Southwesterns Championship Event-by-Event Preview
By Darryl Wilkinson and Dan Medici
55m: James Ociti of Biddeford enters with the #1 seed 6.75; his time is only .01 ahead of #2 Derek Boissonnault (6.76) of TA. The difference may be that Ociti ran his time in the last regular season meet, whereas Boissonnault ran his fastest time in December at USM Relays. A couple of Cheverus runners, Jake Dixon (6.91) and Luke Trickey (6.94), and Scarborough runners, Cam Langlois (6.94) and Maxwell Ornstein (6.95) , round out the top 6 and will keep things interesting. With 15 runners entered who are under state qualifying time, expect the trials to be fast and competitive.
55h: Just like the 55m dash, the top two seeds in the hurdles are separated by just .01. Biddeford’s Justin Gagnon and Cheverus’ Isaac Yeboah have run 8.01 and 8.02 this winter, and in fact they ran those times in the same meet two weeks ago. Both could make a run at the SMAA record of 7.96. Other hurdlers to watch include Scarborough’s Cam Langlois (8.25), Cheverus’ Elijah Yeboah (8.33) and Gorham’s Travis Grant (8.75), who has a PR from last season of 8.19 and is rounding into shape after being due to an injury earlier in the season.
200m: The Sr. 200 should be one of the best races of the day. Jake Dixon (22.96) is the top seed; he enters with the only sub-23 mark, which he ran last week at Vanderbilt. Teammate Isaac Yeboah is the #2 seed with a 23.40, but expect the rest of the field to give these two plenty of competition. James Ociti (23.56) should provide a challenge; he has an outdoor PR of 22.88. Also watch out for a pair of Scarborough runners: Cam Langlois (24.03) and Maxwell Ornstein (24.02). Dont be surprised if Elijah Yeboah (24.78) makes the podium from a slower heat. He has an outdoor PR of 23.44. With such a deep field, Ethan Beaulier’s league record of 23.13 may be in jeopardy.
400m: Unfortunately, Deering’s Hany Ramadan (50.59) is not entered in the 400m. It would have been a great race between Ramadan and #1 seed James Ociti, as they are the only runners in the state to dip under 51 this year. With Ramadan running other races, it would be a major upset if Ociti, the defending SMAA champ, is beaten. He will likely be looking to take down his own SMAA record of 50.47. The field includes 6 other runners who have a mark under 54, so expect the pace to be quick.
800m: Senior Alex Karam of Scarborough enters the 800m with the leading seed of 2:02.03 that he clocked at the Dartmouth Relays. Right on his heels is Junior Hany Ramadan (2:02.71) of Deering, who has only run the 800m once before. The 800m will be Ramadan’s 2nd individual race of the day after the 600y, so it may come down to what he has left in the tank. Looking to make it interesting is Jon Gray (2:04.45) of Gorham and Jeremy Richards (2:07.53) of Westbrook. Senior Jon Bagley (2:08.47) of South Portland rounds out the top 5 here. Gray (3rd), Karam (4th), and Bagley (6th) all scored in last year’s meet.
Long Jump: State-leading Andrew Smith (21’1”) of Thornton Academy is out for the rest of the indoor season because of a hamstring injury so that opens the door for others. Deering’s Ricardo Delgado is the top seed with a jump of 20’7.5”, but he has not competed since December 14th. This could be good news for a few South Portland athletes, Ben Michaud and Duncan Preston, who have marks of 20’ and 19’11.75” respectively. Preston won the event last year with a 20’0.5” jump. Dylan Smith of Thornton Academy (19’10.5”) could also find himself at the top of the podium. Michael Cuesta is a potential dark horse candidate. He has a jump of 19’4” this year, but he is the #1 triple jumper by a wide margin and could be in line for a big PR in long jump.
Triple Jump: South Portland will look to dominate this event as they have the top 3 seeds, and could potentially score 20-25 points in this event alone. Michael Cuesta (43’1.25”), Duncan Preston (41’10”), and Ben Michaud (40’11.75”) are ranked 1-2-3. Cuesta, a junior, is the SMAA record holder in the event, and Preston was SMAA champ last year. Teammate Anthony Tran (39’1.25”) is a dark horse candidate. He is ranked 6th, but has only done the triple jump twice in a meet. Noble’s Tyler Joy (40’4”) is the only other competitor with a mark over 40’ this winter. Also watch out for #5 Justin Gagnon of Biddeford who has an outdoor PR of 40’10”.
