Caron goes distance for Bears

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Add another distance running championship to the lengthy resume of Auburn’s Jeff Caron.

Caron, who led Edward Little High School to three Class A cross country crowns and an outdoor track title during from 1998 to 2000, won the America East individual championship in the 5,000 meters on Sunday in Durham, N.H.

He was the lone individual winner for the University of Maine men. Caron covered the course at the University of New Hampshire in 14 minutes, 51.61 seconds, edging Robbie Freeman of Albany by three-thousandths of a second.

One week earlier, Caron checked in with an even faster time of 14.49.06 on the same UNH course, winning the Wildcat Invitational title.

It has been a prolific spring for the senior civil engineering major. Caron was 13th in the 5,000 in an all-star field at the Sea Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn., on April 25.

Caron previously placed fourth in America East and 11th in New England in the 5,000 in 2004. This year’s New England Championships are slated for Friday and Saturday in Boston.

On the women’s side, Allyson Thomas of Auburn (Edward Little) tied for fifth in America East with a distance of 3.15 meters in the pole vault. Lisbon’s Stephanie McCusker soared 11.62 meters in the triple jump, good for eighth place.

Seniors’ moment

Two local players are part of the University of Maine softball team that clinched the America East regular-season championship and will host the conference playoffs beginning Friday.

Sarah Bennis of Pownal (Greely) picked up where she left off last spring, when she was a first-team all conference selection. The senior right-handed pitcher is 19-6 with a 1.94 ERA and a team-leading 158 strikeouts for Maine.

Also a senior, Christina Belmonte of Livermore Falls has seen spot starting duty as an outfielder, scoring eight runs. Belmonte, who is one of eight seniors for the Black Bears, earned a spot on the America East Academic Honor Roll as a sophomore.

Maine is 35-17 overall and was 16-5 in conference, where it won all of its seven series this season.

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Travelin’ man

Nate Olson is winding down his college baseball journey with a flourish at Albany. The senior designated hitter from Poland captured America East Player of the Week honors for the period ending May 7.

Olson went 7-for-17 with a home run and seven RBIs in five games during the week. His bat provided the primary punch as the Great Danes won three of four games on a weekend visit to Maine. Olson belted four hits, including a double, and knocked in four runs in one game on Saturday.

Albany is Olson’s third stop in four years. He began his career at Central Maine Community College and transferred to Division I Long Island University, where he was a first-team Northeast Conference contributor before moving upstate.

Tied for second in America East with seven home runs, Olson is hitting .275 with 29 RBIs, third on the team.

D-Train’ delivers

Olson isn’t the only CMCC product enjoying a stellar season in Division I baseball. Dustin Longchamps of Lewiston wrapped up his season at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore April 30 with a 10-3 loss to Bethune-Cookman on three days’ rest, but the defeat didn’t detract from what was a breakthrough first season with the Hawks.

Longchamps was both the ace and a workhorse for Eastern Shore, weaving a 6-5 record with a 4.94 ERA for a longsuffering program that mustered a 14-30-1 overall record and an 8-10 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

He notched six of the Hawks’ eight complete games, including a 135-pitch gem at Mount St. Mary’s on April 20. Longchamps registered his 11th strikeout of the game to strand the tying run at second base in the bottom of the seventh inning, cementing a 5-4 victory and salvaging a doubleheader split.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound right-hander known to his teammates as “D-Train” also picked up a 7-2 decision over Florida A&M on April 26. As was his custom, Longchamps went the distance, permitting only one earned run.

They’ve got the NAC

Corey Provencher of Rumford (Mountain Valley) has been named an honorable mention selection to the North Atlantic Conference baseball all-star team. Provencher was the only University of Maine at Farmington player to receive the nod this spring.

The sophomore outfielder and leadoff hitter paced the Beavers with 28 hits, 18 runs scored and nine stolen bases. He also delivered five doubles and a triple while chalking up nine RBIs and batting .286.

Other local standouts for UMF included freshman Chip Burnham of Winthrop (.304, 15 RBIs), junior Mt. Blue graduate Aaron Wolfe of Wilton (.309) and Jay product Jake Turner (13 RBIs).

UMF softball placed three players on the all-NAC squad. Mary Berry of Norridgewock cracked the first team after leading the league with a .489 average, 45 hits and 14 doubles. Holly Tripp of Ellsworth and Kristi Cochin of Sanford landed second-team laurels.


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