By Dan Guttenplan
---- — The Newburyport boys cross-country team will not be passing off the Eastern Mass. Division 5 title to another team any time soon.
The Clippers won a D5 team championship for the third year in a row Saturday at the sectional championship meet at the Wrentham Developmental Center. Nick Carleo paced Newburyport with a second-place finish in 15:28.7. The junior missed out on his first individual Division 5 cross-country championship by 1.7 seconds — the margin that separated him from top finisher Michael Wyman of Old Rochester. Both Carleo and Wyman ran at a 4:59 mile pace.
Rounding out Newburyport’s championship squad were Tim Englehart (6th, 16:35), Joe Molvar (8th, 16:36), Tyler Newfell (10th, 16:38) and Max Vye (5th, 17:02).
It was a bit of a bounce-back performance for the Clippers — if such a thing is possible after an undefeated dual meet season. The Clippers placed fourth at the Cape Ann League Championships last weekend.
“It was so rewarding after a really tough day at the CALs,” Newburyport coach Don Hennigar said. “It was all we could have hoped for. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a lot of Eastern Mass. championship teams, and this ranks right up there as one of the most satisfying. Some people had them left for dead after CALs.”
Newburyport will compete against the top four teams from all six divisional meets at the All-State Championships in Gardner on Saturday. Carleo will have a chance to avenge the close defeat to Wyman in the same meet. If he runs like he did Saturday, Carleo will be in the mix for an individual All-State championship.
“This was the third or fourth time Nick’s gone head to head with Wyman from Old Rochester, and he hasn’t quite got his number yet,” Hennigar said. “It’s always extremely exciting, and everybody was waiting around on Saturday to watch that race.”
Mixing the top times from all six divisional meets, Carleo’s time of 15:28.7 ranked fifth. Senior Paul Hogan from Burlington finished in 15:08.6, but no one else was faster than 15:24.1.
“To Nick’s credit, he was way more excited by the fact that the team did well than disappointed he didn’t win,” Hennigar said. “With some of those really talented kids, it’s the opposite.”
Elsewhere in the divisional meets, both the Amesbury boys and girls teams earned invitations to the All-State Championships for the first time in program history. Both teams placed fourth overall at the Division 6 Championships.
Julia Shorter led the Amesbury girls with a fourth-place finish (18:59). Samantha Stone (24th, 20:37), Hailee Gibadlo (42nd, 21:21), Emily Pugh (58th, 21:58) and Molly Rains (71st, 22:21) also contributed to the All-State berth.
James Worthen led the Amesbury boys in 16th place (17:13). Pat McCue (22nd, 17:36), Jim Stone (28th, 17:42), Cole Legg (37th, 17:56) and Riley O’Connor also ran officially.
“We couldn’t be happier for both teams,” Amesbury coach Ernie Bissaillon said. “Running in the Cape Ann League certainly prepares you for postseason meets like these.”
The Triton girls team narrowly missed its goal of qualifying for the All-State Championships with a fifth-place finish Saturday at the Division 5 Championships. Four teams from each division qualify for All-States. Liz Willmonton (9th, 19:19), Maddie Quigley (10th, 19:22) and Ceili Riccio (32nd, 20:33) led Triton. Willmonton and Quigley qualified to run at All-States.
“Our goal was to place top four and move on to the All-State meet next week,” Triton coach Joe Colbert said. “Unfortunately, due to an illness we were missing one of our top five girls. That said, we’re proud to have come so close despite being shorthanded. It was a great end to the best season in years for the Triton girls team.”