To win their first state championship in four years, the Hornets just needed to finish third in the 4×400 relay.

And in the last of the day’s 40 events in Saturday’s Division I state meet at Burlington H.S., that’s precisely what juniors Jamaal Hankey and Spencer Towle and freshmen Wyatt Lamell and James Boldosser went out and did.

While Mt. Mansfield finished first and South Burlington was second, the Essex quartet cruised home more than 3 seconds in front of BFA-St. Albans for the six points they needed, and for the first time since 2014 Essex had a state track and field title.

Essex finished with 126 points to Mt. Mansfield’s 125. St. Johnsbury was third at 111.

Towle (200), Jacob Rigoli  (shot put), and Henry Farrington won titles for the Essex boys, while Lizzie Martell (400) and Maria Campo (shot) did so for the third-place girls.

Ryan Guerino led the Hornets with 20 individual points, with seconds in the 400 and long jump and fourth in the 200. Rigoli and Hankey chipped in 16 points each, Farrington and Towle 14, Breyer Suinor nine, M ichael Baker eight, Jackson Baker five, Peter Aiden three, and Boldosser one.

The Milton girls won two of the three relays and finished third at 89, one point behind Burlington. St. J won its fourth straight crown with 134 points.

Photos by Josh Kaufmann, CVNG.