IPSWICH — Newburyport boys indoor track coach Tim Foley may be the only person “surprised” to see his team back at the top of the Cape Ann League standings.
The Clippers ran their winning streak to 18 meets yesterday with a 62-24 victory over Pentucket at Ipswich High. The three-time defending state-champion Clippers have not lost a dual meet since 2012, and have not relinquished their status as Division 4 state champion since 2011.
Still, at the beginning of this season, Foley was not convinced his team would match last year’s undefeated season. With one meet remaining against Amesbury Jan. 28, the Clippers (9-0) have a chance to surpass last year’s win total by two.
“We’re very pleasantly surprised,” Foley said. “We knew we had some kids coming back, but we graduated some terrific kids. We had some big additions, and some other kids developed. Comparing teams is like apples and oranges.”
This year’s team has been sparked by sophomore Alec Reduker, who won the high hurdles (5.8) and high jump (6-0) yesterday only a few days after he was named Field Athlete of the Meet at the Red Auerbach Freshman/Sophomore Invitational at the Reggie Lewis Center.
Captain Jared Healey has also been a staple in the sprint events, and he continued his winning ways yesterday with a top finish in the 40-yard dash (4.7). Newburyport’s distance crew, which includes many of the runners who lifted the school to a Division 5 championship during the cross-country, has been dominant in the indoor season in events stretching from the 1,000 to the 2-mile. Yesterday, Nick Carleo (1,000, 3:02) and Chris Orlando (2-mile) picked up individual wins.
Perhaps the most unexpected boost has come from first-year indoor track athletes Tom Graham and Andrew Beaupre. Graham, a Cape Ann League All-Star soccer player, and Beaupre, a CAL All-Star football player, have collected consistent first-place finishes in their respective events. Graham, who has already set school indoor records in the 600 and 800, placed first in the 300 yesterday in 40.1. Beaupre won the shot put in 40-1 1/2.
Gabe Ficht also collected a top finish for Newburyport yesterday in the 600 (1:37).
“We’ve had a lot of brothers pass on the tradition over the years, and the coaches have been the same,” Foley said. “(Don Hennigar) and I have been together so the coaching has been consistent. One of the big things is having a place to practice.”
Newburyport’s run of state titles has, in fact, overlapped with its move to the Newburyport High gym for practices at the start of the 2010-11 season. In the 15 years prior, the Clippers practiced at various locations including the Newburyport Rotary, the Salvation Army, Hope Church and a warehouse in the industrial park.
“Having a place to practice makes it easier for everyone involved,” Foley said. “At first, we didn’t have a facility. Then when we had the new gym, the time commitments didn’t work out. We made do, but this is much nicer.”