Carleo’s first-place finish was the one expected outcome of the meet, particularly after he placed first at the Mass. State Coaches Frank Kelley Invitational earlier this month. The unknown heading into the meet was which runners would follow Carleo through the line, and in what order.
Santo “ran a fabulous race,” according to Hennigar, finishing second in 15:58. Masconomet’s top runner, Harry Kent, placed third in 16:10. Newburyport’s third runner, Chris Orlando, finished fourth in 16:18, giving the Clippers a nearly impossible lead to overcome.
Masconomet’s Jake Morman (16:38), Jay Polakiewicz (16:39) and Marco Caserta (16:40) followed in a group, finishing fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. However, when Newburyport took two of the next three places with Sawyer Updike (8th, 16:44) and Joe Molvar (10th, 16:56), the meet was effectively decided in the Clippers’ favor.
“Their top two or three runners are really, really good,” Santo said. “Going 1-2 was a big achievement for us. Nick took off because that’s what he does. The top two Masco runners and myself were shoulder and shoulder for the first mile. I made a break for it then, and luckily, they dropped because I didn’t have the energy at the end to kick with them.”
Carleo, who qualified for Nationals during the indoor and outdoor track seasons as a freshman, has to be considered a contender for an individual state championship after his performances over the last 10 days. He had the fastest time among all Eastern Mass. runners at the Frank Kelley Invitational, a meet that typically draws most of the top teams in the state. Then, yesterday, he distanced himself from what will likely be at least five of the top 10 runners in the CAL.
“My plan is usually to go out hard,” Carleo said. “I expected the Masco kids to go out hard, but they didn’t, so I went out by myself. I think if I had people up there with me, I could have run faster.”
Carleo may be waiting a long time for someone else to set a pace for him at Maudslay.