Panthers’ Tuttle seeks longer leap

Posted Feb. 12, 2009, at 11:54 p.m.

WATERVILLE, Maine — She has been ranked as high as fourth in the DyeStat Elite national rankings in the triple jump this winter, but Shelby Tuttle is as humble as they come.

As a matter of fact, the Waterville High senior doesn’t really check to see where she’s ranked among the nation’s best.

“My dad does. Every now and then I’ll check. but I’m not really interested. Like, I am but I’m not really involved with that,” Tuttle said Monday.

Tuttle will take her personal record of 38 feet, 6½ inches to Bates College in Lewiston on Monday as her Purple Panthers seek another strong finish at the Class B state track and field championships, which get under way at 10 a.m. Waterville finished second last season.

Tuttle’s PR in the triple jump, which she popped at the University of Southern Maine Relays earlier this winter, has her thinking even bigger.

“I wanted to hit 39 feet at KVACs but I didn’t get there,” said Tuttle, who won that meet with a leap of 36 feet, 6 inches, which she says is well below par for her.

“Hopefully at states I can hit 39,” said Tuttle, who had an upper respiratory infection the week leading up to KVACs.

In addition to her top Maine ranking in the triple jump, Tuttle is the No. 2 seed in the 55 hurdles, behind York star Chelsey Tewell, and third in a deep long jump field where only 1½ inches separate the top three competitors.

Tuttle picked up some valuable technique tips from former Messalonskee of Oakland standout Jesse Labreck, who trained with the Purple Panthers during her high school indoor career.

“She’d always help me and stuff because we both did triple jump, we both did hurdles,” said Tuttle. “It helped practicing with her because I could always get better, because she was always better than me in drills and stuff.”

Tuttle is fortunate to not only have one of the top jumping coaches in the state in Ian Wilson at her disposal but that Waterville has a fine indoor facility at Colby College in its own backyard.

“We go there once a week. I mean it helps because we can use our spikes,” said Tuttle, who is considering attending the University of Maine next year.

Elsewhere in the girls meet, Mount Desert Island record-breaking sprinter Danielle Hutchins, who has rewritten the Eastern Maine Indoor Track League record books, is favored to win the 55 dash, 400 and 200.

Hutchins owns a personal-best of 58.26 in the 400 and has a great shot at the Class B state record of 1 minute, 0.11 seconds, set in 2000 by Hampden’s Danielle McCabe.

Hutchins’ respective seed times in the 55 and 200 are 7.22 and 26.15. The Class B state mark in the 200 is 25.94, held by Freeport’s Logan Crane.

Other local high seeds include Shelby Wheeler of Orono in the 55 hurdles and pole vault, Mount Desert Island’s Heather Spurling in the mile and 2-mile, Destiny Kanu of MDI in the 55, 400 and 200, Alex Crocker of Orono in the 400 and triple jump, Kate Goodness of Old Town in the 2-mile, Holli Kenison of Orono in the triple jump and Logan Clark of Old Town in the high and triple jumps.

Defending state champion Greely from Cumberland Center is the favorite on paper.

For the boys meet, Western Maine schools Greely and Falmouth look strong once again, but Eastern Maine has plenty of individual talent to go around.

Ellsworth and Hampden Academy boast the second and third seeds in the 4×800 relay at 8:45.17 and 8:46.00, respectively.

The EMITL champion Broncos field one of the state’s top 800 runners in junior Darik Frye, who has run 2:00.00 this winter.

He’ll be in the mix in the 800 with top seed Mark McCauley of Greely, fellow Ranger James LePage and Nick Byers of Hermon.

Phil Benoit of Orono and MDI’s True Muzzy are also top-seven seeds in that event.

Jadrien Cousens has had an outstanding season for the Broncos and earned a top seed in the high jump at 6-6 in addition to a No. 2 rank in the triple jump, where teammate Matthew Toothaker is seeded right behind in third.

Cousens is also the fourth seed in the 55 hurdles, where John Bapst of Bangor’s Chris Fogler is ranked first.

Other top seeds include Justin Cullens of Hermon, Tony Cultrerra of Sumner of East Sullivan and O’Dane Gaynor of MDI in the 55 dash and 200, Hampden’s Michael Bommarito in the mile, Vincent Tymoczko of Bucksport in the 400 and 200, Matt Claar of Orono in the 400, Dan Hales of MDI and Brandon Winchenbach of Old Town in the shot put, Fogler and Stuart Lenz of Bapst and Hermon’s Ryan Feeney in the long jump, and Tucker Smith (top seed) and Derek Rothenheber of MDI in the pole vault.

rmclaughlin@bangordailynews.net

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