, Newburyport, MA


November 15, 2012

Dance to the beat of a different runner

Newburyport cross-country team filled with interesting personalities

They’re a bit ... different. But they make it happen, time and time again.

Whether that difference, a singular sense of humor that straddles the fence between goofy and certifiably insane, is what has kept the Newburyport boys cross-country team so successful over the past few years, no one seems able to say.

But what cannot be denied is that this group of runners has known nothing but success, having just taken its second Eastern Mass. Division 5 Championship in a row Saturday. The Clippers are headed for the Mass. All-State Championships once again this weekend.

“We’ve always tried to keep things enjoyable,” Clippers coach Don Hennigar says of both his boys and girls cross country teams. “Because it’s a hard sport. There’s nothing easy about it. To have a balance of being able to enjoy the time when you’re not running and working hard when you are running, it’s worked out well through the years.”

Very well, as the boys are coming off their second consecutive undefeated regular season and are heading to their seventh states in as many years.

“It’s like a job,” says Hennigar. “If you hate your job, you’re not going to do a very good job. If you like coming to practice, then you’re going to do a better job at it.”

Hennigar says that the team’s sense of humor has always grown from the leadership, and no leader has seemed to have left such an indelible mark on the team’s psyche than last year’s captain, Keith Conway.

“Keith was my mentor,” junior Chris Orlando says of Conway. “When I was a sophomore, we’d go on runs all the time. And he gave me the weirdness that he had (so) I would carry it on. He is the sun, and I am the planet that revolves around him.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
How Will Wiggins Deal Impact Potential Love Trade? Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Dareus fails conditioning test, Watkins lifts spirits Clay Travis On Mettenberger Punch & "Dumbest Fanbase" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Bowlsby talks cheating in NCAA Kluwe: How can Tony Dungy advocate felons, not Michael Sam SNC Minute: Phils lose; Lee set to return Eagles less than a week away from training camp Could Cliff Lee's health affect trade value? McCarthy and Stairs break down the Phillies' loss 105-year-old woman throws first pitch McIlroy wins British Open, Tiger finishes 69th Astros, Aiken fail to reach deal Could Rousey beat Mayweather? Can the Panthers replace Steve Smith? Will Bengals sign Dalton to long-term deal? Offseason Report: Biggest Question Marks in the AFC West Ole Miss facing increased expectations Derek Jeter Respect Ad Delivers Larry’s Notebook: Is Jimmie Johnson Behind the Curve?
Special Features