Division 3 state relays

Scoring error alters results

Bishop Feehan gains, loses titles

By Anthony Gulizia
Globe Correspondent / January 16, 2011

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The biggest trophy usually is awarded to the first-place team, as the second-place finisher goes home thinking about what it could have done to earn the victory.

But at the Division 3 State Relays at Reggie Lewis Center yesterday, it was the second-place team that went home with the win.

For the third year in a row, coach Paul Powell led the Bishop Feehan girls’ track team to a championship. But the win was far from ordinary as the posted results displayed the Shamrocks in second place with 52 points — 3.49 points behind Hopkinton.

Race officials, however, had been awarding points to the top eight finishers, when only the top six should have been receiving honors. After an hour of deliberation and manually adding scores, the officials decided it was actually Bishop Feehan who was in first with 42 points and Hopkinton in second with 40.5.

“We won last year so we were disappointed thinking we came up short,’’ Bishop Feehan senior Viviana Hanley said. “But to think that we did good, it’s awesome — it feels a lot better. We all worked really hard.’’

Powell said he was extremely pleased with Hanley’s performance, as she anchored the distance medley team, which finished first and set a meet record clocking in at 12 minutes 37.15 seconds. Hanley also anchored the 4 x 800 relay team that finished second in 9:54.86, three seconds behind Pembroke.

“I was psyched about our [distance medley relay],’’ Powell said. “Viviana had an unbelievable race, she had a nice finish. It was unbelievable. My daughter [Katie] was a part of that team as well so that made it really special.’’

The Bishop Feehan boys’ team, on the other hand, had the opposite experience after the scoring controversy. It appeared to capture the title, 9 points ahead of Randolph, but after the scoring adjustment, the Blue Devils finished first with 42 points, edging the Shamrocks by 1 point.

“The kids have been looking forward to this meet since last year,’’ said Randolph coach Darcey Welch. “They came together and I’m proud of them.’’

Randolph senior Godfred Mbengam turned in a strong performance as a key member of the 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 teams, which finished first with times of 1:34.84 and 3:33:57, respectively.

Mbengam said he was happy with how hard his team has worked and is looking forward to the Division 3 All-State meet next week.

“We thought that we lost, and last year we came in second and we were mad at ourselves,’’ he said. “But we won, so it’s a big accomplishment — we’re so happy.’’

In the 4 x 50 shuttle dash relay, it was Hingham, Bishop Feehan, and Randolph in the top three spots — before more conflict ensued.

At the end of the race, all three runners, in an attempt to stop their momentum, came in contact with the mat designated for the long jump landing. However, it’s illegal to touch the mat and all three were disqualified. This affected the final standings, giving Randolph the 1-point edge.

“It’s frustrating, that disqualification hit us big-time,’’ Powell said. “But you can’t go by that. The rules are there and one of our athletes violated that rule and we’ve got to live with it.’’