countless times but has never won it, was this playing out under the same script?
Well, as it turns out, no.
For the final event of the day — the 4x400 — Amesbury turned to the team of Jackson Wetherell, Max Sanchez, Brody Tonks and Michael Sanchez. The group finished in second place with a school-record time of 3:33.81, which, thanks to a seventh-place finish from Weston in the same event, was enough for the Red Hawks to make the epic comeback.
Amesbury won its first ever indoor Division 5 State Relay with 37 points, just barely edging out second-place Weston with 36.
If Weston finished a spot or two higher in the 4x400 — or Red Hawk anchor Michael Sanchez didn’t kick into high gear to finish second when he was in third after receiving the baton — it could have ended in heartbreak.
Instead, Amesbury got to celebrate the entire bus ride home.
“The girls have won it a few times, but the boys never have,” said longtime Amesbury coach Ernie Bissaillon. “So it was really good to see. If you don’t have the depth, then winning this meet is a hard thing to do. But we had a good number of kids who performed well today. The come-from-behind was tremendous.”
The 4x400 team was one of three school-record performances on the day.
The 4x50 shuttle hurdle team of Zach Rome, Aiden Fortier, Wetherell and Max White won in 28.31, and the 4x200 team of Rome, Max Sanchez, Wetherell and Michael Sanchez set a new school pace after placing second in 1:34.78. Elsewhere for the Red Hawks, the 4x50 dash team of Luke Arsenault, Drew Scialdone, Max Sanchez and Michael Sanchez took second (22.95), the 4x800 team of Andre Bailen, Drew Sanford, Joe Stanton and Zach Rome took fifth (8:37.67), and the shot put relay team of Aiden Donovan, Ollie Ferreira and Luke Arsenault took sixth (35.09m).
“I’m really happy for the boys and all of our coaches,” said Bissaillon.
“It was a great feeling and one that will hopefully continue. Both teams right now are undefeated in the Baker Division, so Tuesday night hopefully we can compete well and win the Baker.”
On the girls side, Amesbury placed 12th overall with 11 points.
The Red Hawks set one school record on the day, with the shuttle hurdle team of Bayleigh Shanahan, Lindsey Williamson, Megan McAndrews and Lidya Belanger taking second (31.48).
The same group then took fifth in the 4x50 dash (26.55), and the long jump relay team of Jocelyn Smyth, Lindsey Williamson and Bayleigh Shanahan took sixth (12.79m).