The Classical High girls track program received a major shot in the arm when its 4 x 200-meter relay team captured the MIAA Division 2 state title last week.
Devyn Astuccio, Agnes Bangura, Jennifer Gaudet and Anna Wargo left their mark on the program by bringing home the state title with a time of 1:47.30. The win came on the heels of a record-setting, first-place finish in the event in the Northeastern Conference Meet. They have an opportunity to add to their accomplishments when they compete in the All-State Meet Saturday at the Reggie Lewis Center, which was also the site of the Division 2 State Meet.
“They were perfect at the state meet,” coach Steve Martin said. “The team they beat (Wellesley), they beat by a half a second. I’m super proud of them.”
Although the Classical girls will have their work cut out at the All-States given the fact there are some teams out there they know are a second or two faster, Martin isn’t counting his relay out.
“These four girls really step up,” he said. “They love a challenge.”
Gaudet and Wargo are seniors, so this was their last chance to bring it home in indoor. Both also run spring track.
“This was one of the best feelings ever, “ Gaudet said. “We’ve been working so hard this year. This is senior year for me and Anna. We said this year we’re going to do it big, go out a champion.”
Gaudet said as soon as they ran the preliminary heat, they knew they could win it all. . Classical was ranked No. 1 going in and was grouped with the faster girls in the final heat.
“It’s kind of an indescribable feeling. We’re state champions our senior year,” she said. “This was kind of our last shot. It’s our last indoor season ever … it’s a perfect way to end the indoor season.”
Gaudet is looking to run in college and is considering the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Westfield State University. Wargo would also like to run in college. She’s looking to get into teaching and one of the schools that interests her is the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
“It was exciting,” Wargo said. “I was thrilled that we won.”
Wargo is hoping that other girls coming into the school or those who are just starting out will look at the track program and give it a shot.
“I think a lot of students, if they just tried. If they just work hard enough, they could do it. If you just sit around and don’t do anything, it won’t happen,” she said.
Martin is also hoping this year’s success, both as a team and by individuals like the relay team, will help raise the track profile at the school and get more girls to take it seriously. Martin said track sometimes gets looked at as a recreational sport, or a secondary sport. He wants it to be like any varsity sport at the school.
“I want the girls to be dedicated to the program,” he said, adding he also wants the opposition to know it’s in for a battle when it takes on Classical.
The team finished 3-3 (the Marblehead meet, postponed due to the weather, won’t be made up). The team could have finished over .500, but in the final relay against Revere, the Classical relay was disqualified when one of the runners cut into the inside lane a few feet early. The Rams were winning the relay comfortably at the time, but it still went down as a DQ.
Martin said a lot of credit for the team’s success goes to his assistant, Warren MacPhail. MacPhail coaches cross country and outdoor track at Winthrop and he helps out at Classical during the indoor season.
“Nobody deserves more credit than he does,” Martin said. “Coach Mac and I knew these girls were special. We knew they could be the one. Girls like these only come down the river once and a while. When you get four together, that’s kind of special.”
Martin sees a great future ahead for sophomores Bangura and Astuccio. Martin saw Astuccio playing soccer for Classical and encouraged her to try track. In addition to running the relay, she’s also a hurdler. Bangura is a sprinter.
“Both could be state champs in a year or two,” Martin said.
Bangura won the 55-meter race at the Northeastern Conference Meet and she just missed out on a win in that event in the Division 2 State Meet, where she ran her best time (7.38).