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February 1, 2013

GETTING OVER IT: Peabody boys, girls sweep spirited NEC championships

BOSTON — Every track season is about peaks and valleys, and if yesterday’s Northeastern Conference championships at Reggie Lewis Center are any indication, plenty of North Shore athletes are peaking at exactly the right time.

Peabody won yet another boys title, but the point differential was the closest its been in the Tanners’ six year stint as NEC members. With boys from six different schools winning gold medals, it was definitely peak season.

For the Peabody girls, peaking was about finishing better than they started. The Tanners lost two dual meets this winter and fell behind season champion Beverly early yesterday. They then rallied down the stretch to take the girls meet with 87 points to the Panthers’ 82.

Senior Catarina Rocha was one of five Peabody girls to win events as she cruised to the 2-mile title in 10:46. Antonia Pagliuca’s third place in the 2-mile gave Peabody 16 points in that event, a lead they did not relinquish.

“We had hoped to win, but it wasn’t everything,” said senior Heather MacLean, the NEC 600 champion. “The biggest thing today was to have all our girls do their best and try to run their best times heading into states.”

MacLean won the 600 in 1:39 just days after setting a school record in the event. She now has NEC titles at 300, 400 and 600 meters, showing off a remarkable versatility she garnered as part of the Tanners All-State champion cross country team.

“I feel a lot stronger,” MacLean said. “I definitely feel like running sprints last year has helped me at the end of the longer races this year.”

Peabody also got golds from senior Hayley Dowd, who nosed out Danvers’ Xanthi Pantazelos in the dash (7.53 to 7.57) and shot putter Pam Zabala, who repeated as NEC champ with a heave of 36-7. Sophomore Lauren Barrett won the 1000 for the Tanners in 3:08.

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