AUBURN – Edward Little senior Brian Despres huffed, puffed, and yelled as he hurled his shot into the warm, stale air inside Bowdoin College’s Farley Field House at last Saturday’s KVAC Indoor Track Championships.

“Foul,” the judge said.

“I felt like I popped that one good,” Despres said Friday afternoon.

“That was probably 55, maybe,” agreed teammate Matt Harmon, also a senior. “That was a huge throw.”

Despres won, despite the foul. His throw of 49 feet, 11 inches, set a new meet record.

Harmon followed suit with a throw of 49 feet, inch, and another teammate, senior Mat Veinott, placed third with a throw of 44 feet, 6 inches.

“None of them hit a PR (personal record) that day, either,” EL head coach Ryan Laroche said. “The way they’ve been throwing in practice this week, there’s no reason to think that they won’t be throwing well at states on Monday.”

Four of Edward Little’s throwers have qualified for Monday’s Class A state meet at Bates College, where the Eddies will be in a dog fight for second place.

Barring a major catastrophe, the Bangor boys are the prohibitive favorite to win this year’s boys’ indoor track title. The Rams, by final seeding, are projected to have double the points of their nearest competitor, Gorham.

On the girls’ side, Vicki Boehlert made the most of her first year throwing for the Eddies. She, too, captured the KVAC crown, and throwing 30 feet in practice this week, Boehlert could pull out some points for the girls’ squad Monday.

In the overall girls’ picture, Scarborough goes in as a 40-point favorite, with KVAC champion Brunswick next best.

But Edward Little isn’t far behind in either meet. The girls, by seed, are a scant 10 points back of third place, and the boys have a chance to contend for silver.

Some of that potential rests on Despres, Harmon, Veinott and sophomore Jacob Dubois, who is actually seeded ahead of Veinott by 2 inches.

“We’re so competitive as a group anyway,” Harmon said. “I’m known by my football coach as the guy who always finishes second to (Despres), and I want to beat him at least once. And I don’t want the other two to catch me.”

That competition among themselves has the Eddies’ throwing team thriving.

“They cheer for each other and feed off of each other,” EL throwing coach Mike Smith said. “If one does well, they feed off of that energy.”

Smith knows a thing of two about throwing weights. He currently holds the school record in the indoor shot put with a throw of 52 feet, 1 inches, and he’d like nothing more than to push Despres past his old mark as a coach.

“He looks at it like, if he can coach me past his old record, that makes him a good coach,” Despres said.

His personal best of 51 feet, 9 inches is just four inches shy of Smith’s record.

Together with fellow assistant John Staples, Smith has turned Edward Little’s throwing team into a cool thing to do. The number of students competing for a spot on the outdoor throwing team in a month could be staggering.

“Success breeds success,” Laroche said. “As Brian has become better, the athletes around him have worked harder to try and keep up, and that’s created a big push.”

The other big push, according to Laroche, has been in the weight room.

“It’s addicting, you know,” Harmon added. “Once you start, you just can’t stop, because you feel that all the muscle you’ve gained, it turns to flab.”

One of the biggest surprises in the weight room – and in the shot circle this indoor season – has been Dubois’ emergence as a sophomore.

“This kid’s a force,” Veinott said, pointing at Dubois. “He’s going to break my record for the bench press.”

“Outdoors, I didn’t really lift much,” admitted Dubois. “Once I got indoors, it really helped to have the coaches teach me the things I needed to do to get better throwing the shot.”

In the final seedings, Despres is seeded third behind Matthew White of Cheverus and Dan Smith of Thornton. Harmon is fifth, the pair split by Brigham Michaud of Cheverus.

Dubois and Veinott are in the flight below their teammates, seeded ninth and 10th, respectively.

But Smith believes that all four of them can hit the 50-foot mark Monday.

“They’ve all thrown at least that in practice,” Smith said.

“If you believe you’re stronger than other people, you can relax,” Veinott said. “When you relax, the technique takes over and you can throw further.”


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