NEWBURYPORT — The distance crew is typically the first thing that comes to mind when reflecting on the Newburyport track team’s dominance over the last few seasons.
Names like Carleo, Santo, Suprin, Conway and Orlando have keyed the indoor team’s back-to-back Division 4 state championships, as well as the team’s back-to-back second-place finishes in the same meet during the outdoor season.
One senior that has flown under the radar as he is risen to the top of Division 4 in his event is Steve Preston. The senior thrower placed second at the Division 4 Championships in the winter on the heels of a season in which he broke Keith Walton’s school record in the shot put. Preston’s top throw of 53-7 eclipsed Walton’s mark, set in 1964, by seven inches.
Heading into the Newburyport outdoor season, which starts tomorrow with a meet at North Reading, Preston is looking to break Richie Pace’s school record in the shot put of 53-3, set in 2007, and earn his first Division 4 state championship in either the shot put or discus.
“One thing that’s helped is he’s gotten stronger,” said Newburyport coach Tim Foley. “He’s done much more in the weight room. His weight has fluctuated up and down, but he’s finally at 200 pounds. That’s still small for a shot-putter, but he’s quick and he has great hip action.”
Preston is the rare shot put specialist who can also record points for his team in the sprint events. During the indoor season, he placed fourth in the 55-meter dash at the Cape Ann League Championships. Foley compares Preston to his rival, Perry Mroz, an Amesbury senior.
“They do the same thing,” Foley said. “They’re both good around the circle, and they throw and run well. That combination enhances everything.”