NORTHFIELD — For the most part, life doesn’t always go according to plan. There are bumps and snags, flat tires and sore throats — setbacks that seem to enjoy throwing a collective wrench in the works at the most inopportune moment. Setting goals is one thing, but meeting them unscathed, that can be another — unless, of course, you happen to be a cross-country runner for the Newburyport Clippers.
Competing at Saturday’s MIAA All State Cross Country Meet in Northfield, the Clipper boys and girls continued their stellar seasons by continuing to exceed expectations by meeting their own. The boys team placed third at the Division 2 competition with a total time of 1:27:16.66, an average time of 17:27.34, and sum of 163 points — a single point more than fourth place Sandwich (1:28:00), and an impressive achievement seeing as how it was exactly what the team set out to do. As was predicted, Pembroke (1:23:38) and Bishop Feehan (1:25:00) finished first and second, respectively.
“It was just a great surprise — a huge thrill,” said senior co-captain Joe Santo. “When you think it over, I think luck was on our side. We all stayed healthy, and we were healthy when we needed to be, but it also does say a lot about how hard this team worked. We did what we needed to do to make it this far. We trained, and we went after it, and it came out close to perfect.”
To a degree, even coach Don Hennigar is a bit taken aback by how neatly things seem to come to fruition for the Clipper boys.
“It’s been a special season for them,” Hennigar said. “In reality, they met every single goal that they set for themselves at the start of the season — to go undefeated, win the Cape Ann league meet, the Division 5 meet, and finish in the top three at All-States. You couldn’t expect or ask for anymore, and I think they’d say the same thing.”