June 23, 2018
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Waterville girls claim fourth straight Class B state crown

By Pete Warner

    WINDHAM — The Waterville girls went into Saturday’s meet as the favorite to win the Class B outdoor track and field state championship.

The Purple Panthers exceeded even their own expectations.

Senior Lynn Fleming won the long jump and the triple jump, was second in the 100-meter hurdles and ran on the winning 4×100 relay team to spearhead coach Ian Wilson’s Waterville squad to a comfortable victory and their fourth straight title.

The Panthers, who were seeded to win by 53 points, scored 168 to easily beat runner-up York, which finished with 94 — 74 points back.

“I was coming in here just wanting to win a state championship, it’s my last year,” Fleming said. “Individually, I just wanted to bust out good numbers.”

Greely of Cumberland Center took third in the girls meet with 54.3 points, followed by Falmouth (33) and Poland Regional (30). Mount Desert Island (29) was sixth.

In the boys meet, Falmouth sailed past Greely of Cumberland Center for its second championship in a row. The Yachtsmen racked up 104 points while the Rangers tallied 76.5.

Seniors Alec Dunn and Kellen MacDonald were among the catalysts for the Yachtsmen. Dunn’s 15.46 clocking earned him the top spot in the 110 hurdles and he was fourth in the 300 hurdles. MacDonald won the 300 hurdles (39.93) and was second in the 110 hurdles.

“We knew we were good and we had potential to do it,” said Dunn, who pointed to a handful of performances that bettered the initial seeds as keys.

The Waterville boys finished third (57.5 points), followed by Hampden Academy (50), York (44) and Mount Desert Island and Erskine Academy of South China, which tied for sixth with 38 points.

In the girls meet, Fleming’s superb day helped set the tone for Waterville’s championship run. She went 16 feet, 9 inches in the long jump and covered 37-4 in the triple jump. She teamed with Alex Jensen, Lauren Massey and Katy Massey to win the 4×100 in 50.78 seconds.

The Panthers claimed eight individual victories and won the 4×100 and 4×400 relays. Waterville placed 14 athletes in the scoring column.

Waterville competitors combined to move up a total of 32 places from where they were seeded, which further padded their advantage.

“That’s what we strive for every time. We try to get more, gain more,” said Fleming, who logged career bests in the triple jump (37-4) and the hurdles (15.30).

Senior Kayla Tuttle was a two-event winner, claiming the 1,600 (5:22.46) and the 3,200 (11:55.31). In both races, the petite blonde bided her time behind the race leader until about the 200-meter mark, then put on a clinching final burst.

“I definitely was trying to stay with the frontrunner. Usually, that’s my race,” Tuttle said.

“I don’t think about it. I just have to go,” she added.

Katy Massey won the 100 (12.76), Courtney Williams took the 1,600 racewalk (8:00.29), Olivia Thurston placed first in the 300 hurdles (45.53), Natasha Griffith won the shot put (38-6 3/4) and the 4×400 relay squad of Emily Karter, Alexa Frame, Thurston and Taylor Frame was victorious in 4:13.61.

Allison Fereshetian from Leavitt of Turner Center claimed two firsts and a second. She established a state record with a time of 14.72 in the 100 hurdles and also took the 200 (25.75). She was second in the 300 hurdles.

Individual champions from eastern Maine schools included Lianne McCluskey of Camden Hills, who won the 400 (59.79).

She savored the moment, as she did last winter when she won two events in the state swim meet and was named the Most Outstanding Performer.

“My top goals this year were to win states and break a minute. I did both, so I couldn’t have asked for more today,” McCluskey said prior to leaving the track to attend her prom.

Katie DeShane of Old Town in the high jump (5-2), Morgan Baum of Medomak Valley in Thomaston in the javelin (111-7) and Allison James of Belfast in the pole vault (8-6).

  “I was really hoping I’d get 5-4 today,” DeShane said after locking up the win at 5-2 but failing on three attempts at 5-4. “I’m definitely getting 5-4 next year.”

In the boys meet, the Yachtsmen needed only nine scorers to get the job done.

Falmouth wasn’t even able to practice on its own facility this spring, which created some challenges.

“We had to practice at Gray-(New Gloucester) because we didn’t have a track this spring,” Dunn said. “We went there three days a week. It kind of separated our team a little bit during the season. We had to bring it together at the end.”

Falmouth’s Will Wegener was second in the 200 and the 400. Wegener, MacDonald and Dunn ran on the first-place 4×400 relay (3:31.84) along with Michael Gardner.

The team got other key points from Tim Follo and Charlie Swerdlow.

Isaiah Spofford of Waterville was a two-event champ in the 100 (11.10) and 200 (22.35). He also anchored the Panthers’ victorious 4×100 relay quartet that included Aaron Saucier, Pete Cote and Jake Hanley.

“I was definitely happiest with the 200,” said Spofford, who ran personal bests in both of his individual races.

“I was just trying to help my team win a championship,” he added.

Darik Frye of Hampden Academy capped his career with a win in the 400 (a school-record 50.54) and a runner-up finish in the 800, along with seconds in two relays.

“The 400 definitely went a lot different than I thought it was going to go,” he said of a tight finish with Wegener.

Frye turned his head at the finish line and outleaned Wegener, who logged an identical time, before falling to the track.

“Luckily, the dive saved my state championship win,” he agreed. “Once it comes down to that it’s nothing but guts and who wants it more. I really wanted it.

Ryan Feeney of Hermon was the long jump champ at 20-7, but took seventh in the triple jump and no-heighting in the high jump.

“My last jump was my best. I always save that last one, just in case,” Feeney said of his long jump.

After running the 4×100 prior to the high jump and having the triple jump thrown into the mix earlier than usual because of weather concerns, he struggled a bit.

“I’m having knee problems and ankle problems, so I didn’t do so well in the triple,” said Feeney, who is bound for basic training to join the Air Guard.

Nate Meade of Medomak Valley captured the triple jump (42-6 3/4), Ben Cummings of Mount Desert Island prevailed in the pole vault 13-6), and Caribou’s Finn Bondeson won the 1,600 racewalk with a time of 7:19.15.

Bondeson erased the memory of a disappointing 2009 state-meet result.

“(It’s my) first legal state championship. I won last year, but I got DQ’d,” he explained. “It’s something that is to be expected when you racewalk.”

Bondeson has listened to the nay-sayers knock racewalking for four years, but he said it is a difficult discipline.

“It’s pretty hard to do it and keep form up. It’s definitely a muscular challenge,” he explained.

Ellsworth’s 4×800 unit made up of Blake Pattengale, Neal Anderson, Ben Chapman and Malcom Toe won in 8:19.21. The performance slashed 22 seconds off their previous best.

“(We ran) the race of our lives, really,” said Chapman, a senior. “We just said, this is the last time we get to run a 4×8, let’s make it something special. We did. This is amazing.”

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