One used a burst of speed, while the other used patience, but both Watertown High School relay teams took the title at the MIAA Div. 4 Track Championships at North Reading High School on Saturday.
Seeded second, the boys' 4 x 800 relay team obliterated its best time of the year, said coach Tom Wittenhagen.
"They ran 8:15.89, and dropped 16 seconds," Wittenhagen said. "That is an incredible amount – by far the most dropped by any team (at the meet)."
Wittenhagen said his runners – Kevin Eskici, Alex Ambila, Emilio Alvarez and Ethan LeClair – ran a smart race by running the first lap smooth and then running hard the second time around the track.
"They could have been hero runners and passed a lot of people the first lap and then lose it at the end, but they were patient," Wittenhagen said.
Eskici and Ambila kept the Raiders up with the leaders and then Alvarez pulled into the lead at the end of his leg. LeClair brought the team home, beating second place East Bridgewater by more than half a second.
The girls' 4 x 100 team sprinted to the win with a time of 49.82, giving Watertown a third straight title in the event. The Raiders beat second place Weston by .46 seconds.
"Three-peat state champs – Woo!" said senior Lauren Basile said after the race. For Basile and her senior teammates Meaghan Kelly and Talia Flores, it was the third straight title, and the first for junior Christelle Madou.
The time was the best of the year for the foursome, which had only run the race once before due to injuries.
"We haven't been able to practice hand offs," Kelly said.
Flores had an IT (Iliotibial) Band injury, Kelly suffered shin splints, Madou pulled a hamstring and Basile strained her quad.
Despite the injuries, the team had already qualified for the New Balance Outdoor Nationals with their time of 50.10 in a dual meet against Wilimington. The trip to the nationals will be the second straight for Watertown. Last year the three seniors went along with Rachel Thomas, who graduated last year.
The WHS girls finished ninth overall at the meet with 21 points. Along with the relay, Flores finished third place in the 200 meters, with a time of 27.38, and Kelly ran a 16.54 to get fourth place in the 100 hurdles.
The Raiders finished 13th in the boys' competition with 18 points. Alvarez finished fourth in the 400 hurdles with a time of 57.90. The Raiders also claimed points in the field events, with Pat Lally throwing 47 feet 9 inches to finish seventh in the shot put and Peter Wilson-Braun jumped 39 feet 8.5 inches for an eighth place in the triple jump.
The two relay teams will head to the All-State Meet Saturday at Fitchburg State. Flores and Kelly will compete in the 200 and 100 hurdles, respectively, at the meet that pits the best track athletes in Massachusetts from all divisions.