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    Norwell cruises to championship

    Dempsey’s effort helps Clippers rule the day

    John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
    Emily Cahill from Uxbridge clears the bar at 5 feet 4 inches at the Reggie Lewis Center. Cahill won with a leap of 5-6.

    Nikki Dempsey spends most of her winters with the Dance Carousel Ensemble team in Scituate, which is why she usually runs track only in the spring.

    But when Norwell coach Chuck Martin realized this year’s indoor track and field team had a chance to do something special, he convinced the senior to join the squad.

    Dempsey didn’t let Martin down, winning both of her individual events at yesterday’s Division 4 Track and Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center, setting a personal best with a long jump of 17 feet 5 inches and a 7.4 55-meter dash, propelling the Clippers to a 52-point finish and the championship trophy.


    “I literally dance every day in the winter,’’ said Dempsey. “But [Martin] just kept telling me this is our shot to do really well. So I wasn’t going to say no.’’

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    Allie DeBendictis, Dempsey’s best friend whom Martin recruited from the basketball team, added two more points to Norwell’s score in the 55-meter hurdles and ran the final leg of the Clippers’ third-place 4 x 200 relay team.

    “Coach told us, ‘If you come to two practices and one meet you’ll be fine,’’ said DeBendictis. “But we’ve been at every meet and every practice.’’

    The Clippers were also paced by standout sophomore Danielle Griffin, whom Martin called “one of the best younger runners I’ve ever seen.’’ Griffin won the 300 and 600 meter races while coming in fifth in the long jump, finishing with 24 points on her own - a score that would have beaten 30 of the 38 teams that competed yesterday.

    “She wasn’t going to come out for winter track either,’’ said Martin. “I said, ‘You don’t know how good you’re going to be. You’re going to be on another level.’ ’’


    Ursuline Academy had no individual winners but used a 4:07.95 time in the 4 x 400 relay for a second-place finish with 35 points. Weston finished third with 33 points while Old Rochester, led by Ally Saccone’s winning 8.5 time in the 55-meter hurdles, took fourth with 31 points.

    On the boys’ side, Newburyport racked up 67 points on its way to a second consecutive Division 4 title.

    Newburyport won just two events - freshman Nick Carleo set a personal best with a 4:26.92 mile and senior Keith Conway won the two-mile in 9:43.78 - but scored 10 top-six finishes.

    “The great thing about it is we didn’t expect it this year,’’ said coach Tim Foley. “We had graduated some great athletes, but the younger kids filled some big holes and it worked out well.’’

    Weston finished second, gaining 20 of its 39.5 points in the long jump. Craig Shytle won with a jump of 21-3, while Spencer Shea and James Yan finished third and fifth in the event.


    Thomas Rodger, who won the 1,000-meter in 2:38.28, was Whitinsville Christian’s lone individual winner, leading the Crusaders to a third-place finish with 32 points.