BRUNSWICK — Cadillac Mountain at sunrise. Portland Head Light through the fog. A Downeast hillside purpled with lupine on a June afternoon.

Maine offers views that can take your breath away.

They all fall short for Owen Kasper, a Scarborough High senior whose breath already was in short supply thanks to a 100-yard freestyle leg with the meet’s fastest sprinter chasing him.

For the rest of his life, Kasper will remember the scene through his swim goggles, peering up from Lane 6 of Leroy Greason Pool after touching the wall Monday afternoon at Bowdoin College.

“It was just … yeah … speechless,” he said. “To see my teammates faces light up, and celebrating, arms in the air, was just the greatest feeling ever.”

Kasper swam the anchor leg of Scarborough’s 400-yard freestyle relay, the final race of the Class A boys’ swimming and diving state championship. The two-time defending champion Red Storm trailed the Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland co-op team (known as ELP) by half a point through 11 of 12 events, and hadn’t won any of them.


Needing only to finish ahead of ELP, Scarborough instead rallied from an early deficit against Falmouth, as juniors Stephen Ranger and Jacob Ducey and senior Ryan Vigue built up a lead for Kasper, who proceeded to hold off Navigators senior Cole Gorsuch for the victory by a second-and-a-half in 3 minutes, 28.03 seconds.

“We did the math, we knew we were behind,” Kasper said. “I was not about to go home losing this.”

Scarborough finished with 275 points to 257.5 for ELP, which only had enough frontline swimmers to stack two of the three relays. After placing second in both the 200 medley and 200 free relays, ELP faded to eighth in the 400 free.

“Our kids gave every ounce of effort in the pool,” ELP Coach Scott Morrison said of his eight qualifiers. “Every one of them scored. It was back and forth throughout the day. That’s what you want.”

Falmouth finished third with 206 points, followed by Mt. Ararat at 189, Thornton Academy at 175, Bangor at 147 and a dozen other schools.

Seniors Sebastian Shields of Thornton and Gorsuch were the only multiple individual winners. Gorsuch, returning to high school competition after a winter in which he concentrated on club swimming, won the 50 free in 21.13 seconds and the 100 free in 47.08.


Shields, named Performer of the Meet, won the 200 free in 1:51.93 and pulled away late from Gorham sophomore Brodie Berlinger to win a nip-and-tuck 500 free by half a second in 4:55.83. That time earned Shields a school record. He had never broken the 5-minute mark in a high school meet.

“Having people to race, and be right with you the whole time is great motivation,” said Shields, who immediately turned to Berlinger for a congratulatory sub-5 fist bump. “Coming into that last 100 (yards), I really wanted to win and I just tried to send it out as hard as I can.”

Mt. Ararat qualified only four swimmers for the meet, but three of them came away with individual victories. Senior Aidan Saunders defended his title in the 100 breast stroke, holding off ELP junior Chase Leonardo by two-tenths of a second to win in 1:00.79.

Also for the Eagles, junior Josh Langworthy won the 100 backstroke in 54.79 and senior Keegan Rowe won the 100 butterfly in 53.82. Mt. Ararat also won the 200 medley and 200 free relays, with senior Bradan Leeman joining the aforementioned trio.

Leonardo, of ELP, won the 200 individual medley by two seconds over Scarborough’s Kasper, in 2:03.31. Nobody else came within 10 seconds.

The margin of victory in diving was even larger. Chance Lauer, a Kennebunk senior, wrapped up his final three of 11 dives (he performed eight in the morning before the meet’s first swimming race) in less than three minutes. That’s because he was the only competitor.


“It’s a little disappointing for a senior year, state meet,” said Lauer, who finished with 284.60 points. “But you know, this is way better than last year as far as my personal score. So if I’m competing against myself, I did pretty good.”

Diving was the only event in which Scarborough failed to score. Vigue and Ducey took second and third in the 200 free and third and fourth in the 500, respectively. Kasper took second in the IM and third in breast stroke. Ranger was fourth in backstroke. Freshman Nolan Green was sixth in butterfly.

“That just shows as individuals, we have enough talent to score high,” Vigue said. “But together, we do better. We knew coming in it was going to be a hard-fought battle.”

A year ago, Scarborough lapped the field, outpointing its nearest competitor (ELP) by more than 130 points. Monday was a different story.

“Either way, it’s satisfying,” said Red Storm Coach Morgan Royle. “But this, it’s like icing. They knew every single point counted. They fought for every single race they had. I’m so proud of them.”

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