May 21, 2019
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Casco native wins Division I long jump championship

Kate Hall wasted no time on Thursday night showing that she wanted to be a national champion.

Hall, a Casco native and a redshirt freshman at the University of Georgia, stood atop the podium in the women’s long jump at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Oregon.

The transfer from Iowa State, who finished fourth in the long jump indoors, broke her own Georgia school record by jumping 22 feet, 11 inches.

Hall had set the mark of 21-11 at the NCAA East Prelims two weeks ago. Teammate Keturah Orji finished right behind Hall at 22-0 1/4.

“The biggest highlight for us today was our 1-2 punch in the long jump with Kate Hall, a freshman, and Keturah Orji both going over 22 feet for 18 points,” Georgia head coach Petros Kyprianou said in a release posted on the team’s Web site. “These are two world-class athletes showing why people want to come to Georgia.”

Hall was one of the best high school track athletes Maine has ever seen, winning a whopping 26 state championships.

A fellow Mainer, Isaiah Harris of Lewiston (Penn State), ran to an impressive second-place finish in the men’s 800 meters on Friday night.

Harris, an Olympic Trials 800-meter finalist in 2016 who led the Nittany Lions to a Big 10 team championship, used an impressive last lap to kick to runner-up honors in 1 minute, 45.40 seconds.

Harris found himself at the back of the eight-man pack after the first lap, but turned on the jets and nearly caught champ Emmanuel Korir of Texas-El Paso, who covered the two laps in 1:45.03.

Harris was fourth in the half-mile at the NCAA indoor meet. He finished second in Wednesday’s prelims to advance to the final.

New England high school meet Saturday

A throng of Maine high school stars will be vying for podium spots in Saturday’s New England championship meet meet at Norwell, Massachusetts. Among them are some eastern Maine throwers who should be in contention for gold medals.

One of them is Brewer senior Austin Lufkin, the reigning meet champion in the shot put who also has an indoor New England championship to his credit.

Lufkin, who broke the 60-foot barrier over the winter, is the top seed in the shot put while fellow Mainers Matt Brady of Biddeford and Jake Koffman of Orono occupy the second and third seeds, respectively.

Lufkin claimed the Class A state title last weekend with a heave of 59 feet, 4 1/2 inches.

Lufkin and Koffman will also be going head to head in the discus, where the Wofford College-bound Lufkin is the No. 1 seed, with Koffman right behind in second.

Maine boasts the top four seeds in the discus, with Jake McCluskey of Brewer and Brady also in that group.

While Lufkin’s state-meet throw of 175-2 bested the 173-6 heaved by Koffman, Koffman has thrown 191-11 this spring, so the future Stanford University thrower will have a chance to best the meet record of 190-2, which has stood since 1979.

The boys meet features another top seed from Maine in Mattanawcook Academy sophomore Cayden Spencer-Thompson, who has blossomed into one of the nation’s top young jumpers.

Spencer-Thompson blew away the field at the Class C state meet, setting a state record at 47-3, while his 47-6 1/2 recorded in April is the best triple jump ever turned in by a Maine athlete.

Spencer-Thompson’s 47-3 last weekend goes into the books as the state record because state records can only be set during state-meet competition.

The Lynx’ sophomore will also compete in the long jump, where he is ranked seventh.

Spencer-Thompson’s cousin, Mount Desert Island senior Tia Tardy, has a great chance to get to the podium in a wide-open girls 800.

Tardy is seeded eighth at 2:14.76, but only five seconds separate her from No. 1 seed Kristine Schoffield of New Hampshire, who has run 2:09.30.

Tardy will also compete in the 4×800 relay.

The other regional athlete who has a chance to podium in the girls meet is Daija Misler of Hampden, Tardy’s future Bucknell University teammate.

The Broncos’ senior, the Class A state champion in the shot put, threw 41-7 1/2 last weekend and is ranked third among New England competitors.

Orono senior Hannah Steelman, the Class C state champ in the 1,600 and 3,200, will be seeking personal bests in those events while classmate Kassidy Dill will be looking for the same in the 800. Both Steelman and Dill are also expected to run on the Red Riots’ 4×800 relay.

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