With one milestone reached, the Edward Little boys’ indoor track team has its sights set on an even bigger achievement Monday, when the state championships are decided at the University of Southern Maine (Class A) and Bates College (Class B).

The Red Eddies won their first KVAC championship on Feb. 12. Now they are after their first Class A state title (10 a.m., University of Southern Maine). But coach Ryan LaRoche wonders if they set the bar too low for themselves.

“We’ve reached all of the goals that we had set,” he said. “In preseason, when we sat down as a group of seniors and captains, winning KVAC’s was the real goal. And now here we are, we’re on the door step for states, and it’s hard to say if the momentum is going to continue to this week, or if we built up to the crescendo of last week and we kind of stop there.”

The Eddies remain hungry and confident they belong among favorites Mt. Ararat and Scarborough, however, and with good reason. While the Eddies don’t have many No. 1 seeds, they do a lot of events well.

“When you don’t have No. 1 seeds, that means you can move up,” LaRoche said.

Leading EL to Gorham will be Connor Harris, the top seed in the triple jump and high jump (tied with Orin James of Scarborough) and Faisal Noor, the No. 1 seed in the mile and No. 5 in the two mile.

Among the Eddies’ other top contenders are Michael Lucas (55 hurdles), Darnell Hairston (55 hurdles, high jump), Hussein Mohamed (mile, two mile) and Taka Ranucci (55 dash).

Other top local competitors include Lewiston’s Ali Hersi (800 meters top seed), Hussein Ibrahim (two mile), and Rudy Pandora (shot put) and Mt. Blue’s Jaron Jones (two mile).

In the girls’ meet, KVAC champion Brunswick is favored to end Scarborough’s six-year stranglehold on Class A, with SMAA champion Bonny Eagle and the Red Storm expected to challenge. Among the top local competitors are Edward Little’s Jaclyn Masters (pole vault, 200 dash) and Lewiston’s Elizabeth Dixon (triple jump).

The convergence of East and West schools raises some unknowns. The SMAA only allows its athletes to do one circular event, one floor event and one field event per meet, so some will be running two big races or doing two big throws in the same meet for the first time all season.

There is also what LaRoche calls “the Expo Factor,” alluding to the site of the SMAA’s championships and many of the conference’s regular season meets, the Portland Expo.

“They don’t run on a 200-meter track down there,” he said. “How many of these converted 40-yard dash, 45-yard hurdle times are going to be held up? How many of these kids really are just 40-yard dash guys and can’t hold it up for 55 meters? How many of them get stronger and really are 100-meter kids who are just running the 40 because it’s the only short sprint?”

“It is different, and it will be interesting to see how the times convert,” he said.

No local teams are expected to challenge for the Class B state championship (10 a.m., Bates College), but athletes from Poland and Gray-New Gloucester will figure prominently in a number of events.

Poland’s contingent features several podium prospects, including Cam Woodford (shot put), Eli Murphy (55 hurdles), Emma Turton (200 and 400 dash) and Kendra Lobley (800, mile, two mile).

Woodford is seeded third in the state in the shot put, while Lobley is seeded second in all three of her events. She is the Western Maine Conference champion in the mile and 800.

“She has just had a phenomenal run from the first day of practice,” first-year Poland coach Kristin Ross said. “I’m a new coach for her and she has acclimated to the type of program that we’ve set up. She’s been very clear on her goals since the beginning of the season and knew where she wanted to go at the end of the season.”

Amanda Peterson of Gray-New Gloucester could also see multiple podiums coming off WMC titles in the 55- and 200-meter dashes. She is the top seed in the former and tied for the top seed with Hermon’s Maddie Page in the latter.


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