The best high school track stars from all over the country — including Newburyport High School seniors Joe Santo and Steve Preston — will be descending on the Armory track in New York City this weekend for the New Balance Indoor National Championship meet.
“It’s awesome,” Santo says of his weekend getaway. “I’ve been working very hard for the past four years to be able to race in a national competition like this, so to be able to go down there and race against that type of competition is going to be a lot of fun.”
A distance runner, Santo will be running in the Emerging Elite two-mile race tomorrow and Preston will be throwing in the open shot-put competition Saturday.
“I’m pretty excited,” says Preston. “I don’t feel as if I’m going to do as well as the other athletes because the top guy threw somewhere around 69 feet. That’s well over what I’ve done.”
Preston shouldn’t sell himself short. His best throw set an NHS record at 53.7 feet, which was a CAL meet record as well.
“I’d been working at it a long time, just trying to get at it, get at it,” Preston says of his record-breaking throw. “I saw the throw, I saw it hit the ground and I just knew at that moment that I had had that throw I had been wanting all season.”
Preston says he is grateful for the opportunity to be among the best and is looking forward to the ride down to the Big Apple.
“It should be a fun time just traveling,” says Preston. “I expect, really, an experience out of it and nothing too big.”
A four-year distance runner and captain of the undefeated state champion cross-country team this year, Santo is expecting a little bit more out of the event. Last year Newburyport fielded four runners to the nationals, then-seniors, Keith Conway, Chris Suprin and Andrew Orlando, along with current sophomore, Nick Carleo. Santo sees his and Preston’s arrival on that stage as a natural thing.