Around the Track with Sam Bonsey


Athletes around the state had one last weekend to show off their talents before they gear up for the championship season, which is on the horizon. There was some great action at the Cumberland County Championships in Scarborough, and more state-leading marks around the state. Let's take a look at the highlights.



Sprints



The marquee sprint race of the weekend came at the Cumberland County Championships at Scarborough High School as two of the state's top sprinters -- Westbrook senior Shammah Gahomera and Scarborough freshman Jarett Flaker -- faced off in the 110-meter hurdles. Gahomera, the third-place finisher in the 300-meter hurdles at last year's Class A Stae Championships, got the better of Flaker, finishing in a state-leading time in 14.83 seconds. Flaker was .08 back in 14.91. It was the first time both athletes have gone under 15 seconds in their respective careers in the event. For Gahomera, it's reassurance that he is now a state title threat in the event. The time wasn't an anomaly for him; he ran 15.08 seconds in the preliminary rounds, which would currently rank as the fourth-fastest time in the state regardless of class. Flaker's run currently sits as the eighth-fastest time in the U.S. among freshmen.


24 hours before Gahomera and Flaker raced, it was Messalonskee senior Tanner Burton who would break 15 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles first in 2017 at the Community Cup Classic at Winslow High School. Burton ran 14.91 seconds to win the event by nearly a .5 seconds. His day wasn't done as he later finished second in the 200-meters to Ben Smith of Winslow, running 23.17 seconds. Smith won in a time of 22.73 to break 23 seconds for the third time this season. Burton also anchored Messalonskee's 4x100-meter relay time, which won in a time of 45.97 seconds. Smith would also go on to compete in the 400-meters, and finish second to Burton's teammate, Zachariah Hoyle. Hoyle won in a personal-best of 51.17 seconds, with Smith a step behind in 52.10.



Cheverus freshmen Emma Gallant had arguably the best week for a female sprinter around the state last week. It started at Portland High School back on May 17 when she won the 100-meters and 200-meters, running personal-bests in both races. She ran 12.70 seconds in the 100m to win by over half-a-second, the won the 200m in 25.70 to break 26 seconds for the first time of her career. Two days later at the Cumberland County Championships at Scarborough High School, Gallant defeated a loaded field in the 200m, running 26.20 seconds. In the process, she beat teammate Emily Turner (27.11) and Scarborough freshmen Emily Labbe (27.29). Gallant, Turner and Labbe each rank in the top-20 in the 200m across the state. Following her 200m victory, Gallant won the 400-meters, running a state-leading time of 59.14 seconds..

Lincoln Academy junior Tahlia Mullen broke 60 seconds in the 400m for the first time this season at the Downeaster Classic in Belfast on May 19. Mullen won the event in a time of 59.78 seconds, which sits as the second-fastest time in Class B. Mullen followed up her performance in the 400m with a win in the 200m, running 26.64 seconds. That time currently sits as the third-fastest in the class. Expect the 200m and 400m at the Class B State Championships to be absolute barn-burners with Mullen, Ashley Anderson of MDI and Madison Post of Gray-New Gloucester all going at it. Speaking of both Anderson and Post, both athletes turned fast 200ms this weekend. Anderson won both the 200m and 400m at Ellsworth High School back on May 19, running 25.99 and 1:02.05. She won both events by nearly four seconds. Her time in the 200m marked the second time in her career she's gone under 26 seconds (she ran 25.69 on May 12 which is the fastest time in the state). Post threw down a 26.01 second 200m on her home track in Gray on May 19, which set a PB in the event by over a second. That now sits as the second-fastest time in Class B.


Washington Academy junior Michaiah Robinson threw down an impressive triple at Orono High School last Friday. Robinson cruised to wins in the 100-meters, 200-meters and 400-meters and set state-leading marks in the 200m and 400m. He won the 100m in 11.434 seconds, then broke 23 in the 200m for the first time this season running 22.70, and ran 50.83 seconds in the 400m. He won the 400m by almost four seconds. The 22.70 for Robinson is just off his personal-best of 22.61 which he ran at the New England Championships last June. Robinson is the defending Class C Champion in the 200m and 400m and finished sixth at the New England Championships in the 400m. He has yet to run under 50 seconds competing in Maine (he ran 49.49 at the IAAF World Youth Championships, competing for the Bermuda National team back in 2015) but is poised to dip under that barrier in the coming weeks when he faces tougher competition.

