Edward Little’s track and field preseason was twice as long as the season itself.
“We went six weeks without a competition. Six weeks,” EL girls’ coach Rebecca Hefty said. “And that was while baseball, softball and lacrosse were playing games and getting things done.”
Rain has wreaked havoc with every track team’s training and meet schedules, but nobody took it on the chin quite as badly as the Red Eddies.
EL hosted only one meet. The Eddies got through three competitions in all. Another one at Brunswick was cut short by torrential rain.
When regular-season track meets aren’t made up, chances to qualify for the state meet are lost. So even though the Eddies are favorites to extend their streak as both boys’ and girls’ champions in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet at Bath Junior High School on Saturday, there’s a distinct element of the unknown.
“There are still some big jumps, great throws and great times out there,” Hefty said. “Maybe in past years we went into the conference and state meets more secure and comfortable, but it’s more exciting to be shocked.”
KVACs have been colored maroon-and-white since EL moved over from the SMAA in 2004.
Ryan LaRoche has coached the boys to a league title every season. The EL girls have won five KVAC crowns, including the last four.
Both teams tuned up with impressive wins over Lewiston, Bangor and Brewer at Saturday’s second-annual River City Rivals meet in Bangor.
“We had a really solid day,” LaRoche said. “It took until the last meet, but we’re starting to get some people, our sprinters especially, up into KVAC and Class A state scoring territory.”
Keith Tremblay leads the EL boys. He tuned up Saturday with three wins — racewalk, discus and javelin.
“He’ll be a contender for his third straight state title in the racewalk,” LaRoche said. “He has definitely stepped it up as a thrower and as a leader.”
Connor Harris and Ricardo Hairston (jumps), Darnell Hairston (hurdles), Taka Ranucci and Michael Lucas (sprints) and Faisal Noor and Hussein Mohamed (distances) give the Red Eddies potential winners all over the scoring chart.
The girls’ top scorer is senior Frankie Lally, who is the first EL athlete in many years to compete in two sports during the same season.
Lally also qualified for the state singles tennis tournament. She is the top-ranked javelin thrower in the state as well as a threat in discus and shot put.
Senior Marie Dufresne-Dixon (pole vault), juniors Emily Hartnett (hurdles, 400) and Mary Kate Masters (sprints) and sophomores Avery Chisholm, Lexi Clavet and Ayumi Ranucci are scoring threats.
“Our expectations are to win the KVAC championship, because we know depth is what wins that championship,” Hefty said. “But we need to use the KVACs as a springboard to the state meet; to lower our times and get kids into those heats where they can score points for us.”
Class A states are Saturday, June 4 at Windham High School.
‘Hounds sharpen their bite
Lisbon made a final statement cementing its status as a dual favorite in the Mountain Valley Conference championship, winning the girls’ division and finishing second in the boys’ half of Cony’s “Under the Lights” meet May 20.
The Greyhounds’ depth overpowered a variety of Class A, B, C teams. It’s a sign that Lisbon should rate an overwhelming favorite for its sixth straight championship in both genders when the MVC convenes Friday at the same Augusta track.
On the girls’ side, Lisbon was a runaway 164-116 winner over Erskine.
Kaitlyn Doustou and Gabby Ouellette delivered a one-two finish in the high jump for the Greyhounds. Tara Metzger won the long jump and was second in triple jump. Briana Moore claimed victory in discus and threw third place behind teammate Justice Fraser-Gagnon in shot put.
Jordan Kates prevailed in javelin. Lisbon’s 4×800 relay squad of Doustou, Angie Bulgin, Kayla Angelico and Meagan Thomas also finished first.
Maranacook of the KVAC edged Lisbon in the boys’ meet.
Morgan Reeves and Aaron Halls provided the Greyhounds’ highlight with a sweep of the top two spots in long jump. Reeves also won the pole vault and was second in triple jump.
Meet of their own
Mt. Ararat hosts an annual under-the-lights meet, as well.
It is primarily designed to give athletes who have not yet earned a spot in the state meet an opportunity to compete on their own in one final push at the qualifying thresholds. That event took on added importance this year, with most schools losing multiple meets due to the dreary weather this spring.
Athletes from Leavitt, Lewiston and Mt. Blue stood out in Monday’s competition.
Mary Turmel and Desirae Roy ran one-two in the 100-meter hurdles for the Blue Devils. Turmel also tied Lewiston teammate Stacy Oswald and Jackie Gauthier of Leavitt for the pole vault victory.
Casey Fichter of Leavitt won the 400 meters, with Sarah Wade (1,600) and Maryam Norton (3,200) securing wins for Mt. Blue’s traditionally loaded distance team.
Natalia Atkins of Lewiston topped the discus.
Leavitt enjoyed the one-two sprint sweep in the boys’ segment, with Davis Rousseau leading Elliott Wiegman across the line in the 200.
Tim Enos also was a winner for the Hornets in the pole vault. Mike Nazaroff of Lewiston led the shot put.
For Mt. Blue, Dustin Staples (1,600), Sully Jackson (3,200) and Shane O’Neill (high jump) all stood atop the podium.
MVC North schools gathered at their hub track, Telstar, for a final conference tune-up Monday.
Local boys’ winners were: Torey Barnett (racewalk), Bryan Blackman (100) and Nick Young (long jump) of Dirigo; Nick Woods (1,600), Garrett Carver (800) and Christian Durland (shot put) of Mountain Valley; Dakota Halliday (400), Tyler Halliday (javelin) and Keith Jewett (triple jump) of Livermore Falls; and Dylan Helms (200), Bronson Dean (3,200) and Tim Jewell (discus) of Telstar.
Five Dirigo girls won events: Misty Steward (racewalk), Kayla Gaudin (100), Salena Sawtelle (400), Dominique Flagg (long jump) and Hannah Knight (discus).
Victoria Crockett (shot put, javelin) and Sadie James (1,600) were winners for Mt. Abram, with Telstar’s Gabby Monzo taking top honors in the 200 and triple jump.