Hampden track and field standouts commit to Division I programs

Posted Dec. 16, 2016, at 5:14 p.m.

Shortly before Thanksgiving, Mount Desert Island distance running standout Tia Tardy announced her commitment to run at Bucknell University.

Now, one of the top throwers in the state will be joining Tardy at the Patriot League institution.

Hampden Academy senior Daija Misler, the reigning Eastern Maine Indoor Track League-PVC champion in the shot put who also was the Class A state runner-up as a junior, has committed to join the Bison.

In addition, classmate Paul Casavant, one of the top distance runners in the state, has committed to Ivy League institution Cornell University, according to Hampden coach Jason Kash.

Misler will be a scholarship athlete at Bucknell. However, the Ivy League does not award athletic scholarships.

Misler said Friday she is looking forward to being teammates with Tardy.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “I cannot even say how excited I am. She’s such an incredible athlete.”

Misler added she fell in love with the Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, school upon visiting.

“I went down for an official visit, and I had a really great time,” she said. “I got to meet the team, they were super supportive of one another. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.”

Misler set a New Balance Field House facility record last February in the shot put, winning the EMITL championships in Orono with a throw of 38 feet, 10 inches.

She would go on to cap her junior year with third-place finishes in the shot put and discus in the Class A state outdoor championship meet.

“She’s extremely important to the program,” Kash said. “She’s not only a talented thrower in her own right, but also a great presence on the team.”

Kash, in his first year as a head coach, said that’ll be a vital asset this winter as he’ll have a young group.

“As a senior, she’s played a vital role already even in the preseason workouts, motivating and teaching and showing the young athletes,” he said.

Misler, who also considered Lehigh, the University of Maine, Quinnipiac and Northeastern, hasn’t decided on a major yet but will be in Bucknell’s school of arts and sciences.

She feels her best event is the shot put, and she is hoping to break the 40-foot barrier this winter.

Kash said it’s a great thing for eastern Maine track to have two athletes from the same league commit to the same institution.

“I know they’ve been in contact since they’ve both been accepted,” he said.

Kash said Casavant, the defending Class A state champion in the 2-mile run, has a dedication level similar to that of Misler.

“He’s an extremely hard worker and very optimistic,” Kash said. “He’s got a great attitude about what he needs to do.”

Casavant had an outstanding junior campaign for the Broncos, sweeping the distance races at the EMITL championships to win the meet’s Top Performer award.

He followed that up with a win in the 2-mile at the Class A state meet.

Casavant had a limited fall cross-country season because of illness, but he qualified for the New England championships while leading the Broncos to a runner-up team finish in the Class A North regional race.

“Right now he’s coming off a cross-country season that had limited miles, [but] he very much wants to get back in the longer distance races,” Kash said.

The EMITL-PVC season kicks off with multi-team meets Saturday and Monday at UMaine.

Follow Ryan McLaughlin on Twitter at @rmclaughlin23.

 

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