Nick Carleo says he placed seventh at last year’s All-State Cross-Country Championships, so it seems only natural to ask the Newburyport junior how many of the runners who beat him are still in high school.
“Do you want me to list them?” Carleo asks.
Yes, Carleo has an All-State championship on his mind a year after he saw how close he could get to the top as a sophomore. Carleo was the top sophomore at last year’s Division 2 All-State Championships, and only three of the six runners who placed ahead of him will return.
The time difference between Carleo and the top returning runner, Paul Hogan of Burlington, was just under 25 seconds at last year’s All-State meet. With that in mind, Carleo put in his first consistent summer of training, logging 50 to 60 miles per week in hopes of setting himself up for a run of championships in November.
“I had my first real solid summer of training,” Carleo said. “Before my freshman year, I didn’t really run at all. Before my sophomore year, I ran, but it wasn’t consistent training. This year, our whole team put in a good summer.”
Carleo did some of his training on a family vacation in Oregon. Late in the summer, he attended a New Balance running camp in Western Mass. In Tuesday’s opening meet against Hamilton-Wenham, Carleo cruised to a 15:45 at Maudslay State Park, just 24 seconds off his best time and 29 seconds off Travis Landreth’s school record. That run came after a conversation with Newburyport coach Don Hennigar in which Carleo agreed not to overexert himself.
“I was talking to my coach about it, and he didn’t want me to pour my soul into it,” Carleo said. “I’ll go for the record against North Reading or Saugus later this year, but only if I’m feeling good that day. I have another year.”