June 22, 2018
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Hale, Thurston lead Waterville boys, girls teams to ‘B’ state track titles

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA — The impressive Waterville High School girls cruised to their fifth straight state Class B track title at the Cony High track Saturday, but the Waterville boys had a real battle with .

defending two-time state champ Falmouth before outdistancing the Yachtsmen by seven points.

In the boys meet, Falmouth was within striking distance until Waterville senior Jeff Hale won the next-to-last event, the 3200-meter run, by outkicking Falmouth junior Tim Follo.

Fryeburg Academy’s Silas Eastman was able to move past Follo into second place.

That expanded Waterville’s lead to 15 points and rendered the final 4×400 relay meaningless.

Waterville wound up with 111 points to Falmouth’s 104. Rounding out the top five were Greely of Cumberland Center (78), Old Town (55) and Gray-New Gloucester (41).

“I tried to keep it as close as I could until the final 200 and then I turned it on as we came around the corner and  hoped for the best. I pumped the arms,” said Hale who knew the importance of the race.

“I wanted to get the two-mile to make things a lot easier on us for the next event,” said Hale, who had also captured the 1600-meter run.

“He has a very good kick. It was really impressive to see that,” said Follo.

Waterville coach Ian Wilson said he told Hale before the 3200 “to go out and win a state title for us. He was a monster.”

Falmouth coach Danny Paul said Hale “was the difference for (Waterville) in many ways. He rose up beyond his seeds.”

Hale was seeded fourth in the 3200 and third in the 1600.

Waterville also received two individual event wins from senior Isaiah Spofford (100 and 200).

“Our boys were phenomenal today,” said Wilson.

A satisfied Paul said “any time you score 100 points, you’re pretty much assured you’re going to win the state. It was a great meet.”

Old Town High School senior Jake Leithiser turned in a stellar performance: winning the long jump and 300 hurdles; nabbing a second in the high jump behind Greely’s Tanner Storey and running a leg for Old Town’s second-place 4×400 relay team.

“Two firsts and two seconds isn’t bad at all. I’ll take it,” said Leithiser, who nearly erased a significant deficit with a dramatic late kick in the relay. Falmouth’s Will Wegener  edged him by .08 of a second.

“I was hauling at the end,” said Leithiser. “It was the last high school race of my career and I wanted to go out with a bang.”

Greely’s Michael Burgess won the shot put and discus; Falmouth’s Andrew Kowalsky captured the javelin; Medomak Valley of Waldoboro’s Ian Rixon won the 1600 race walk; Wegener won the 400; Waterville’s Devin Burgess won the pole vault; Caribou’s Christian Sleeper was first in the 800; Mount View of Thorndike’s Curtis Griffin won the 110 hurdles; Gray-New Gloucester’s Jack Peters was the triple jump winner, Falmouth won the two shorter relays and Greely claimed the 4-by-800 relay.

In the girls meet, Waterville junior Olivia Thurston won the 100 and 300 hurdles and teammates Alex Jenson, Georgia Bolduc and Bethanie Brown each won individual events and finished second in at least one other individual event to spearhead the win.

Waterville finished with 145.5 points. York was second with 63, one point ahead of Old Town.

Rounding out the top five were Greely (60) with Winslow and Poland (37) tying for fifth.

“We set a team goal of 144 points,” said Wilson.

“Our goal was not only to win the state but achieve our point total,” said Thurston. “We’ve worked hard all season and it showed today.”

Jenson won the triple jump and had seconds in the long jump and 100-meter hurdles; Bolduc won the 100-meter dash and was second in the 200 and Brown won the 1600 before being outkicked by Old Town’s Dacie Manion in the 3200. Thurston, Bolduc and Jenson ran a leg for the second-place 4×100 relay team and Brown and Thurston ran a leg for the triumphant 4×400 relay team.

Senior Manion,  who finished third in the 1600, was running track for the first time. She won the individual state Class B cross country title last fall.

“Coach (Rod) White was the reason I came out for track this year,” said MIT-bound Manion, who added that she developed a kick at the Penobscot Valley Conference meet last week. “(Brown) was amazing. I couldn’t have done this if she hadn’t set such a good pace. That set me up for some speed (at the end). This is amazing.”

Bolduc set the meet’s only state record in the 100 (12.38).

York’s Emily Mitchell won the long jump and the 200 and was second in the 100.

Hermon freshman Kaitlin Saulter won the 400 in a career-best 58 seconds. It was just her third time running the 400.

“I got off to kind of a slow start but I pushed it at the end,” said the 14-year-old Saulter. “This is really exciting.”

Caribou sophomore Emily Soderberg won the 1600-meter race walk; Nokomis of Newport’s Marissa Shaw won the javelin; Poland’s Kendra Lobley won the 800; Mount View’s Hayleigh Kein was the high jump winner; Fryeburg’s Jamie Gullikson won the pole vault; York’s Niki Taylor took home the shot put title and Greely’s Katherine Harrington won the discus. The relays were won by York (4×100), Waterville (4×400) and Greely (4×800).

The meet’s most inspirational moment came when Cape Elizabeth’s Christina Kouros, born without a right leg, finished the 800 in her wheelchair to a rousing ovation.

“It was really fun,” Kouros said, beaming.

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