AUBURN – It was L versus A. Red racing Blue. Neighbor against neighbor.

For the second straight year, Lewiston and Auburn went head-to-head in a dual track meet. This time both Red Eddies teams claimed resounding victories but not without a battle from their rivals.

“I don’t think it was as exciting as last year because they were much more healthy and going into the states as the favorites,” said EL boys’ coach Ryan Laroche. “We were trailing behind them, but it’s always a big meet against Lewiston. The scores don’t reflect the competition that was here today.”

The EL boys beat the defending state champs 125 to 34 while the Red Eddies won the girls’ meet by the same 125 to 34.

Lewiston was hampered in its performance with a number of its top-caliber athletes nursing injuries. Jeff Lucier, Husayn Carnegie and George Foster either missed the meet or were limited.

“Lucier usually has four first place finishes every meet he’s in,” said Lewiston coach Ray Putnam. “That’s 40 to 45 points in the state meet. Foster is the defending state champ in the 800. Carnegie is a 6-2 high jumper and 42 triple jumper, an all-around athlete across the board. Lucier is probably the most feared middle distance runner in the state right now.”

The idea of a dual meet between just the two schools began a year ago.

“All the other sports in our schools have a specific huge rival match with just Lewiston,” said EL girls’ coach Rebecca Hefty. “We’d never had that. So we’re really excited. Ryan, Ray and I all get along really well. So it’s fun to have that friendly, positive competition between everybody.”

It’s a great showcase for both track programs but also a fun showdown for the athletes, who don’t see their rivals any other time during the season until the conference and state meets.

“It’s a lot of fun because we’re the Twin Cities, and you’re seeing the guys you’ve grown up competing against, and you know each other,” said EL senior Jon Demers. “It’s almost like a practice, but it’s good competition.”

Among the highlights was Ben Cleveland’s 49.90 in the 400.

“He’s the first person to go under 50 in the school’s history,” said Laroche, who was going to check his time against Colby Brooks’ mark. “I’m petty sure he got the record today. For him to go out there and beat George (Foster). George has had his number the last two seasons. It’s a big step up for him.”

Demers won the 100 in 11.40 and took the 200 in 23.70.

“Last week I was 11.30 so I wanted to PR,” said Demers, “but I was a little bit slower this week.”

Troy Barnies won the long jump, the triple jump and was second in the javelin. EL also got fine performances from Tom Esponnette in the 1,600, Nick Kazar in the 3,200 and Tyler Gammon in the 800.

“They all hit PR’s, which was really big for us,” said Laroche. “They all moved up in the state rankings list.”

The EL girls got an outstanding day from sophomore Muriel Schwinn. She won the 100 with a personal best of 12.70 and also won the 200 and the long jump.

“I just really wanted to do my best and run for myself,” said Schwinn. “I knew I had really tough competition. I tried to put that out of my mind and run for myself.”

The EL girls also got multiple wins from Emily Dodge in both hurdle events and the triple jump. Hanna Mogensen won the 400 and 800 while Christie Bernier claimed the race walk and the pole vault. Hefty honored her 10 seniors with a final lap around the track following the meet, but it was 22 sophomores and 18 freshmen that led the team.

“Every scorer I have is either a freshman or a sophomore,” said Hefty.

Lewiston’s top finishes came from Hossain Naji in the both hurdles while Carnegie won the high jump.

“We had some really good performances,” said Putnam. “We’re just a very young team, and we’re a very beat up team.”

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