One year after suffering only one loss in their regular season, the Newburyport boys indoor track team is one meet away from going that extra mile for an undefeated season if it sprints past Amesbury in Ipswich on Tuesday.
But despite suffering that lonely loss, last year’s team went on to take the Cape Ann League Division 2 championship. This year’s team is looking to repeat, despite losing a quintet of strong performers in Keith Conway, Chris Suprin, Andrew Orlando, Ryan Dionne and John O’Neil.
“It takes a team to make a championship,” said coach Tim Foley. “In the past couple of years, we’ve had some outstanding runners in O’Neil and Dionne, and they helped carry us. But this year, we really had a hole in the sprints. We had to move Jared Healey from the 300 to the 50. The distance team has been outstanding. We’ve had some new young kids come out who have filled a hole in the hurdles. Danny Holbrook and his crew in the 300 have been solid for us, year-round. We’ve got a solid core of people.”
Part of that core includes senior captain Sawyer Updike (distance) along with fellow seniors Holbrook (300 meter, relay) and Steve Preston (shot put), and juniors Sam Stansel (600, relay) and Healey (50, relay, high jump).
“It was a lot to pick up,” Healey said of those departed seniors. “Because they were constantly coming in first place for us, picking up wins for us. So we had to make up for that in other events and try to pick up where they left off.”
Foley says that Healey has picked up the slack very well.
“We’re undefeated in the mile relay with our regular team, and Jared has run down three guys in the last 50 yards to win those,” said Foley. “And they turned into the turning point of the meet. He’s got a fantastic heart. He can really run.”