It’s the meet that most teams, especially Newburyport, look forward to the most throughout the year.
At a regular dual meet, or even when you get to the State Meets, the math gets a little more simple. If you have two or three superstars, you can have them compete — and theoretically win — multiple events, and those points are weighted quite heavily.
But that’s not an option at the State Relays.
You need a complete roster if you even want to think about competing, and for the past two years nobody in Division 4 has showcased its depth as well as the Newburyport boys. Friday evening, the Clippers won their second straight Division 4 State Relay title, finishing with 42 points to just edge out CAL foe North Reading (34) in second. Old Rochester was third out of 24 scoring teams with 30 points, Bishop Stang was fourth (20) and Pentucket was 10th (11).
But to pull off the back-to-back is something these Clippers will cherish for quite some time.
“To me, I look at it as out biggest meet of the year,” said Newburyport coach Brian Moore. “And it was funny because a lot of things didn’t go well in the meet. We were the favorite to win the shuttle hurdles and we got DQ’d, and we also got zero points in the high jump because of a DQ. So we were in a pretty big hole.
“But it was just a combination of everyone who brought us back. It came down to balance. We weren’t dominant anywhere except for the 4x50, but we were top-3 in most events.”
It’s been a satisfying last two years for everyone involved with the program.
Flash back a few years, and the indoor season was basically wiped out due to the pandemic. The following winter, it was a hybrid-mix of an “indoor season” that actually took place outdoors with no statewide competitions or tournaments. For this group of Newburyport seniors, it was basically their entire freshman and sophomore seasons being either non-existent, or a glorified exhibition.
So for that core group to stick with the sport and now win back-to-back State Relay titles — again, the ultimate showcase of team depth — speaks volumes.
“This senior class were the ones hit hardest by COVID,” said Moore. “They really rallied last year in really their first full indoor season. So for them to come back this year and win the relays again, I’m just really happy for them.”
The stars of the day for Newburyport was that 4x50.
The team of Ryan Miles, Bryan Mendez-Heavilin, Will Acquaviva and Ean Hynes crossed in 22.01, which was good enough to not only win, but set a new meet record in the event.
Acquaviva is still dealing with a lingering hamstring injury that limited his availability for the soccer team this fall, but gutted out three events on Friday. He teamed with Miles, Logan Jones and James Forrest-Hay to take seventh in the 4x200 (1:36.17), then ran with Miles, Forrest-Hay and Jalen Wise on the second-place 4x400 team (3:37.15). Hynes, Mendez-Heavilin and Wise also teamed to take third in the long jump relay (17.51m).
But the Clippers also shined in the distance events.
And it was the same team of Ethan Downs, Alex Lisauskas, Aimon Fadil and Bradford Duchesne. The group started with a third in the 4x800 (8:24.44), then went out and won the distance medley with a great time of 11:15.12.
Elsewhere locally, the Pentucket sprint medley team of Yanni Kakouris, Matt Beaulieu, Braeden Roche and Jackson Beauparlant won with a nationally-qualifying time of 3:44.46.
Girls: Pentucket takes 3rd, Newburyport 4th
On the girls side, it was a great day for our local teams.
Out of 21 scoring teams at Friday’s Division 4 State Relay, Pentucket finished third with 35 points while rival Newburyport was right behind in fourth with 33 points.
Interestingly, CAL foe North Reading won the meet with 57 points, while Holliston followed in second (38).
The Panthers had an event win on the day thanks to their high jumpers. The team of Delaney Meagher, Reese Gallant and Wynter Smith combined to jump 14-9, which was good enough for first. Elswhere, the shuttle hurdle relay team of Brighton Seymour, Riley Bucco, Meaghan Grenham and Smith placed second in 31.84 and qualified for Nationals, while the shuttle dash relay of Sydney Trout, Lia Goodwin, Gallant and Sage Smith broke the school record and finished third (25.07).
For Newburyport, it’s excellent 4x400 relay shined again.
After qualifying for Nationals last year, the same team of Annabel Murray, Annie Shay, Morgan Felts and Devin Stroope qualified again after winning the event in 4:12.66. The Clippers also got a third in the 4x800 thanks to Violet Moore, Olivia Gustafson, Ciara Geraghty and Hailey LaRosa crossing in 10:24.17.
Division 4 State Relays (Boys)
Meet Results (24 teams scored): 1. Newburyport 42; 2. North Reading 34; 3. Old Rochester 30; 4. Bishop Stang 20 ... ALSO: 10. Pentucket 11
LJ Relay: 3. Ean Hynes, Bryan Mendez-Heavilin, Jalen Wise (N) 17.51m; Sprint Medley: 1. Yanni Kakouris, Matt Beaulieu, Braeden Roche, Jackson Beauparlant (P) 3:44.46, 7. Logan Jones, Duncan Coir, Wise, Sean Gassboro (N) 4:00.88; 4x50: 1. Ryan Miles, Mendez-Heavilin, Will Acquaviva, Hynes (N) 22.01; 4x200: 7. R. Miles, Jones, James Forrest-Hay, Acquaviva (N) 1:36.17; 4x400: 2. Wise, R. Miles, Forrest-Hay, Acquaviva (N) 3:37.15, 6. (Pentucket) 3:42.29; 4x800: 3. Ethan Downs, Alex Lisauskas, Aimon Fadil, Bradford Duchesne (N) 8:24.44; Distance Medley: 1. Downs, Lisauskas, Fadil, Duchesne (N) 11:15.02
Division 4 State Relays (Girls)
Meet Results (21 teams scored): 1. North Reading 57; 2. Holliston 38; 3. Pentucket 35; 4. Newburyport 33
4x50: 3. Sydney Trout, Lia Goodwin, Reese Gallant, Sage Smith (P) 25.07; 4x200: 2. Trout, Goodwin, Gallant, Smith (P) 1:47.63; 5. Lucy Buchmayr, Morgan Felts, Annie Shay, Devin Stroope (N) 1:50.41; 4x400: 1. Annabel Murray, Shay, Felts, Stroope (N) 4:12.66; 4x800: 3. Violet Moore, Olivia Gustafson, Ciara Geraghty, Hailey LaRosa (N) 10:24.17; Sprint Medley: 4. Chloe Raby, Felts, Stroope, Blake Parker (N) 4:27.69; 6. Murray, Skyler Ikemoto, Reese Bromby, Shay (N) 4:26.41; Distance Medley: 4. Violet Moore, Parker, Bromby, LaRosa (N) 13:36.06; 6. Libby Murphy, Lia Alsup, Sophia Clemente, Kaylie Dalgar (P) 13:54.31; Shuttle Hurdles: 2. Brighton Seymour, Riley Bucco, Meaghan Grenham, Wynter Smith (P) 31.84; 3. Lilly Pons, Julia Schena, Buchmayr, Hannah Steinberg (N) 32.22; Shot Put Relay: 6. Bucco, Goodwin, Allie Bleichfeld (P) 80-5.25; Long Jump Relay: 5. S. Smith, Emily Bethmann, Morgan Trout (P) 45-1.25; High Jump Relay: 1. Delaney Meagher, Gallant, W. Smith (P) 14-9