Hutchins on the fast track

Posted March 05, 2009, at 10:53 p.m.

This high school track and field season has been a whirlwind for Danielle Hutchins.

The Mount Desert Island senior rewrote every Eastern Maine Indoor Track League record in the sprints and won two individual state championships and earned a second place as well.

Hutchins’ season will conclude Friday in Boston as she and Maine’s other top track and field athletes will converge on the Reggie Lewis Center for the New England Interscholastic Championships, starting at 4:30 p.m.

The Class B state champion in the 400- and 200-meter dashes and EMITL record holder in both those events plus the 55 dash, will compete in the 55, where she is ranked second behind York’s Chelsey Tewell and one slot ahead of Kristen Slotnick of Brunswick, and the 300, where she seeded seventh.

“It’s kind of a nice end of the season frosting-on-the-cake type of thing,” MDI coach Ian Braun said.

Hutchins and teammates Destiny Kanu, Heather Spurling, Kailyn Russell, Catie Smith and Kymry Brooks headed south Thursday, staying at assistant coach Desiree Sirois’ parents house in Portland before heading to Boston today.

If Hutchins is nervous or excited to compete on New England’s grandest track stage, it’s news to Braun.

“She’s pretty good at not showing her emotions, but I think she’s pretty excited,” he said.

“This is just for fun,” Braun added. “It’s nice to go down and run in a good experience. We treat it as more of a fun event.”

The six runners are also planning a shopping trip in Portland or Freeport after the meet.

Hutchins’ personal bests this year are 7.24 seconds in the 55 dash, 58.26 in the 400 — she and Brewer senior Kira Giroux became the first Maine schoolgirl runners to eclipse the 60-second barrier indoors since 1999 this winter — and 26.15 in the 200.

Even though Hutchins qualified in all three events, Braun elected to hold her to just two, as 400 qualifiers run the 600 in New Englands.

“Going from the 400 to the 600 is a much different race than going from the 200 to the 300,” he said.

He added that things have been going well training-wise even though runners have lost a couple of practice days thanks to recent snowstorms.

Kanu also will compete in the 300 for MDI while Spurling will run the 2-mile and Smith, Russell, Brooks and Spurling will run in the 4×800 relay.

York’s Tewell, the Class B state champion in the 55 hurdles and 55 dash, earned the fifth seed in the hurdles while Bangor senior Dee Wilbur is ranked in the top 20 in the 55 hurdles.

Other Maine athletes with legitimate shots at medaling are Mount Ararat of Topsham’s Colby Gail in the high jump, where she’s seeded fourth at 5 feet, 5 inches; Jadrien Cousens of Hampden Academy, among four boys’ high jumpers who have cleared 6-6, and Shelby Tuttle of Waterville in the long jump, where she’s ranked fifth. Cheverus of Portland’s Fiona Hendry is the 10th seed in the mile, where runners four through 10 are separated by just seven seconds.

Brewer’s Ben Sinclair is ranked 11th in the 55 dash, but only eight hundredths of a second behind the sixth-seeded runner and five-hundredths of a second behind the seventh seed.

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