LEWISTON — Down to his final chance, Stephen Pierre realized the pressure he was facing Tuesday at Bates College.

The high jump bar was at 6 feet, 2 inches, and Pierre had missed on his first two attempts. Not only did the Leavitt sophomore have only one attempt remaining, the Hornets’ first state championship was on his shoulders — and his legs and his ability to arch his body over a bar that sat nearly 8 inches above his head.

Each miss added to the pressure. He felt it, and he used it.

“Not a rage, but it’s like an energy that I feel, and I like to put it through everything I have, and it was really able to lift me up there,” Pierre said.

Pierre approached from the left-hand side, his jump was strong and his body cleared the bar. The Hornets were going to win the Class B championship, the first track and field state title in Leavitt Area High School’s history.

“It was great, honestly,” Pierre said. “… I was going crazy. I try not to be like that, but it got the best of me. I was excited. It was a big moment. This is the first time in Leavitt history we’ve ever won states. I had a lot of pressure on me knowing that if I were to fail, that was the end, that was our chance.”


Pierre’s celebration was mild compared to Leavitt boys track and field coach Jamie Juntura, who let out a shout and ran 15-20 yards while pumping both arms.

“I think it was a steady, ‘Yeeeaah!’” Juntura said with a laugh. “That was my only thought.”

Due to heavy rain at the Class B state meet at Freeport on Saturday, the boys pole vault was suspended and the boys high jump and girls pole vault were postponed to Tuesday and moved to the indoor track at Bates.

Leavitt took a six-point lead, 79-73, over York for the boys team title.

York, though, had better seeds in both events, enough to beat Leavitt by four points.

The Hornets needed a big performance from Pierre.


“We knew a lot was going to rest on his shoulders today,” Juntura said. “But as far as anyone on this team, if we’re going to rest it on somebody, it was a good thing it was Stephen. He’s pretty clutch under pressure, he’s been competing at a really high level, not just in track, but in gymnastics and other things, since he was really little.”

The Wildcats scored one point in the pole vault, which meant Pierre needed to finish within five points of York’s high jumper, Gavin Davis.

Pierre had already earned runner-up finishes in the 110-meter hurdles — placing second to Poland’s Nolan Garey, who was at Bates on Tuesday and gave Pierre a hug moments after Pierre cleared 6-2 — and in the long jump, and he placed fourth in the 300 hurdles.

Clearing 6-2 guaranteed him third place in the high jump and a minimum of six points, so the Hornets would have at least 85. The most Davis could earn in the high jump was 10 points, meaning the Wildcats’ potential points were capped at 84.

As the high jump progressed, more members of the Leavitt boys team showed up to cheer on Pierre.

“When he cleared, I mean, man, I haven’t been happier in a while,” said Leavitt freshman Mason Henderson, who placed second in Class B in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. “That was a great feeling, watching him be able to succeed like that and knowing that that just helped us win our championship.”


Pierre finished third in the high jump and Davis second, which gave the Hornets an 85-82 win.

Old Town’s Corbin Flewelling was the only high jumper to clear 6-4, which made him the state champion. He finished Tuesday’s meet with a height of 6-5.25, far exceeding his previous personal best of 6-2.

“After the first few jumps, especially 6-2, I felt like 6-4 was going to be a breeze,” Flewelling said. “I cleared it first attempt like it was nothing.”

Flewelling also won the triple jump and long jump state titles on Saturday.

“This one feels good, because I’ve been fighting for a high jump PR since sophomore year, now,” the senior said. “Last year didn’t go so well, so I’m glad to get a good PR going.”



The boys pole vault began Saturday, and before it was postponed, Freeport’s Reece Perry cleared a massive mental hurdle.

Perry suffered a shoulder injury early in the season and didn’t think he’d be able to pole vault again this spring. Twice-a-day physical therapy helped him heal faster than expected, and he was able to return to practice last week.

Since it was his first meet since his injury, Perry was unsure how his shoulder would perform.

He gained confidence from the few attempts he made Saturday before the pole vault was suspended. However, he didn’t feel too much pressure to reach a certain height, even though he won the indoor meet at Bates in February with a state-record height of 14-1.

“I came in here with no expectations because five weeks ago, I didn’t think I’d be vaulting for two months,” Perry said. “I’m just glad to be back.”

Perry’s body stayed strong and he won Tuesday’s pole vault state title with a height of 14 feet.


“It’s awesome. I’m happy to be back,” Perry said. “I came in thinking that I’d be really, really happy to take fourth or third.”

John Bapst’s Kyle Sidaway finished second.


Tuesday’s lone girls event didn’t have the drama that the boys events had. The York girls locked up the team title Saturday, and Morse junior Sarah Ouellette was a heavy favorite in the pole vault, possessing a seed height (11-0) that was 2 feet above the next seeded athletes.

Ouellette was fazed early by the wait time due to a much larger number of competitors than she is accustomed, but she overcame them to win the state title by clearing 10-0.

“It’s really nice,” Ouellette said. “I mean, coming in, my seed was pretty high, so I wasn’t super concerned about winning, but it’s still nice.”


After claiming the title, Ouellette went for 10-6, and then 11-0. She cleared it on her first try.

“I wouldn’t say I was super confident, but I knew that I could do it. Like, maybe I didn’t feel great, but I knew that I could,” Ouellette said. “… I got it the first attempt, which was good, and I think it was fairly smooth. It’s only the third time clearing it in my life.”

Ouellette is in her third year doing the pole vault. She said that her marks have jumped during the past year since she started getting coaching from the Patriot Pole Vault Club.

“I had a 2-foot improvement. I just jumped,” she said.

So 11 feet is a big deal for her. Once that bar was cleared, she went for more. Once she won the state title, she was able to choose the heights that she wanted to attempt. After 11, she went for 11-7.

“That was a very important bar because it’s qualification for nationals and the meet record, so I really wanted it,” Ouellette said.


She came close but wasn’t to clear it.

“I think it was some of my best attempts, but there were a few technical elements that I needed to fix,” Ouellette said. “Any day that I clear 11, it feels like an honor that I can go for 11-7, because maybe I won’t clear 11 one day, so it’s nice to have the chance.”

Freeport’s Lucy Bradford placed second and teammate Kessa Benner was third. Leavitt sophomore Izzy Gates placed eighth.

Ouellette and the rest of the state’s best are back in action Saturday at the New England Interscholastic Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Cameron Stadium in Bangor.

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