BOSTON — The Newburyport boys indoor track team is making it look easy, but its recent run of dominance in the Cape Ann League has come with its share of dramatic finishes.
The Clippers clinched their third Cape Ann League Open championship in the last four seasons last night in the final event at the Reggie Lewis Center, holding off second-place Masconomet by four points. It was really a two-team chase for the title all night, with Newburyport (102 points) and Masconomet (98) creating plenty of distance between themselves and the field. Third-place North Reading scored 54 points, followed by Amesbury (36), Ipswich (29), Hamilton-Wenham (25), Manchester Essex (14), Lynnfield (9) and Triton (4).
Newburyport caps a season of dominance in CAL action. The Clippers went 8-0 in dual meets, matching last year’s perfect season and CAL Open title.
“We felt confident we had a good chance of winning,” Newburyport captain Sawyer Updike said. “We knew it would take a lot of hard work, but we did it.”
Newburyport entered the final two events — the 4x800 relay and 4x400 relay — with a four-point lead over Masconomet. The Clippers gave themselves some breathing room when Joe Santo, James Nutter, Carlo and Updike outkicked Masconomet with a meet-record time of 8:41.66. In the final event, Newburyport needed only a third-place finish if Masconomet won the event to clinch the title. The Clippers finished second behind Masconomet.
“I didn’t have to say anything to the kids because they always know the score,” Newburyport coach Tim Foley said. “They’re astute kids. They have it all figured out. Those last two relays came up huge. What a season.”
The Clippers were strong on the track, with first-place finishes in five of the seven individual events. Jared Healey (55-meter dash, 6.92), Nutter (600, 1:27.10), Updike (1,000, 2:38.39), Carleo (mile, 4:29.87) and Santo (9:54.13) collected league titles. Newburyport’s Steve Preston added a league title in the shot put with a meet and school record of 57-7 3/4.