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December 1, 2012

Northeastern Conference to launch pre-season relays

Something new has been added to the Northeastern Conference indoor track season. The NEC Relays will kick things off on December 8th at Swampscott, and Big Blue boys’ coach Joe Tenney couldn’t be happier to see this come to fruition.

“I’ve been trying to get this going for a few years,” said Tenney, who is starting his 12th year at Swampscott. “It’s a pre-season fun relay, and we’re asking for a one dollar donation for each relay a school enters just to help cover the costs.

“For a lot of kids that don’t get that shining start this will provide some great competition. Joe Abelon, who does all the scoring for the NEC and helped design the new track at Swampscott, was instrumental in getting this going along with Deems Hatch, the commissioner of league officials. These two guys worked very hard to make it happen.”

There will be two sessions, one for the small and the other for the large divisions in the NEC, beginning at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The format calls for eight relays, and a few have an A and B division.

“We’re going to have a lot of kids here, and exciting to host this event,” said Tenney. “It’s a work in progress, and will be a long day but well worth it.”

Coaches around the league support the idea, but some have reservations about the time it will take with the large number of athletes involved.

“I like the idea in certain ways because it gives kids a chance to get some competition before the regular season meets,” said Danvers boys’ coach John Norris. “It’s getting harder and harder to arrange scrimmages, and this takes the place of a scrimmage. My only worry is that with so many teams at the same place it could take four or five hours to get it done. If it’s well run and we can pull it off in two or three hours I’ll like it.

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