It all came down to the final event.
The Newburyport girls track & field team had trailed Holliston for most of the day, but always stayed within striking distance in hopes of claiming its first ever Division 4 State Relay title. All the Clippers wanted was a chance heading into the 15th and final event of the day — the 4×400 — and that’s exactly what they got when they lined up at the starting block trailing by just one point.
And up to the plate stepped Annabel Murray, Annie Shay, Devin Stroope and Morgan Felts.
Holliston certainly didn’t make it easy, as its 4×400 team raced to second in 4:12.89. But needing to win, Newburyport’s electric team not only got it done, but did so in a school-record time of 4:05.31 to send the Clippers to a dramatic, come-from-behind title victory. The final scoreboard listed Newburyport at 60.31 points, while Holliston was, of course, right behind in second at 59.31 points.
It was an epic performance in the most critical of circumstances from four Daily News All-Stars.
But hey, that’s why they’re All-Stars.
And, of course, when you win by that tight of a margain in track, you need every point you get. The 4×400 team ended up being the stars of the day, but the Clippers also got event wins from their javelin team and their discus team. Seeing as the State Relays are a true test of a program’s depth and talent, the Clippers are more than thrilled to showcase their skill and earn their first title.
With the javelin team, it was Stroope again pairing with basketball stars Deirdre McElhinney and Emma Foley to win with a combined toss of 110.10 meters, which broke the meet record. Stroope, a sophomore, had the best throw of any athlete at the meet (33.78, pr), while McElhinney (26.11) nearly hit her personal-best as well.
Then Foley teammed up with Kayley Simons and Grace Daigle to win the discus. Both sophomores, Simons (28.30) was the team’s top thrower on the day, while Daigle (22.16) broke her personal best.
The Clippers also got a second from the 4×1600 team of Murray, Blake Parker, Hailey LaRosa and Abby Kelly in a school-record time (22:20.16), and Stroope and Felts were back at it again with Lucy Buchmayr and Chloe Raby to finish third in the 4×200 (1:50.33).
Newburyport boys 6th
On the boys side, Newburyport finished sixth out of 15 scoring teams with 32 points. Burlington cleared itself out ahead of the pack (96 points), with Tewksbury (63) in a distant second.
For the Clippers, the javelin team of Dan Kolman, Brody Brown and Ryan Miles were the team’s top finishers of the day in second (113.1 meters). Kolman, a senior, had the fourth-best throw of any athlete at the meet (39.59), and fellow seniors Miles (38.00) and Brown (35.51) set personal bests as well.
Elsewhere, the 4×100 team of Iyobosa Osazuwa, Miles, Ean Hynes and Will Acquaviva took third (45.08), and the 4×1600 team of Ethan Downs, Mike Mohoric, Matt Murray and Bradford Duchesne also finished third (19:05.70).
Division 4 State Relays (Boys)
Meet results (15 teams scored): 1. Burlington 96; 2. Tewksbury 63; 3. Gloucester 47; … ALSO: 6. Newburyport 32
4×100: 3. Iyobosa Osazuwa, Ryan Miles, Ean Hynes, Will Acquaviva (45.08); 4×1600: 3. Ethan Downs, Mike Mohoric, Matt Murray, Bradford Duchesne (19:05.70); SMR: 5. Newburyport (3:54.97); DMR: 5. Newburyport (11:34.95); Javelin: 2. Dan Kolman, Brody Brown, Ryan Miles (113.1m)
Division 4 State Relays (Girls)
Meet results (18 teams scored): 1. Newburyport 60.31; 2. Holliston 59.31; 3. Burlington 46; 4. Gloucester 38.31
4×400: 1. Annie Shay, Annabel Murray, Devin Stroope, Morgan Felts (4:05.31); Javelin: 1. Deirdre McElhinney, Emma Foley, Stroope (110.10m); Discus: 1. Kayley Simons, Grace Daigle, Foley; 4×1600: 2. Murray, Blake Parker, Hailey LaRosa, Abby Kelly (22:20.16); 4×200: 3. Felts, Stroope, Lucy Buchmayr, Chloe Raby (1:50.33)
It all came down to the final event.