NEWBURYPORT — Over the years, Newburyport High School has cultivated a well-earned reputation as one of the premiere track programs in the region. Now, two local athletes will head to New York to represent the city at the New Balance National Championship meet.
Nick Carleo and Tom Graham, both juniors, have qualified for Nationals and will be competing in the one-mile race and the 800-meter run respectively. Carleo qualified after winning the mile at All-States with a time of 4:15.26, while Graham qualified by running the 800-meter in 1:59.50 earlier in the season.
The meet will be held at The Armory in Manhattan from March 14-16, and Newburyport distance coach Don Hennigar said he expects the meet will be a great experience for both runners.
“To even qualify for Nationals is really a tremendous accomplishment,” Hennigar said. “It’s a great experience to travel, to learn how to race. It’s going to help them out down the road and it’ll be interesting to see how they do down there.”
This will actually be Carleo’s second trip to Nationals. He previously competed as a freshman two years ago but didn’t run a great race and wound up placing 16th in the mile.
“For him it was a big learning experience. It was the bright lights for the first time, and that’s the process, you have to do that,” Hennigar said. “He didn’t have his best race, but I didn’t expect him to because it was all so big. This meet is huge, the best kids in the country are there. But now that he’s done this a couple of times and he had a big indoor meet where he ran at the Reggie Lewis in a national class field, he’s learned to handle it a lot better.”