A season’s worth of preparation and competition will be put to the test in a final showcase Saturday as high school track and field athletes from across the state compete in the outdoor championships.
The meets are scheduled at three sites, as Windham High School hosts the Class A meet, Class B schools gather at Bar Harbor and the Class C contingent descends on Augusta.
All three meets get under way at 10 a.m.
Eastern and northern Maine schools will be well-represented in the title meets. Among the front-runners are the girls from Bangor High, who will try to overcome the likes of Edward Little of Auburn and Scarborough.
Coach Joe Quinn’s Rams are spearheaded by juniors Grace Maclean and Denae Johnson and sophomore Tiffany Gray.
Maclean is the top seed in the high jump at 5 feet, 5 inches and the long jump (17-7¾) and is third in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. Gray is the top performer in the triple jump (36-4) and the No. 2 seed in the long jump, while Johnson ranks second in the 300 hurdles and third in the 100 hurdles.
Other likely scorers are juniors Ally Vanidestine and Courtney Lizotte in the pole vault, along with Bangor’s 4×100 relay squad, which is seeded second.
Among individuals, Brewer junior sprinter Teal Jackson is seeded first in the 400 (57.39) and third in the 100 and 200. Junior Erzebet Nagy of Lawrence High in Fairfield is a triple threat as the No.1 seed in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 28.3 seconds) and 800 (2:16.27) and the second seed in the 3,200.
The Class A boys meet is very much up for grabs, with six teams projected to be within six points of each other based on the seeds. Gorham may be the team to beat, but Sanford, Cheverus of Portland, Bonny Eagle of Standish, Edward Little and Brunswick all are within striking distance.
Individual contenders include Harlow Ladd of Messalonskee in Oakland, the top seed in the 1,600 (4:25.71) and the 3,200 (9:38.13), and pole vaulters Conor Patrick of Hampden Academy (13 feet) and Joe Hayden of Brewer (12-6).
In the Class C event at Augusta, Orono’s youthful and talented girls team has the opportunity to capture a state crown.
Coach Chris Libbey’s Red Riots look to freshmen Abby Weigang and Diana Tyutyunnyk, along with junior Kayla Marquis and frosh Lily Koffman, to set a strong tone.
Weigang’s 49.08 clocking is the best in the 300 hurdles and she also is seeded second in the 100 hurdles and the pole vault. Tyutyunnyk is the top seed in the long jump (16-10) and is second in the 100 and third in the 200.
Marquis tops the pole vault field at 9-6 and is the No. 4 seed in the high jump and 300 hurdles, while Koffman is seeded fourth in the 1,600 and sixth in the 3,200. Each of Orono’s three relays also is a No. 2 seed.
Traip Academy of Kittery, John Bapst of Bangor, Lisbon and Maranacook of Readfield are other top-five candidates.
Abby Mace of Maranacook is the distance performer to chase in the 1,600 (5:09.48) and 3,200 (11:13.64), while John Bapst jumper Carolyn Benner may bid for individual honors.
The Class C boys meet also features one of the most prolific athletes in the state in Miguel Caballero. The Orono senior goes into the meet as the favorite in the 200 (23.14), 400 (51.88) and long jump (21-5¾), and is seeded second in the 100.
Sacopee Valley of South Hiram must deal with Orono, Lisbon and North Yarmouth Academy in the pursuit of the team title. Matt McClintock of Madison is the top seed in the 1,600 (4:21.42) and the 3,200 (9:18.58) and is second in the 800.
Class B teams descend on MDI, where the Waterville girls are the overwhelming favorite to take home the championship trophy.
The Panthers have scorers in numerous events, led by distance specialist Bethanie Brown, the No. 1 seed in the 1,600 (4:51.84) and the 3,200 (10:32.90). Other mainstays are Alex Jensen, who tops the triple jump (35-11¾) and is second in the long jump and 100 hurdles; Olivia Thurston, who is first in the 300 hurdles (45.41), third in the 100 hurdles and fourth in the 200; and Georgia Bolduc (second seed in 100, 200; third in pole vault).
Waterville also has the fastest 4×100 and 4×400 quartets.
On the boys side, York and Falmouth both appear to have enough horses to bring home the team title, but must perform well to emerge victorious. Waterville and Greely also have solid squads.
York’s key performers are Tom Reid, who is the No. 1 seed in the 300 hurdles (40.38) and is second in the 110 hurdles and third in both the long and triple jumps. Tyler Martin should score in the high jump, 200 and 110 hurdles, while Josh Brooks is seeded in the 200 and 400. The Wildcats also boast the fastest 4×100 relay.
Falmouth’s leaders are Reid Pryzant (first 110 hurdles, 15.54; third 300 hurdles) and Jacob Buhelt (second 200, fourth 100) and Timothy Follo (second 1,600, second 3,200).
Eastern Maine individual achievers are spearheaded by Camden Hills sprinter Caleb Pease, the top seed in the 200 (22.56) and 400 (50.68) and second in the 100. Medomak Valley of Waldoboro is led by Yannick Price-Prevost (first discus, 158-8; second shot put) and Jonathan Hendrickson-Belloguet (first triple jump, 43-8).
Also among the top seeds are 3,200 runner Dan Curts of Ellsworth (9:38.86), long jumper Marcus Reilly of Belfast (20-7¼) and racewalker Josh Kovach of Caribou (7:53.09).