GORHAM, Maine — Harlow Ladd always had trouble envisioning himself as a top-level distance runner and fell victim to comparing himself to other runners he respected.
Saturday afternoon, the Messalonsee High School senior proved he belonged in that group.
Ladd won the mile in 4 minutes, 26.37 seconds, then blew away the field to claim the two-mile with a state-record time of 9:21.87 during Monday’s Class A indoor track and field state championship meet at the University of Southern Maine.
“This season I started out at a 10:36 two-mile, so running a 9:21 in the course of a season and breaking a state record and actually being a state champion for once, that’s the race of my life right there,” Ladd said.
The run broke the mark of 9:24.26 set in 2005 by Eric Giddings of South Portland.
“It was more of a mental issue,” Ladd added. “I held myself to a new standard.”
Ladd was among numerous individual standouts, while Scarborough High won the 4×200 relays in the final events of the meet to sweep the team titles for the second straight year.
The Red Storm girls scored 10 points in the relay en route to 66 points and the program’s eighth consecutive Class A state crown. Scarborough edged Thornton Academy of Saco (61.5 points), which did not have an entry in the 4×200.
Bangor finished third with 47 points, followed by Brunswick and Cheverus with 45 each.
In the boys meet, Scarborough went into the 4×200 needing a big performance.
Austin Doody, Greg Viola, Ryan Jamison and Nick Morris ran the race in 1:34.99 to finish one-hundreth of a second ahead of Gorham, which was subsequently disqualified.
“It was amazing seeing it,” said Doody, who ran the third leg. “Nick (Morris) coming out on top, that was just hard work. He’s been injured, but this was his race and he knew it was.”
Scarborough’s 46 points were one better than Deering of Portland, which competed in the third of the four heats but was disqualified.
Mount Ararat of Topsham, Bonny Eagle of Standish and Brunswick tied for third with 40 points apiece.
Scarborough trailed Deering by five points entering the 4×200, but after the Rams were DQ’d in the third heat, Scarborough knew it needed to finish at least third.
Morris outleaned his Gorham foe at the line to wrap up the win.
“It was all about guys stepping up, a lot of the younger guys as well as the senior captains,” Doody said.
Scarborough won one other event, Alec James in the pole vault (12-6). Robert Hall took fourth in the mile and sixth in the two-mile and the Red Storm’s 4×800 relay placed second.
Ethan Beaulier of Noble High in North Berwick was a double winner with a state-record in the 55 (6.61) and a 23.12 in the 200 (23.12).
Bangor High senior David Correale claimed the 800 with a 1:58.99 clocking.
In the girls meet, the 4×200 was the only win for Scarborough, which scored in eight events. Nicole Kirk, Morgan Rodway, Jessica Meader and Avery Pietras won in a Class A state-record time of 1 minute, 48.13 seconds.
Key contributors included Emily Tolman (second long jump, third 400, fifth 800) and Kirk (second 200, third 55).
Sarah Perkins of Gorham enjoyed a memorable day as the senior sped to wins in the 55-meter hurdles (8.55), the 200 (25.82) and the 400 (58.23).
“It’s awesome,” Perkins said. “I had all PRs (personal records) today except for my final in the hurdles. I definitely wanted to win all of them.”
Fiona Hendry of Cheverus won three times, claiming the mile (5:16.20), the two-mile (11:31.73) and joining the Stags’ 4×800 relay with Lizzie Gwilym, Shannon Conley and Kiera Murray. Alexis Dickinson of Brunswick sped to a state-record 7.22 in the 55 meters to eclipse the mark of 7.25 set by Jill Corey of Portland in 1996.
Junior Grace Maclean and sophomore Tiffany Gray were the catalysts in Bangor’s third-place finish. Maclean took third in the hurdles, the long jump and the triple jump.
“I didn’t do my best, but I think I did pretty well for a day like today,” said Maclean.
Gray captured her first state title in the triple jump with a leap of 37 feet, 4 inches and contributed a fourth in the long jump. She also ran on Bangor’s fourth-place 4×200 relay.
“It felt really good,” Gray said. “That’s as far as I’ve ever gone. I was just really excited because I love triple jump.”
Junior Teal Jackson of Brewer made her presence felt by logging second-place performances in the 200 and 400 along with a fourth in the 55 meters. She achieved a PR in the 400 and was close in the 55, but admitted the state championship atmosphere at Gorham is challenging.
“I definitely think coming to this track, it’s a lot more intimidating,” Jackson said.
“This year I feel like I was more prepared mentally,” she explained. “I just really want to win something at states. The girls are so much more competitive.”
Other event winners were:
Boys — 4×800 relay: Mount Ararat (Seth Bryant, Will Hirnak, Nick Oram, Ryan Smith), 8:15.40; 55 hurdles: Tyson Goodale (Bonny Eagle of Buxton), 8.10; 400m: Alex Nichols (Brunswick) 51.05; shot put: Jared Bell (Deering) 51-11 1/2; long jump: McKenzie Gary (Mt.A) 22-0 1/2; triple jump: Timothy Harris (Edward Little of Auburn) 44-5; high jump: Timothy Harris (EL) 6-0.
Girls — pole vault: Lindsey Folsom (Cony of Augusta) 10-6; 800: Samantha Cox (BE) 2:21.96; shot put: Ashley Belanger (Biddeford) 35-11 1/2; Marie Vermund (Thornton Academy of Saco) 17-4; high jump: Carly McKenna (Thornton) 5-2