Garrett Graham’s recently completed indoor track season represented a comeback of All-New England proportions.
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound senior from Brewer High School not only won the Class B state championship in the shot put, but went on to place sixth in that event at last weekend’s 31st annual New England Indoor Track and Field Championships held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston.
Graham was one of the top performers from northern and eastern Maine at the New England championships, along with Orono High School junior Camille Kohtala, who placed fourth in the long jump with a best of 17 feet, 7.5 inches after placing second in that event and winning the 400 meters at the Class B state championships.
Graham’s performance is made more notable by the fact that he was unable to compete in either indoor or outdoor track during his junior year at Brewer because of surgery in January 2017 to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder suffered during the previous high school football season.
“I began throwing again last summer,” Graham said. “After the rehab I actually came back faster than I anticipated. Everything caught on smooth, I was able to catch up on my form nice and fast.”
Graham, whose career best in the indoor shot put is 52-11, was seeded 16th for the New England championships after winning the Class B state title with a best of 50 feet, 1.5 inches.
That he improved on that effort by nearly two feet at the New Englands with a top throw of 52 feet, .75 inches enabled him to exceed his seeding by 10 places.
“I’d call it a really good season,” Graham said. “I didn’t expect to throw in the 50s because I took a whole year off from indoor and outdoor because of my surgery. My sophomore year I was throwing around 46, so it was a little unexpected to throw 50-something.”
Graham will rejoin Brewer’s outdoor track team this spring to throw the shot put, discus and javelin before graduating and then continuing his football career as a preferred walk-on at the University of Maine.
While Graham will focus on developing as a defensive lineman for the Black Bears, he also is leaving open the possibility of joining the university’s indoor track team during the football offseason.
Among those who finished ahead of Graham at the New Englands was junior Jason Montano of Saco’s Thornton Academy, who won the boys shot put with a best throw of 55 feet, 10 inches.
Montano was one of two individual champions from the Pine Tree State along with Westbrook junior Nyagoa Bayak, who won the girls high jump with a best of 5 feet, 10 inches.
Fredette a New England champ
Winslow High School senior Ryan Fredette knows how to cap off a high school wrestling career.
Not only was he named most outstanding wrestler of the 54th annual New England Wrestling Championships at the Providence Career and Technical Academy in Providence, Rhode Island, last weekend, his championship-match victory was the 200th of his career.
Fredette, a four-time individual state champion for the Black Raiders who had lost a two-point decision in the 182-pound final of last year’s New England meet, capped off an undefeated senior season by going 4-0 at this year’s six-state championships.
He scored his first two victories by decision, then pinned Zach Caffrey of Killingly, Connecticut, at 4:13 of their semifinal. He pinned Tommy Wrzesein of Chariho High School of Wood River Junction, Rhode Island, at 4:22 of their championship match.
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Editor’s note: This story was corrected on March 8, 2018, at 2:25 p.m. to reflect that Kohtala finished second in the long jump at the Class B state meet.