NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

November 16, 2012

Running Out of the Shadows

Port girls looking to make own mark at All-States

For the past couple of years, the Newburyport boys cross-country team has become known as the powerhouse in the area, racking up two undefeated regular seasons and two Eastern Mass. Division 5 championships along the way.

Now, the Clipper girls are giving them a run for their money.

“Programs, I think, are measured on their consistency,” says Newburyport boys and girls cross-country coach Don Hennigar. “Not that you’re going to get there every single year. But the teams that seem to do very well, consistently, seem to show up at All-States every year. And I think that’s the reason why, because they have that consistency in their program. It builds the tradition.”

For the past 18 years, the Clippers have had a tremendous tradition with either a Clipper boys or girls team advancing to the All-State Meet. Both teams will compete at the All-State Meet tomorrow at Northfield Recreation Center.

The girls dominated the region in the 1990s, winning three state championships and losing just one meet along the way. They last peaked back in 2005, then went through a lull and started to rebuild during the past three years. But, being that this is Newburyport cross-country, they’ve had to do it in the shadow of their male counterparts.

“They’re just this big personality,” junior Rose Hart says of the boys. “And everyone knows them as being winners and just kind of being weird and whatever. But we’re making a name for ourselves, I think. Everyone on (our) team is very smart and very funny and just the nicest girls you could ever meet.”

Last year, those nice girls placed fifth in Division 5. But this year, they finished third. Their top seven runners, senior captain Liz Fiascone; juniors Hart, Kelly Conway and Erin Carroll; and sophomores Lily Eagan, Kristen Mackie and Rachael Haley are headed to the state finals as well.

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