Div. 2 track relays: Arlington high jumper qualifies for nationals

Arlington’s Rowan McConkey made one tactical mistake Sunday at the Div. 2 Relays and it had nothing to do with him getting over the bar in the high jump.

McConkey made the mistake of opening at 5 feet, 10 inches instead of 6-0 or 6-2 on a day he was truly in the zone with his approach and takeoff. And because jumpers in the relays are allowed only six attempts, McConkey was done after leaping to a new personal best and tying the school record at 6-5. The leap also qualified him for nationals.

McConkey not only cleared the bar, he had room to spare. “I should have opened at six (feet),” he said. “I’ve kind of been at this plateau the last six weeks where I’ve been at 6-3 and 6-4. I knew I’d get it eventually and today I did.”

Going forward, McConkey plans to continue his training regiment with the effort on consistency. “I just need to jump high and my form will get me over,” he said. “My approach has become more consistent. I definitely can go higher.”

Wellesley’s girls came from behind and finally took the lead away from Peabody in the 4×400 relay. The Raiders finished a strong second to Woburn’s 4:08.73 in 4:09.04. That gave Wellesley the team win and defense of the team title with 46 points to Peabody’s 42 points. Woburn took third with 37 points.

Wellesley head coach John Griffith, who has seen his squad capture six relay team wins in his 16 years as head coach knew Peabody would be a challenge from the start. “Peabody was a team we knew was talented,” he said. “It came down to the last event and we had to win by two places. It was an outstanding mee against some great teams. With competition like this you need depth.”

North Andover got out to a fast start and ran away with boys’ team title with a whopping 71 points for its’ seventh team title in the last eight years. Head coach Jason Guarente credited his group of captains that include Nate Jacques, Zach Traficante, Cole Giles, Jimmy Nguyn, Ryan Connolly, Cam Reiland and James Allard for getting the squad prepared.

The team had just one win (4×50, 22.39) but used its’ depth to leave the rest of the field behind. “We had our eyes on (second place) Reading for sure, but you really can’t predict,” said Guarente. “We had a good day for sure. I can’t say enough about the importance of our captains.”

There were several quality performances in the field events. The great Annie Comella of Wellesley launched a 17-2 1/4 attempt in the long jump and Stephen Bate of Fitchburg led all long jumpers with his leap of 21-1 1/2.
Aaliyah Callahan of Peabody had the furthest shot put heave at 37-3. She teamed with Trinity Cabrera (28-7 3/4) and Jessica Richards (30-4 1/4) for the win.

Cabrera used the push and glide technique in the circle and that proved to be the difference. “I brought power to the upper half of my body,” said Callahan. “I need the focus on my hip movement, but I stayed consistent.”