SPRINGFIELD — An expanded MIAA Division 1 girls’ swimming and diving championship field did not stop Westford from repeating as state champion.
Coach Caitlin Klick-McHugh’s team dominated the field at the Art Linkletter Natatorium at Springfield College Saturday, finishing with a score of 351.5 points.
The Grey Ghosts were more than 100 points ahead of second-place Lincoln-Sudbury, with senior Kelly Huber and junior Jen Marrkand leading the way.
Both swimmers were part of the second-place 200-yard medley relay team, and Marrkand added two individual titles. Huber also took home an individual title, winning the 100-yard breaststroke for the third year in a row.
“We have a strong team, I wouldn’t be able to do it by myself,” Huber said.
Marrkand set meet records in the 200-yard medley and the 100-yard backstroke.
“Jen is a great leader. She really motivates the whole team; they all look up to her. She’s been a big part of our success,” Klick-McHugh said.
Even with the Western Mass. schools added to the meet by the MIAA after sectionals were canceled by the blizzard last weekend, Westford wasn’t rattled.
“More competition makes it more fun. We definitely trained a little harder and it was just fun,” Huber said.
Easthampton finished just 16th, but Jessica Harper won the 50 and 100 freestyle titles.
North Attleborough’s Sarah Hargrave won the 200- and 500-yard freestyles.
Wayland took home its seventh title. Coach Mike Foley’s team finished with a score of 340.5 points, more than 120 better than runner-up Northampton’s 213.
The Warriors were consistently among the top finishers in each event in which their swimmers took part. For the second straight year they won the state meet despite not winning a single individual event.
Molly Pierce finished second, Kristina Barakov was fifth, and Lorraine Cliff took seventh place in the 100-yard backstroke, and teammates Amy Cunningham (eighth), and Ellen Barber and Elizabeth Wells all finished within the top 13.
Northampton, Marblehead (205.5), Weston (183), and Holyoke (156) rounded out the top five, with Holyoke edging Nauset by 9.5 points for fifth. The individual star of the meet was Nauset junior Marie Chamberlain, who won the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.
The Warriors’ 200-yard medley relay team took second behind Marblehead. Barakov, Molly Pierce, Megan Pierce, and Anna Downs finished in 1:50.42.
In the 200-yard free, Wayland’s Madison Kiefer, Heather Wright, and Becca Weurfl finished eighth, ninth, and 10th, respectively.
Marblehead’s Ryan Alexander, Sara Daher, Kylie Cronin, and Hannah Verrette bested Barakov’s squad for first, finishing with a time of 1:49.92. The event win gave the Magicians 40 points.
Molly Pierce had three second-place finishes by the end of the meet, which had a record 292 swimmers after the MIAA allowed sectional qualifiers into the meet following last weekend’s storm. She took second in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:07.38. Holyoke’s Meriza Werenski won in 1:05.79.
Marblehead’s Alexander also performed well in the 200-yard freestyle, finishing second to Bedford’s Olivia Jameson, who clocked a time of 1:52.36.
In diving, Weston’s Mikaela Thompson won with a score of 516.65, ahead of Norwell’s Jessie Westergard (502.60). Northampton’s Abbie Crescitelli (403.65) and Katie Helly (377.35) were fifth and sixth.