By Dan Guttenplan Sports Editor
Newburyport Daily News
---- — WEST NEWBURY — Maura Hickey Moore and Kerry Coffin Carifio decided against staging a 30-year reunion alumni race yesterday at Pipestave Hill yesterday when they met at the starting line to cheer on their respective children at a Triton-Pentucket cross-country race.
The two women took part in the Pentucket-Triton rivalry as high-schoolers most recently in the fall of 1982, Maura Hickey running for Triton and Kerry Coffin for Pentucket. Now both women are married with new last names, and their children continue the rivalry between schools and families.
Carifio’s son, Cooper, is a junior captain of the Pentucket boys team, and Maura’s daughter, Maureen, is a senior captain of the Triton girls team.
The two mothers reunited for the first time in 28 years in 2010 when Cooper was a freshman on the Pentucket boys team. Maura Moore recognized Kerry Carifio and approached the former rival.
“I went up to her and said, ‘I’m not crazy, but did I run against you?’” Maura Moore said. “We started talking that day.”
Carifio remembered racing Moore all four years of high school, and both women were captains of their respective schools as seniors.
“She’s always had that bright red hair,” Kerry Carifio said. “She walked over, and we gave each other a big hug. That’s what’s great about cross-country.”
Maura Moore was the youngest of four siblings to run at Triton. She introduced her daughter, Maureen, to cross-country through the summer series for runners of all ages at Maudslay State Park.
“We were one of the first ones that did those Maudslay races with (Newburyport coach) Don Hennigar,” Maura Moore said. “Maureen has been running those since Day 1. We’ve been doing them as a family, and we used to try to better our scores and go out for ice cream.”
Kerry Carifio and Maura Moore both say they “went back and forth” when competing in high school, with each winning her fair share of races. Moore was not happy to be caught in Pentucket green yesterday, jokingly wondering out loud why she wore Pentucket colors for the photo with the Carifios.
Kerry Carifio flipped through old newspaper clippings last evening to confirm that her rivalry with Moore did, in fact, go “back and forth.”
“She’s beating me in all of the clippings I can find,” Carifio said. “At least we can relax at the meets now because our kids don’t run against each other.”
Cooper Carifio finished in a six-way tie for first place in Pentucket’s 15-50 victory over Triton yesterday. Maureen Moore placed seventh overall in Triton’s 26-31 loss to Pentucket.