High Jump: Junior Jacob Schott of Cheverus has the highest clearance this season, with a jump of 6’2”. Behind him is Senior Ricardo Delgado (6’0”) of Deering. These two provide the only 6’+ jumps in field. Edward James, who stands just 5’5” himself, has jumped 5’8” this season. Dylan Smith (5’8”) of Thornton is right there with him. Henry Curran (5”6”) of South Portland could add to his team’s dominance in the jumping events.
Shot Put: Scarborough has the top two seeds in Michael Pino and Hugh Mcsorley, with throws of 49’6.25” and 49’4.25” respectively. However, #3 Duncan Preston of South Portland is the only thrower in the field who has ever thrown over 50’; last year at states Preston threw 51’2.25”. Nick White of Cheverus and Cody Meserve of Thornton Academy both have PRs of over 47’ and could challenge for the top spot as well.
4x200m: The meet’s final race is typically the most anticipated and most fun to watch. Scarborough enters as the favorite to win. They are the only team to go under 1:34 this season, and they would love to eclipse the SMAA record of 1:33.69 that Cheverus set last year. Cheverus (1:34.69) enters as the 2 seed and could easily challenge the Red Storm for the victory. Both teams have at least four runners who have qualified for states in the 200m, so this race may come down to whether each team puts forth its best combination of runners.
600y: The 600y will be a great race. Junior Hany Ramadan comes in with the top seed of 1:16.82. This will be his first of 2 circular events (800m) on the day, and he has a chance to break the league record of 1:16.0. Right behind him is Colin Jones (1:17.96) of Scarborough. Tyler Lebel (1:19.23) of Thornton and Junior Jon Gray (1:19.65) of Gorham also have notched sub-1:20 times this season. A dark horse in this race may be Senior James Patchell (1:22.42) of Bonny Eagle. Look for him to possibly grab an upset top 3 finish.
Mile: Although the times don’t necessarily show it, this race is going to be a close one. Standout runner Colin Tardiff of Scarborough is out for the season with an injury. Now it’s up to teammate Jacob Terry of Scarborough who has the #1 seed with a clocking of 4:36.07. The #2 seed is Yahye Hussein (4:42.16) of Deering who is a threat to take the crown. Senior Ryan Cadorette (4:44.97) of Thornton is coming off of a great XC season and is also looking to take a shot at the win. Jacob Bloom (4:46.41) of Scarborough has the 4th seed and has put together some solid performances this season. Senior John Salamone (4:49.56) of South Portland broke 4:50 for the first time in his latest meet and is hoping to get on the podium, as he finished one spot short last year.
2 mile: Again, without teammate Colin Tardiff, Jacob Terry of Scarborough enters the 2 mile with a comfortable #1 seed, having clocked the only sub 10 time in the heat with a time of 9:56.00. He faces a familiar face in Ryan Cadorette (10:11.81) of Thornton, who is the #2 seed and finished 2nd in the event last year. After Iid Sheikh-Yusuf (10:21.75) of Deering, the race gets close with the next 3 runners (Aboud of Massabesic, Bradshaw of Gorham, and Fowler of Scarborough) all clocking times within a span of 7 seconds.
Pole Vault: The pole vault is always a fun event to watch. Scarborough Freshman Sam Rusak has the top seed at 12’11” and is a heavy favorite to finish atop the podium. Scarborough’s Edward James, Thornton’s Sam Tobin, and Gorham’s Dylan Truong have all cleared at least 11’ this season. After these top four, there are seven athletes possibly competing for two podium spots who have season bests of 9’ or 9’6”, so it will likely come down to the number of misses each athlete has.
4x800m: Scarborough is missing one of its top 800m runners in Colin Tardiff and may be resting some of its other guys, so look for this to be a much closer race than what the seeds show. Both Gorham (9:04.59) and South Portland (9:11.90) could have a shot at the upset. Cheverus (9:25.22) and Windham (9:31.23) round out the top 5.
Sprint medley: The sprint medley is a hard race to predict because you never know which runners each team will enter. The 800m leg is by far the most important, so it may come down to which teams put in their best 800m runner. Scarborough shouldn’t have a problem finding someone to run the 800m leg, as they have several good options. Deering has the #3 seed and could potentially put Hany Ramadan (2:02.71) in the last leg, which would be a big boost.
