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August 29, 2013

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Story lines to follow in the upcoming high school season

(Continued)

Cross-country dynasty: The Newburyport boys cross-country team will look to three-peat as Eastern Mass. Division 1 champion. Last year’s edition of the Clippers won the state meet going away, besting second-place Coyle Cassidy by 31 points. The Clippers return their top runner in junior Nick Carleo, who could compete for an individual championship in the All-State Meet this fall. The one place Newburyport could improve — although one has to look hard to find a single area — is on its All State Meet performance. Last year’s team set the bar with a third-place finish. Can coach Don Hennigar’s team improve on that feat?

A Triton triumphant repeat: The Triton golf team will look to repeat as Division 3 champion after its best season in program history. The Vikings held off a hard-charging Newburyport team late in the season to win the River Rival Championship. They finished 15-5 before capturing the school’s first state championship since 2011. The Vikings will look to ride the momentum of last season, although Newburyport was on an upward trend in the second half of the season. Which school will take the River Rat trophy this fall?

An ALS Cup head-scratcher: One of the most inexplicable stats over the last decade of local sports is the Pentucket boys soccer team’s domination of Newburyport in the annual ALS Cup. While the teams have been relatively equal in talent over the last seven years — although Pentucket’s record is slightly better — the Sachems are riding a seven-year winning streak in the rivalry game. When you consider the schools alternate host sites for the game most years, it seems crazy that Pentucket could win more than two or three in a row, let alone seven. Let’s see if the streak continues this fall.

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