NEWBURYPORT — Newburyport sophomore Nick Carleo crossed the finish line first during a dual meet at Maudslay State Park yesterday, only to be met with confused glances from the spectators in attendance.
There wasn’t another runner in sight. Carleo had blown away the competition in a meet between the top two teams in the Cape Ann League.
Thirty-seven seconds passed before the next finisher, Newburyport’s Joe Santo, came across the line after Carleo. In the time between when the two top runners finished, the captain of last year’s state-champion Newburyport team Chris Suprin, who is now running at UMass Lowell, jogged over to the finish line to deliver the news to Carleo that he had run the fastest time of any high-schooler at Maudslay State Park in 19 years.
Carleo’s time of 15:21 for the 3.0-mile course is the third-fastest time ever recorded by a high school runner at Maudslay, behind only Hamilton-Wenham’s Darrin Shearer in 1990 and Newburyport’s Travis Landreth in 15:16.
The Newburyport sophomore’s previous best was 16:54, a time he ran at the end of his freshman season last fall. He dropped one minute and 33 seconds off that time yesterday.
“I wanted to run a fast time here for the first time in a long time,” Carleo said. “I almost wanted to stay back and help out other people on the team. But it didn’t work out like that.”
Carleo’s breakout performance overshadowed Newburyport’s 25-30 victory over Masconomet, the team widely considered to pose the biggest threat to the Clippers (7-0) in their pursuit of a fourth consecutive CAL title. Both teams entered the meet undefeated, although Newburyport could face another undefeated team Monday in Pentucket (5-0). The Sachems will face off with Masconomet (5-1) first tomorrow afternoon.
“I’m not saying we’ve won it by any stretch,” said Newburyport coach Don Hennigar. “Pentucket hasn’t lost a meet all year, either. But it’s been a good day — a good two days since the girls beat Masco (Tuesday), too.”