Cheverus Women Sprint to State Title.


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The Cheverus Women claimed the state Class A team championship with 74 points. Thornton Academy was runner up with 60.5 just edging a third place Falmouth team that finished with 60.

But if the Stags had been given extra credit for margin of victory in individual races no one would have been close as they won several races going away. Emma Gallant took the 100 by nearly three-tenths of a second and the 200 by 1.1 seconds; Gallant had been seeded first in both races, and established new personal marks in each; her 200 time of 25:33 set a new state record.


Meanwhile Emily Turner defended her 2016 championship in the 400 with a cushion of 1.7, and both were part of a 4 x 400 relay that capped the afternoon with a hefty 9 second win. Turner also scored with second in 200 and helped the 4 x 100 to a 2nd place spot. Emma White won the long jump and was second in triple, establishing new longs in both events.

The Stags' 4 x 100 team was Gallant, White and Turner, joined by Katelyn Gendron. In the 4 x 400 Caroline Ford replaced Gendron. So Cheverus took the team championship with five firsts, three seconds and a total of five competitors.

By contrast Thornton Academy's points came without a single individual win. The Trojans 4 x 100 relay team of Sabria Merrifield, Kieya Dion, Katie-Marie Roy, and Mia Taranko wrested the top spot from favored Cheverus with a time of 50.55. Merrifield and Taranko added points finishing 2nd and 3rd in the 100. Taranko was runner-up in long jump and made her fourth trip to the podium with a third place finish in the triple. Thornton crowded the podium taking three spots in the shot put led by runner-up Samantha Curran; Curran also nabbed the third spot in the discus.

The facility at Massabesic is new and was hosting just its second meet so the track was pristine. The steep grandstand provides clear site-lines for the spectators. The only thing missing was a proper podium. A consistent head wind faced the sprinters and the home stretch for the distance runners; but cool temperatures and partial clouds provided comfortable conditions so with the heightened competition of a state meet plenty of individual marks and some new state records were set.

Nina Tasker of Noble took the 100-meter hurdle championship for a third straight year with a winning time of 15.28. The junior also took third in the 300-meter hurdles conceding the top spot to defending champion Jenny Martin of Lewiston. Martin ascended the podium three times; in addition to her win in the 300MH she took 4th in the 200, and was part of the 4th place Blue Devil 4 x100 team. The senior will be keeping her talents here in Maine next year at Bates.

The Blue Devils other individual championship belonged to Kayla Allen who took home the race-walk title for the fourth consecutive year with another huge margin.

Juliana Selser collected more than half of South Portland's 37 points with wins in the 800 and 1600. The junior also helped out in the Red Riots' 5th place 4 x 400 team. In the 800 Selser ran a comfortable 2:16.95 to defend her title from 2016 holding off Falmouth's Malaika Pasch. The two went at it again in 1600 pulling away from the pack at the half way point and really stretching the lead during the bell lap. Selser finished in 5:11.01; while Pasch crossed in 5:14.32 a full ten seconds ahead of third place Ami Beaumier of Bonny Eagle who headed a tight pack for the remaining podium spots. Isabella Pols of Brunswick slid into the fifth spot by winning the slow heat in a time of 5:27.53.


Beaumier returned the favor in the 3200 where Pasch led for much of the final 800 meters and held an eight-meter lead just after the bell; Beaumier and Gorham's Anna Slager made the best of the final lap. Beaumier put on a huge kick with about 200 meters to go, catching Pasch on the final turn and opening a big lead, Slager took the second spot in the final ten meters leaving Pasch to hold on to third place. It was a fast 3200 as Messalonskee's Peyton Arbour set the pace with a 1:17 first lap and held the lead until the halfway point before giving way to first seeded Helen Shearer of Hampden. The top six times, each established new personals mark, and all bested 2016's winning time. Beaumier's 11:22.53 knocked 9 seconds of her prior best.

Beaumier also helped the Scots open the meet with a first place finish in the 4 x 800 relay.

Nyagoa Bayak of Westbrook brought the Blue Blazes wins in the high and triple jumps. Her 5-04 was good enough to win on jumps with Windham's Lingdong Bol taking third. Massabesic's Moriah Biener was runner-up with a season's best at 5-04. Bayak's leap of 36-08 in the triple was an inch better than that of Cheverus' Emma White.

Adelaide Cooke of Falmouth took the discus title over Hampden's Daija Misler, but Misler took the top spot in the shot put. Cooke has won the discus title three of the last four years and finished third her sophomore year. In 2016 she capped her state title with a 2nd place finish at New Englands. Jadah Adams of Oxford Hills rounded out the throws with a win at the javelin area.

Coming out of the "slow heat."

When the last heat toes the line everyone believes that that they're looking at the top finishers, folks that will end up on the podium----it's just a question of which positions they'll all be in.

Most of the time.

Once in a while someone breaks out of the slow heat and snatches a spot on the podium. In the women's meet Brunswick's Isabella Pols, Scarborough's Gaby Panagakos, and Ashlee Vilasuso of Brewer made the most of their lower seeds and took home hardware.  

Vilasuso took 6th in the 300-meter hurdles with 49.39, clipping time off her seeded time of 50.14. Panagakos, running in the second of four heats, by-passed an entire heat to snatch the final medal in the 200 with a run of 27.09. Isabella Pols's win in the first heat of the 1600 by nearly 5 seconds at 5:27.53 slid her into the fifth spot in the podium. All three performances represented personal bests.


Topping the meet off.

With shadows stretching and the sun casting its rosy hue across the field, teams gathered in the infield to await the final results. Attention drifted to the south end zone where the woman's pole vault continued with three competitors still alive. Southwestern champion Anna Gardner, a first year from Scarborough, took second place on jumps over KVAC champion Lauren Berube of Edward Little; both cleared 10-06 to set new personal bests.

But Rihan Smallwood of Bangor kept jumping. Smallwood had won last season's state championship at 10-06 and had vaulted 10-06.5 to win the PVC large school championship this season, but had her eye on the state record. After winning the meet at 11-06, the bar was moved to 11-07.25 to crack the 11-07 state meet mark set by Cony's Lindsey Folsom in 2013. Smallwood cleared the bar on her third attempt to claim the record and close the meet.  


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