Lewiston’s Amelia Wedderburn made the indoor track and field state meet as a freshman and has since continued to progress in her events.

Now a senior, Wedderburn has earned a spot as a captain of the team.

Lewiston’s Amelia Wedderburn runs the 55-meter dash during the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference indoor track meet in February 2020 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“She’s been remarkable this year,” Blue Devils coach Steve Virgilio said. “One great moment just two meets ago, she took the initiative. We hadn’t officially named captains at this point but she just took the initiative and I set up the meet entries, but with such a large team there are usually limitations on our meet entries. You can only have six people in the 800, so many in the 55 dash, so sometimes we will have more people in the relay. That gets really confusing, especially at this level, so she was over there organizing the whole thing.

“You know, it looks simple, but it’s not that simple. In order to get those 16 kids to run, it’s a miracle, to tell you the truth. She’s over there while I’m coaching somewhere else and she took the initiative to organize, especially on the girls side, and those girls, some of them have never done track and she was doing everything to put it together. She comes up to me afterwards and goes, ‘I’m stressed, that was so difficult.’ And I said, ‘Amelia, I am glad you know how I feel.’ I said thank you and that was a great moment for her, not just in her track career but in her life. She’s been awesome.”

Wedderburn leads the KVAC in the long jump at 16 feet, 6.5 inches and is third in the 55 with a time of 7.65 seconds.

“Amelia has always been a stellar athlete,” Virgilio said. “This year, she’s a captain and has really stepped up in her maturity, commitment and all facets that transcends human performance. It’s been a steady progression. She’s always been engaged and is always improving. She’s been remarkable this year.”

The Lewiston boys team is lush with sprinters and jumpers that are at the top of Class A.

“Jabreel Muhammed-Aceto and Abdirazak Abukar have been two consistent leaders over the past couple years, but now we have new kids like Raimundo Lubota, who is a soccer player and has just been awesome,” Virgilio said. “He’s kind of like the Godfather or something, he’s a bigger guy, he looks like a strong safety in the NFL and the guys gravitate to him and respect him. He’s done so well in showing up, listening and improving. He’s run the dash in the first four meets and every single time has run faster. He’s fifth or sixth in the state right now, and Abdirazak is third or fourth. He’s established himself as a relay candidate, which at this point we have the current number one time in the state.”

“Levi-prince Likibi is another guy who has established himself in the jumps,” Virgilio added. “He jumped the triple jump for the first time the other day and jumped 42-5.5. Jabreel is a 42-7 jumper, so we have the second and third top jumpers in the state.”

HORNETS FINDING FORM

Many Maine high school indoor track teams have already competed in multiple track meets, while others haven’t competed at all this season. 

Leavitt has competed four times and have finally shook the rust off, according to coach Jamie Juntura. 

I think it’s been going pretty well,” Juntura said about the season. “I was talking to the team last week during practice, and the words I used with them were, ‘We did a good job of knocking the rust off, but it took us four weeks to do it.’ We took four meets and got a lot of the rust knocked off, now we have to dedicate ourselves to a month of training before the championship meets.”

The Hornets’ final regular-season track meet is Jan. 17. Then comes the KVAC championships in February. 

Leavitt’s boys throwers have been a positive, including senior Jack Boutaugh, who has been throwing well even with his off hand. 

“Josh Chretien and Jacob Wilcox in the shot put have had some success,” Juntura said. “It’s really helped out because our main thrower was going to be Jack Boutaugh, and he dislocated his elbow in that Cape Elizabeth football game. He is coming back hopefully for the 17th. Definitely for KVACs. Here’s the big surprise with Jack, he was able to throw a qualifying throw with his off hand (35 feet, 9.5 inches). He’s been doing what he needs to do to make sure he is still in the game, which is cool.”

Juntura also cited Manny Driscoll as a bright spot in the sprints, while freshman Stephen Pierre has sprung onto the scene as a sprinter and jumper. 

“He’s only a freshman and he’s running one of the faster times in the hurdles (8.88 seconds), without blocks. He’s jumping with the senior-level long jumpers (19-10. 75) and he’s high jumping 5-10,” Juntura said. “He’s an incredible athlete and he’s been part of our summer program for years.”

A group of sophomores have been standouts for the Hornets’ girls team. 

“We have three sophomores Lindsay Bates, Nola Boutaugh and Sarae Fish who have been great,” Juntura said. “As far as the girls team, we have a small team but they’ve been pushing quite a few points in their events. (Junior) Emma Couturier, she’s been phenomenal on the girls end in the jumps.”

SMALL-BUT-MIGHTY KNIGHTS

Poland coach Laurie Gaudreau said the Knights are — while a smaller group at 25 athletes, rather than the normal 40 to 50 — energized and focused. 

“They’re just energized,” Gaudreau said. “We have a little bit of new energy. I’m coming in, it’s my second season with all of them — (we have) one or two new players who don’t do outdoor, so they’re getting to know me. Some of our heavy hitters (are) Jake Twigg, Nolan Garey, Dom Antonelli and also Nick Garey — I think you can expect to see some great things from the Garey brothers.”

At Poland’s most-recent meet, Nolan Garey won the 55-meter hurdles (8.52 seconds) as well as the 400-meter dash (56.15). Nick Garey came in third in the 200 (25.09). 

Ellen Marquis-Boutin finished in second in the girls 55-meter dash (8.11) and in sixth in the 200 (30.24). 

“I think they’re learning to set realistic expectations for themselves, and I am impressed with the team chemistry they’re showing,” Gaudreau said. “They’re out there cheering on their teammates when they’re not competing, not just sitting by themselves.”

ST. DOM’S READY TO START

St. Dom’s head coach Tyler Shennett said that the Saints, comprised this year of St. Dom’s, Oak Hill, Winthrop and Lisbon athletes, are itching to get onto the track for the first time this season. 

After practicing for five weeks, it is finally time for the Saints to compete in their first track meet of the season on Friday. 

“It’s been good,” Shennett said about the season. “We’ve been training as much as we can but it’s obviously unfortunate because we don’t have access to a track. It limits our resources, but we’re in the same boat as everyone else. We have a place to practice, and the kids are ready to go and get our season going this Friday. We have a meet every Friday in January and then the first in February, then it’s championships.”

St. Dom’s has many new track athletes who have never competed in a track meet before, so Friday will be a benchmark of sorts to see where everyone is and which athletes fit best in each event. 

“It’s good to see. We get a general idea for kids’ strengths and weaknesses,” Shennett said. “We get to see where our kids excel in or where they have potential. The downside is some athletes have never done track, so they won’t know if they like an event or not until they do it. We have a lot of newbies and most of our St. Dom’s kids are freshmen. Some of them have never even seen an indoor track.

“It’ll be interesting. Friday is our first test and we’ve been practicing for four or five weeks, and so hopefully we’ll come out with a bang.”

Shennett is working alongside assistant coach Dan Campbell, the long-time track coach at Edward Little and the University of Maine at Farmington. Campbell is battling cancer, so sometimes he misses practice. Still, his love for track keeps him going, according to Shennett. 

“Dan is struggling in some ways, but he’s doing well,” Shennett said. “It’s awesome to have had him as a coach (at Edward Little) and now be able to work with him side by side. It’s been a blessing working side by side with him.

“He has days that he’s not around, good days and bad days, but track means so much to him and he’s here to push these kids and help them.”

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