BRUNSWICK — Ryan Laroche not only looked at the seedings for Saturday’s KVAC track meet but also took tradition into consideration.

Even though his Edward Little boys’ team was listed as the favorite on paper, he knew better than to believe that, especially considering Brunswick and Mt. Ararat were part of the equation.

“Coming in based on seeds, it was a seven-point meet with Mt. Ararat at 97, Brunswick at 101 and us at 103,” said Laroche. “So we were the favorite.”

The only time Laroche truly believed those numbers were when he saw the final results. Edward Little won its first KVAC indoor title with 113 points. Brunswick was second at 102, with Mt. Ararat following in third at 96. Lewiston had a strong showing as well to take fourth with 89.

“We didn’t have any expectations to win this meet,” said Laroche, whose team has been second in the KVAC every year during tenure. “We wanted to. That was our goal. It’s been the goal from the start, but when you look at Brunswick and Mt. Ararat, indoor especially, you can’t be the favorite; you’re a favorite.”

EL got an abundance of strong finishes to earn the title. A strong senior core led the team while the entire group has been committed to working together and pushing each other. Laroche says having the athletes be able to coach each other and do so effectively paid off big Saturday.

“The kids have really done a lot to pull each other up a step,” said Laroche. “To me, that peer coaching thing is huge.”

In the girls’ meet, Brunswick took first with 156 followed by Mt. Ararat with 134. EL was third with 43. Lewiston finished seventh with 26.

Even members of the EL coaching staff experienced near-misses during their high school careers. So they understood the team’s determination to take that final step. To finally do so, especially with such a group of committed seniors, was special.

“They’ve been on the verge of doing something that no one had ever done at EL, said Laroche. “(The coaching staff) knows what it is like to not win the big meets. It was nice for the kids especially the seniors because they’re such great kids, hard workers and great role models.”

EL had some big events including four spots in the 55 hurdles. Michael Lucas took first with Darnell Hairston finishing second. Juston Forbes was fifth followed by Bryan Ring.

The Red Eddies doubled up in a number of events, including the triple jump and high jump. Both were won by sophomore Connor Harris.

Harris won the high jump with a leap of 6-foot-0. Hairston was third. Harris went for 6-3 and just missed.

“I decided to go up to 6-3, and I was so close to making it,” said Harris. “That last time all I needed to do was kick my feet, and I would have made it.”

Harris was juggling the high jump with his triple jump. He was even loaning out his spikes to a fellow high jumper from Lewiston, making it quite hectic getting from event to event.

“I had to run back and forth,” said Harris. “That kind of tired me out a little bit.”

In the triple jump, he landed a 43-08 to win. Ring was third with 38-07.75.

“I was hoping for at least 41 or 42,” said Harris, who also placed third in the long jump. “I’m somewhat surprised that I got 43 feet because I was so tired, but I had gotten there before.”

EL also had Faisal Noor win the mile and Hussein Mohammed took fifth. Those two teamed up in the two-mile with Noor placing fourth and Mohammed following in fifth.

Taka Ranucci was fourth in the 55-meter dash while Connor Twomey was sixth.

EL’s other top performances included Lucas placing sixth in the 400. Jon Delorme was fifth in the 800. Ranucci was sixth in the 200 and fourth in the 55-meter dash. Cody Meserve took third in the shot.  Gage Clavet was fourth in the pole vault. Twomey was sixth in the 55-meter dash.

The 4-x-200 relay team of Hairston, Twomey, Ranucci and Lucas took third while the 4-x-800 team  of Nick Johnson, Abdullahi Kalib, Juston Forbes and Matt Yarnevich was fifth.

“It was a group effort,” said Laroche, who had five new state meet qualifiers Saturday. “We had two kids move up their seeds in the hurdles. We had one kid move up in the mile. We had a kid move up his seed in the triple jump two places. We had a kid move up two places in the pole vault. A relay team moved up one spot. Everywhere around the track, there was somebody stepping up.”

Lewiston’s Hussein Ibrahim won the two-mile and took second in the mile. That was after he teamed up with Ali Hersi, Michael Letendre and Kevin Lavertu to win the 4-x-800.

“I did two other events before the two-mile,” said Ibrahim. “So I was very tired. I didn’t think I was going to place first. I just gave it all I had and ran my best race.”

Ibrahim said he expected he might finish third in the two-mile. That was after being second to Noor in the mile in 4:38.19. Lewiston also had Mohamed Barre take seventh in that race.

“That was the last event,” he said of the two mile. “I thought maybe I would win the mile. I thought I was going to get third in the two mile. I thought one of the Mt. Blue runners might win it.”

Mt. Blue’s Jaron Jones was third.

Lewiston had some other big events.  Rudy Pandora won the shot while John Peters and Jesse Leeman placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Hersi won the 800 while Michael Letendre took sixth. Seth Mason was fifth in the high jump while Chase Cote took seventh. Kyle Clabby and Jake Bachelder went fifth and sixth respectively in the pole vault.

The Blue Devils also had Luke Olehowski take fifth in the 55-meter dash and fifth in the 200. Kusow Aden was fifth in the long jump. Tyler Hartman was third in the 400. The relay team of Drew Olehowski, Hersi, Hartman and Luke Olehowski was second in the 4-x-200.

In the girls’ meet, EL’s best event was the shot. Hannah Carrier, Hali Henry and Bri Robbins took fifth, sixth and seventh respectively. EL also had Jaclyn Master take second in the 200 while Crystal Labonte was sixth. Masters was also second in the pole vault.

The relay team of Henry, Ayumi Ranucci, Masters and Labonte placed second in the 4-x-200. Taija Ayotte was fifth in the long jump. Emily Grund took sixth in the triple. Ranucci added a sixth in the 55-meter dash. Avery Chisholm was fourth in the hurdles.

Lewiston’s top performers included Elizabeth Dixon placing fifth in the triple jump and third in the 400. Marissa Zanoni was seventh in the 400. The Blue Devils also doubled up when Jess Lalonde and Kristen DiBello took fourth and seventh respectively in the high jump, and Mary Turmel took fourth and Cleo Miller finished sixth in the pole vault. Faith Shaw was sixth in the mile.


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