Field

There were state-leading marks set in the long jump and triple jump at the Cumberland County Championships at Scarborough High School. Cheverus sophomore Emma White jump to a big PB in the long jump, jumping 17 feet, 4.5 inches to beat out Kaleisha Towle of South Portland High School, who jumped 17-02 feet. White's jump set a PB by nearly a foot -- she jumped 16-07.5 feet at the New England Championships last spring. Towle's jump set a PB by two-and-a-half inches and is currently tied for second in the state in the event. Looking ahead towards the Class A State Championships, the girls' long jump is expected to be one of the deepest events of the day. While White is currently the state-leader in the event, the Class A has four of the top-five marks in the state. Neither White's nor Towle's day was done however. Towle went on to finish fourth in the 100-meter hurdles, while White finished second in the triple jump, jumping a PB of 35 feet, 8.75 inches. Winning the triple jump was Westbrook sophomore Nyagoa Bayak, who cleared 37 feet for the first time, jumping 37 feet, one inch. Bayak is the only female in the state to have jumped over 36 feet in the triple jump, let alone 37 feet.



Mattanawcook Academy sophomore continued his stellar season with wins in the long jump and the triple jump at Old Town High School on May 20. Thompson jumped 21 feet, 8.75 inches in the long jump to win by more than three feet, then jumped 46 feet, 7.25 inches to win the triple jump. He's currently the only athlete in Maine to have jumped over 45 feet this season.


Edward Little senior Britanee Nouchanthavong threw to a state-leading mark in the javelin at Brewer High School on May 20. The reigning Class A State Champion threw 120 feet, 5 inches, which is a season-best for Nouchanthavong, who is going for her third-consecutive state title. She's thrown over 100 feet five times this season and appears to be in better form at this junction this year than she was last spring. She threw a PB of 129 feet en route to her second Class A title last June, and is showing signs that she's ready to throw over 130 feet. She will likely go into the New England Championships as the third-best returner from a year ago after finishing fourth last season.


York's Jake Martin and MDI's Noah Hutchinson have appeared to have separated themselves from the rest of Class B in the high jump. Martin, who finished sixth at the State Championships last season, cleared 6 feet, 3 inches at Kennebunk High School on May 18. The height set a PB and marked the second time he's cleared over six feet this season. Hutchinson, who finished third at last year's state meet, cleared 6 feet, 2 inches at Ellsworth High School on May 19. The mark was two inches off his PB of 6-04. He's cleared at least six feet in every meet this season thus far.



Distance



MDI senior Tia Tardy looked dominant in her wins the 800-meters and 3,200-meters at Ellsworth High School on May 19. She won the 3,200m, running 11:44.39 to win by over two-minutes, then showed off her prowess in the 800m, running a season-best of 2:15.53 to win by nearly 19 seconds. The time set a state-leading mark in the event. Staying in the 800m, South Portland junior Juliana Selser broke 2:20 for the second time this season, running 2:16.46 at Portland High School, which stood at the fastest time in the state for 48 hours. Selser made it look easy, too, winning by more than 10 seconds. Selser and Tardy have competed against each other just once with Selser gaining the advantage in the 800m at the New Balance Indoor Nationals back in March, running 2:14.30 to Tardy's 2:14.34. Hopefully we are able to witness a scenario where both athletes compete against each other at the New England Championships, which should result in some very quick times.


The most exciting distance race of the weekend came in the 3,200m at the Cumberland County Championships. Gorham freshmen Iris Kitchen faced off against Scarborough junior Bethany Sholl with Kitchen getting the better oh Sholl, winning in a PB of 11:41.17 with Sholl less than half-a-second back in 11:41.48. Sholl is the defending state champion in the event, and should still be considered a favorite to win for the second-straight year. Class A is loaded with talented runners including -- but not limited to -- Louise Holway of Kennebunk, Katherine Leckbee of Mt. Ararat, Ami Beaumier of Bonny Eagle and Anna Slager of Gorham, which should create a scintillating race in June.


Hampden Academy senior Paul Casavant set the standard in Class A in the 3,200m at Old Town High School on May 20. Casavant ran a PB of 9:36.04 to beat teammate Wyatt Lord, who broke 16:00 in the 5k in cross-country, by 43 seconds. Six days before Casavant ran his Class A leading time, he competed in the 5,000-meters at the New Balance Twilight Invitational at UMass-Lowell, running 15:18.30. These times have to be very encouraging for Casavant, who won the 2-mile at the Indoor Championships earlier this year. He chose to only race the 1,600m at last year's state championships -- and ran to a strong fifth-place finish against a very deep field -- but the 2-mile/3,200 is his premiere event and will be the Class A favorite going into the postseason.



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