BOSTON — The bigger the meet, the better the Newburyport boys indoor track team performs.
The Clippers captured a Mass. Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 4 state championship for the second winter in a row Saturday at the Reggie Lewis Center. In the team's biggest meet of the year to date, the Clippers dominated with season-best performances from several athletes, two of whom won individual state championships.
Taking a broad look at the performance of the Newburyport boys track team's performance over the last two years, it becomes evident that Saturday's performance is the continuation of a dynasty.
The only other Newburyport sports team to win back-to-back state championships since the turn of the century is the girls soccer team in 2007 and 2008.
This year's Clippers (8-1) also won a Cape Ann League Championship Meet title for the second year in a row after capturing a CAL Division 2 dual-meet championship.
The Clippers logged a dual-meet record of 18-1 over the last two seasons, with the one loss coming against CAL Division 1 foe North Andover Jan. 25. That loss snapped Newburyport's 26-meet winning streak, which dated back to December 2009.
Saturday's state championship was similar to Newburyport's top finish in the CAL Championship Meet in that the Clippers secured a large lead in the opening events and never left the outcome in doubt.
Newburyport tallied 67 points, dwarfing the scores of the next four teams — Weston (39 1/2), Whitinsville Christian (32), Douglas (31) and Old Rochester (29).
"We exceeded our dreams regarding the performance," said Newburyport coach Tim Foley, who was the CAL Division 2 coach of the year. "Everyone on our team performed as well or better than expected. We can't say enough about the distance group, as they were unbelievable."
Senior captain Keith Conway opened the meet for the Clippers with an individual title in the 2-mile (9:43.78), besting his top time by nine seconds. Freshman Nick Carleo also collected an individual state title in the mile (4:26.92), breaking the previous school record set by Greg Englehart (2011).
Newburyport didn't just win the mile and 2-mile, it also added additional points in both events with depth. Senior Andrew Orlando also snuck under Englehart's previous record time with a third-place finish in the mile (4:29.00). Senior Chris Suprin placed fourth in the 2-mile (9:55.21).
Senior John O'Neil nearly defended his state title in the high hurdles, placing second. His time of 7.93 seconds was 0.02 seconds slower than Sutton champion Mark Hill (7.91 seconds).
Newburyport's 4x800 relay team of Conway, Orlando, Carleo and James Nutter also placed second (8:32.12). Newburyport's 4x400 relay team of O'Neil, Jared Healey, Dan Holbrook and Ryan Dionne finished third (3:37.30).
"This team decided early on that they would compete as hard as last year's state champions did," Foley said. "They exceeded expectations. All of the coaches and parents in the CAL are so proud of their accomplishments."
Carleo, Conway, Orlando and O'Neil qualified for the Mass. All-State Meet in their individual events. The 4x400 relay and 4x800 relay teams also qualified.
Steve Preston also contributed to the Newburyport point total with a fourth-place finish in the shot put (48-5 3/4). Ryan Dionne placed sixth in two events — the 55-meter dash (6.83) and long jump (19-5 1/2). Jared Healey (300, 37.4) placed seventh. Sawyer Updike (1,000, 2:44.21) finished eighth.