Published February 14, 2019

ROXBURY — The NRHS girls’ track and field team won their second straight Cape Ann League Open Championship on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. This makes three championships in the last four years as the meet was cancelled in 2017 due to weather.

Sophomore Katelyn Gorgenyi led the team in points (17.5) competing in the 55 Meter Hurdles, long jump and 4×200 Meter Relay. Captain Megan Lawlor scored 11.75 points, competing in the long jump, 4×200 Meter relay and 4×400 Meter relay. Junior Lindsay MacLellan was third in point scoring competing in an impressive one mile run and two mile run double only forty minutes apart from each other.

KATELYN GORGENYI clears a hurdle on her way to winning the 55 meter hurdles at the CAL Open on Feb. 5. Gorgenyi led the girls’ team with 17.5 points, helping them win their second consecutive CAL Open title. (John Friberg Photo)

The Hornets won the meet with 78.5 points, beating out Pentucket (69), Triton (63), Newburyport (56), Amesbury (50), Manchester Essex (32), Ipswich (23.5), Masconomet (16), Hamilton-Wenham (9), Essex Technical (4) and Lynnfield (2). The Hornets knew they would have their work cut out for them, having lost regular season head-to-head matchups against Newburyport and Pentucket. However, they did not let this distract them from the goal they set for themselves back on November 26 when they started the indoor track and field season which is as always to peak at the end of season at the championship meets when it matters most.

Things did not get off to a great start as the Hornets did not have a runner in the 55 meter dash final. Abigail Martin (8.31) and Talia Monteleone (8.06, personal best) competed in the preliminary round but missed out on qualifying for the final round. The Hornets did have several athletes qualify for the dash but head coach Sotirios Pintzopoulos was saving them for the jumps and relay events at the end of the meet.

Gorgenyi made up the gap in points by taking first place in the 55 Meter Hurdles and tied the meet record in 8.51 seconds. Her time ranks second all-time in school history behind NRHS 2016 graduate Julia Valenti, who is currently a junior competing for Dartmouth College. Isabella Parrett (9.79), Ava Jolie Femia (10.07), and Ella Montelone (10.55) also competed in the event.

Up next on the track was the one mile where Lindsay MacLellan took 3rd place with an impressive time of 5:21.27, which ranks her second all time in school history behind NRHS 2014 graduate Nicole Roberts who just graduated from Amherst College where she competed collegiately.

Before the remaining track and field events, the long jump was entering the final round. In the long jump, athletes jump three times, after which the top seven jumpers advance to the finals to jump three more times. The Hornet squad had a stellar performance in the event as they had five of seven athletes in the finals, which meant they would score at least 13 points if they finished 3rd-7th.

Captain Megan Lawlor came up big in the event as she won with a distance of 16’ 11.25” scoring 10 points for the team. Gorgenyi (16’ 2.5”), Kaitlyn Shevlin (15’ 11.5”) and Isabella Parrett (15’ 5”) joined her on the podium as they went 3-4-5 in the event. Kerry O’Brien also competed in the event, leaping to a personal best of 15’ 2”. This resulted in 22 points, which brought the Hornet total to 38 points, ahead of Newburyport (28), Amesbury (20) and Pentucket (19), none of which scored in the long jump. From here on out, the Hornets were in the lead and did not look back despite a late-meet charge from Pentucket.

In the 300 meters freshman Madison DiNapoli (43.94) finished in 6th place with a time that ranks her 4th all-time in school history. Grace Hadley (1:42.84) took 4th in the 600 meters.

Abigail McLaughlin was the sole Hornet in the 1000 meters, running a personal best time of 3:42.10. Lindsay MacLellan completed her distance double by winning the two mile run in in 12:04.52 cruising to victory as she led the race from start to finish.

In the high jump, Kerry O’Brien (5’0) took 3rd and Ella Monteleone (4’8”) tied for 6th. Kaitlyn Shevlin also competed in the event and tied her personal best of 4’6”.

In the shot put, Ryan Hunter had a season best throw of 31’ 3.25” to scoop up 5th place. Pentucket scored a whopping 28 points between the high jump and shot put, which brought them within 2.5 points of the Hornets.

Leading into the final three relay events, the team scores were as follows: North Reading (61.5), Pentucket (59), Triton (51) and Newburyport (45). The next closest team was Amesbury (30) but with only a maximum of 30 points up for grabs by each team it was only the Hornets, the Sachems and the Clippers that were in the running for the CAL Open Championship.

Up first was the 4×800 meter relay. Grace Hadley, Caitlin Raimo, Samantha Martel and Julia Thorstad led from start to finish and won with a time of 10:35.05. The ten points brought the Hornets to 71.5 points, 12.5 points ahead of Pentucket, who did not score in the event and 12.5 points ahead of Triton who placed second in the event. Newburyport only scored a point in the event, which brought their total score to 46 points, and out of the running for the championship.

In the 4×200 meter relay, Pentucket cruised to victory bringing their team score to 69 points. The Hornet squad of Madison DiNapoli, Megan Lawlor, Kaitlyn Shevlin and Katelyn Gorgenyi took 3rd with a time of 1:52.17 and scored six points. Triton did not score in the event, which meant the championship between Pentucket and North Reading was down to the final event, the 4×400 meter relay with the Hornets 8.5 points ahead of Pentucket. This meant that if Pentucket won the 4×400 the Hornets would only need a 5th place finish in the event.

The 4×400 meter relay team of Madison DiNapoli, Megan Lawlor, Sophia Galuppo, and Julia Thorstad was running on tired legs and had to settle for 6th place in 4:27.07. This meant that Pentucket could win the meet with a first place finish but their time was slower in 4:27.92.

The Hornets had done it! They won a third Cape Ann League Open Championship in four years. All the hard work this season had paid off.

The Hornets now reign as the defending State Relay Champions and CAL Open Champions. We will see if they can finish the season with a back-to-back State Championship title on Sunday, Feb. 17 when they return to the Reggie Lewis Center to cap off what has already been yet another stellar season for coach Pintzopoulos and the entire North Reading High School track and field program.