Swimming, indoor track championships begin today

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Two of the most enduring championship streaks in Maine high school athletics will be challenged starting Monday as the state swimming and indoor track and field championships get under way.

On Monday, the Scarborough girls will pursue their eighth consecutive Class A indoor track title at the University of Southern Maine. On Tuesday, the Bangor boys will vie for their sixth consecutive Class A swimming title at the University of Maine.

Both teams are heavily favored to repeat, but there are a number of local teams and individuals with gold medals on their mind in both sports.

INDOOR TRACK

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The Edward Little boys raced to another Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference title last week and will be looking to improve upon last year’s fourth-place state finish at Monday’s Class A meet. Scarborough, the defending state champion, won the SMAA Southwesterns and is favored to make it back-to-back titles.

The Red Eddies have one defending state champion, Connor Harris, who showed he is poised to hold onto his triple jump title by establishing a new conference record last week with a jump of 45 feet, 5¼ inches. Harris is also the top seed in the high jump and the second seed in the long jump.

The Eddies will also be looking for points from Darnell Hairston (55 meter hurdles, high jump), Bryan Ring (triple jump) and its 4×200 meter relay team.

Lewiston doesn’t have any defending state champions but boasts KVAC shot put champion and 2011 state runner-up Rudy Pandora. Nasir Abdiraham (55 meter dash, long jump), Christian Labonte (pole vault), Mohamed Barre (mile, two mile) and 4×200 team could also make the podium.

The Scarborough girls should make it back-to-back sweeps unless Thornton Academy, Cheverus, Brunswick or Mt. Ararat has a few tricks up its sleeve. Edward Little finished fourth at KVACs and has several medal hopefuls led by Jaclyn Masters.

Masters was expected to medal in the pole vault last year but broke her leg days before states. She is seeded second in the event and also seeded second in the 55 meter dash. Lexi Clavet (triple jump, long jump) is another medal hopeful for EL.

Masters and Clavet are also part of the Eddies’ record-setting 4×200 relay squad, along with Ayumi Ranucci and Avery Chisholm. The quartet is the top seed after establishing a new KVAC mark of 1:49.72 last week.

Lewiston’s best hope to podium, based on seedings, is its 4×800 meter relay team of Courtney Allen, Taylor True, Lauren Lecompte, and Mana Abdi, which finished second to Brunswick at KVACs.

Bates College is once again hosting the Class B championships on Monday. The Falmouth boys are two-time defending champions and have won four of the last five, but York ran away with the Western Maine Conference crown and is the favorite to win. KVAC champions Waterville and Greely are the top threats to prevent the Wildcats from winning their first state title. The Waterville girls are favored to keep their crown.

Gray-New Gloucester has a trio of podium probables in Elijah Locke (long jump, high jump), Sandra Ricard (long jump, triple jump) and Amanda Peterson (55 and 200 meter dashes). Peterson is the defending champion in the 200.

Swimming

With four swimmers and/or divers qualified for every event, Bangor’s run of dominance should continue. Competitors from Cheverus, Brunswick, Cape Elizabeth and Morse should make frequent trips to the podium, as well.

The Bangor girls have been nearly as dominant as their male counterparts, winning four of the last six titles, including last year. KVAC champion Messalonskee and Cape Elizabeth will challenge.

Edward Little’s Melissa Paione, who won the New England 100-yard breast stroke championship last year, is seeded third in that event and is a top 10-seed in three others (100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley). Her younger sister, Olivia Paione, is seeded sixth in the 100 breast stroke. EL’s 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams have top-10 hopes.

The A girls’ championship is Monday, the boys’ on Tuesday, in Orono.

The Class B boys will compete Tuesday at Bowdoin College. Greely is favored to win its third straight title. Ryan Robitaille of St. Dom’s is a top 10 seed in four events (200 freestyle, 200 IM, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle). He is seeded third in the 100 freestyle.

The B girls’ championship is Monday at Bowdoin, with defending champion Mt. Desert Island and Greely expected to vie for the title. Nicole Robitaille is St. Dom’s top seed, ranked No. 12 in the 100 butterfly.

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