WINDHAM, Maine — Synclaire Tasker knew she was in for a long day during Saturday’s Class A track and field state championship meet. With the sun beating down and the temperature hovering near 80 degrees, the Brewer High School senior would have to pace herself to excel.
Whether it was wearing a hat and sunglasses, sitting under the bleachers or reclining in the shade of a light pole, she made sure it was memorable.
Tasker won the 100-meter hurdles, the 300 hurdles and the triple jump and was second in the 200 meters, propelling the Witches to a third-place finish in the girls competition at Windham High School.
“I take it as it goes,” said Tasker, who will attend the University of Maine. “Everyone else is dealing with (the heat), too, so you’ve just got to do your thing.”
Thornton Academy of Saco took home the girls team title after Bonny Eagle of Standish was disqualified in the 4×400 relay and forfeited 10 points. The Trojans scored 65 points to overcome Bonny Eagle and Brewer finished third (52) followed by South Portland (51) and Edward Little of Auburn (48).
Cheverus of Portland captured its first Class A boys outdoor crown since 1988 as senior twins Isaac Yeboah and Elijah Yeboah powered the Stags to 99 points. Lewiston was second with 70, while Scarborough (61), Thornton Academy (45.5) and Edward Little of Auburn (39.5) rounded out the top five.
Tasker started with a victory in the 100-meter hurdles. She was tested, fending off a challenge from Tori Daigle of Thornton to win in 15.35 seconds.
Tasker followed with a dominating performance in the 300 hurdles as she clocked a 45.47 to defend her title and win by nearly three seconds.
“I was kind of going for the state record, but I’m happy with my PR (personal record). It’s almost a whole second (faster),” Tasker said.
Her bid for a four-event sweep ended in the 200, where she was outleaned by Bonny Eagle senior Audrey Weyand (26.70) by four-hundredths of a second.
Tasker responded by taking first place in the triple jump with a season-best leap of 37 feet, 3 1/4 inches.
Daigle, Amanda Arnold and Kaeleigh Harrison were the catalysts for the Thornton girls, who ended a 10-year outdoor title drought.
Daigle won the long jump (17-8 1/2) and was second in the 100 hurdles, while Arnold was second in the LJ and fourth in the 100 hurdles. Harrison claimed the shot put at 36-8 ½ and was fifth in the discus.
Arnold, Daigle, Anna Mehlinger and Alexandra Pettaway were fifth in the 4×100 relay. Five other athletes scored.
“This is the chance to show the hard work and for me, that’s the greatest payoff of all, because it’s their success,” said TA coach Lisa Huntress.
In the boys’ meet, seniors Isaac Yeboah and Elijah Yeboah combined to score 36 individual points and joined forces on the Stags’ record-setting 4×100 relay and their winning 4×400 relay.
Isaac Yeboah swept hurdles honors, taking the 110-meter race in 15.08 (a school record) to edge Elijah Yeboah by .04 seconds. He then nipped his brother by 0.29 seconds in the 300 hurdles with a time of 39.52.
“They were amazing,” said Stags coach Steve Virgilio said.
They combined with sophomore Luke Trickey and junior Jake Dixon to set a Class A record in the 4×100 relay with a 43.98 clocking. The Yeboahs, Dixson and junior James Hannigan then capped the meet by claiming the 4×400 in 3:25.98.
Dixon generated a buzz when he beat out Deering’s Hany Ramadan to win the 400 meters in 48.93, eclipsing Brian Pettingill’s school mark. Junior Nick White claimed the discus at 155-2 and was fourth in the shot put and classmate Jacob Schott placed third in the high jump.
“I’m blessed to be able to work here and to work with these girls and guys,” Virgilio said. “They give you everything every day. They’re intelligent. They’re selfless.”
Maddy Price of Skowhegan was among the Eastern Maine girls who won titles. The sophomore nipped South Portland’s Lauren Magnusson in the 100 (12.84).
“That felt amazing. It was good to know that all the hard work paid off,” said Price, who also was fourth in the triple jump.
Bonny Eagle sophomore Kialeigh Marston opened the meet by anchoring the Scots’ first-place 4×800 relay team (9:36.00), led wire to wire to claim the 1,600 (5:07.80), then won the 800 (2:19.39). Senior teammate Audrey Weyand won the 400 (57.69) and the 200 and ran the 4×800.
Messalonskee senior Kaitlin Eschenbrenner won the javelin (116-11) and junior Noah Stevens of Skowhegan took the pole vault (10-0). Brewer’s Candace Doughty was the runner-up in the shot put and placed third in the pole vault.
Among EM boys, Jon Stanhope of Bangor used a strong kick to capture the 1,600 meters (4:30.69). The senior held off a fierce challenge from Lewiston’s Osmon Doorow to win by five-hundredths of a second.
“I could feel him coming on the inside of me and I was like, oh crap, time to turn on the jets now,” said Stanhope, who was celebrating his 18th birthday. “It’s definitely the best run I’ve had all year.”
Rams senior Garrett Johnson cleared the bar at 13 feet on his third and final attempt to win the pole vault.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “My coaches and my parents were always helping me with this. It’s unbelievable.”
Lewiston’s Isaiah Harris impressed, breaking his own 800 record in 1:52.96) before clipping Dixon by 85/10,000ths of a second (.00085) in the 400 (22.76).
Hampden’s Jeremy Kelsey was second in the javelin and Messalonskee’s Damen Bickford was the runner-up in the shot put.