Maybe it’s appropriate, since track and field is a spring sport in Maine, that Lisbon High School’s drive for five has forced the Greyhounds to deal with a few potholes and speed bumps.
Lisbon boasts two of the most decorated jumpers in the state in George Clement and Tara Metzger. Each has spent this shortest of the three high school sports seasons either recovering from or fighting off a nagging injury.
Injuries, a coach can work around. Graduation, not so easily. Even the most powerful and accomplished programs are due for a downturn every once in a while, never mind a Class C track juggernaut that still gets its business done without a synthetic or paved home surface.
“When you go through a period like we have the past four or five years, you have to reload eventually,” said Dean Hall, aptly named as the far-and-away longest-tenured track coach in the Mountain Valley Conference.
That might be true, but reloading or rebuilding doesn’t mean the Greyhounds need to restructure their expectations.
Some MVC and Classs C foes naturally took comfort in seeing the Lisbon boys fall to Boothbay by seven points in a May 10 meet at Wiscasset.
Lisbon is notorious for challenging itself against Class A and B competition prior to the season-ending showcases. That coastal meet, however, marked the first time either of the Greyhounds’ squads picked on someone their own size within the league and walked away on the losing end in more than five years.
“It’s been up and down,” Hall said. “The reality is that it’s not going to be like it has been the past few years when we could rely on studs. We still have the studs. Just not as many.”
Further clouding the picture has been uncertainty about the health of those potential 30-to-40-point centerpieces.
Clement entered the season after being sidelined more than six months with a sports hernia. Metzger has battled a quadriceps condition.
“It took us a while for us to get her a legal long jump. She had some fantastic fouls,” Hall joked. “We finally got her to 15-2.”
As the humor implies, the numbers are beginning to add up and the results are starting to look familiar for Lisbon, just in time.
Lisbon’s boys and girls each will shoot for their fifth consecutive MVC championship Friday at Cony High School in Augusta.
Last Friday, the Greyhounds got a good look at the same track and a deep talent pool from across the three enrollment classifications in the Cony Invitational.
“It’s one of those meets where everybody and their sister show up,” Hall said.
If that’s the case, then Lisbon claimed its share of family bragging rights.
The girls tied Cony for the overall title, while the boys finished a strong second. By comparison, Boothbay was sixth.
Metzger won the long jump, defeating higher seeds from Maranacook and Gardiner.
Field events were the Lisbon girls’ domain. Kaitlyn Doustou took top honors in high jump. Briana Moore scored first in shot put. Angie Bulgin ruled javelin.
Clement and thrower Joe Doughty entered the season as the boys’ one-two punch, but Morgan Reeves sails into the conference and state meets on the greatest roll for the Greyhounds.
Reeves won both the triple and long jumps at Cony, with Clement second in each event. Ethan Audie gave Lisbon three of the top four and a grand total of 22 points in the long jump, alone.
“We feel like we have the two best jumpers in Junior (Clement) and Morgan,” Hall said, “but you never can tell what’s going to happen in a big meet. You sit down and try to figure out where the points are going to fall and drive yourself crazy.”
Doughty, a football lineman, is supplementing his discus and shot put duties with a leg of the 4×100 relay.
Other pleasant surprises on the season for the Greyhounds include Keenan Grover and Hannah Hall (pole vault), Kayla Angelico (middle distances) and Samuel Goldsberry (relays).
NO DOGS IN THE FIGHT
With Lisbon committed to the Cony meet, six MVC schools had a rare breath of fresh air when they gathered Friday at Telstar.
Livermore Falls took advantage on the boys’ side. Jeff Ryder and Ethan Hutchins each had a hand in winning three events as the Andies (141 points) topped Mountain Valley (100) and Dirigo (96).
Dirigo won the girls’ meet, followed by Jay and Mountain Valley.
Other top performers included Dirigo’s Alex Miele, who won the boys’ triple and high jumps; Silvia Lutick of Dirigo, who topped the girls’ 200 and 400; and Lindsey Jacques of Jay, a winner in the girls’ 100 and long jump.