55m: Three runners in the field are under the state qualifying mark of 7.10: Thornton Academy’s Dan Marsh (7.01) and Alex Arnold (7.09) and Windham’s Eric Webb (7.07). Look for these three to push each other to sub-7 times. After that, there are seven athletes with a mark of 7.34 or better who might be competing for just three spots on the podium.
55h: In the junior hurdles, Scarborough’s Griffin Madden (pictured above) has the top seed at 8.35. At USM Relays, Madden ran 8.41 with the high hurdles, which could be an indication that he can run even faster than his seed time. Expect Madden’s main competition to come from Windham’s Ernie Ruby (8.66) and Gorham’s Brandon Kuusela (9.11).
200m: Eric Webb of Windham and Dan Marsh of Thornton Academy are the two favorites in the junior 200 with times of 24.66 and 24.80 respectively. They are the only two runners with a seed time under 25. Gorham’s Emerson Fox is the only other competitor who has hit the state qualifying mark of 25.20, but #4 Ernie Ruby of Windham is close with a 25.32.
400m: Dan Marsh of Thornton was a man amongst boys this season in the junior 400, running a leading time of 53.51. This leads the field by a whopping 2.57 seconds! He may be running alone, which may make it hard for him to make a run at the league record of 52.68. Unless Marsh completely strays from his gameplan, look for Elliot Youth (56.08) of Scarborough, Keegan Fowler (56.72) of Thornton and Ernie Ruby (56.89) of Windham to battle it out for 2nd place honors.
800m: Jacob Maloney of South Portland looks like a clear-cut favorite in this one. This will be his first and only individual race of the day, probably coming after a 4x800 leg earlier in the meet. With a time of 2:10.50, he finds himself over three seconds ahead of Connor Doherty (2:13.68) of Scarborough who comes in at the #2 seed. Look for Ben Steeves (2:14.72) of Bonny Eagle and Gavin Damian-Loring (2:15.80) of South Portland to make it interesting. Ethan Orach (2:17.70) of Gorham, younger brother of successful distance-runner Jesse Orach, hopes to make a run at a top 3 finish.
Long Jump: Sophomore Alex Arnold of Thornton Academy (19’1”) has a 1’4” lead over the rest of the field. Freshman Sam Rusak of Scarborough is the #2 seed at 17’9”. Since the #2 through #6 seeds are only seeded 8” apart, don’t be surprised if there are a few upsets.
Triple Jump: Alex Arnold (38’7”) of Thornton has a 1’2” lead over #2 Elliot Youth (37’5”) of Scarborough. Branden Kuusela (36’6”) of Gorham and Lee Tasker (36’0”) of Noble will battle it out for top 3 honors. Noah Blake (35’10”) of South Portland rounds out the top 5 and could add even more points to South Portland’s triple jump success on the day.
High Jump: Freshman Sam Rusak of Scarborough has put up a big boy’s jump of 5’10” this season, claiming the #1 seed in the field. If he can clear 6’0” he will tie the SMAA record. Isaac Houston (5’8”) of Noble and Jacob Hale (5’8”) of Thornton also look to contend for the win. After Alexander Herbert (5’6”) of Westbrook, it is wide open for the last 2 podium spots, as 5th through 11th place are separated by just 4”.
Shot Put: School record holder Danny Guiliani of South Portland is a huge favorite in this event as his mark of 44’6” is almost 5’ ahead of #2 ranked Matt Brady of Biddeford. The battle for second through sixth place could be interesting as seeds 2 through 8 are separated by about 4’.
4x200m: No team has gone under 1:40 this year so far, but that will probably change come Saturday. Scarborough has the fastest time on the season, 1:40.88. While South Portland, and Noble have the next fastest times in the 1:44 range and we all know that relay times are almost always fastest in championship meets.
55m: Expect a fast 55m, as the top ten competitors have times between 7.59 and 7.91. There will be a lot of competition just to make the final. The number one seed is Thornton Academy’s Alexandra Pettaway (7.59). She is just ahead of #2 Meredith Willard (7.64) of Cheverus. Other contenders for the top spot include Brittney Arsenault (7.77) of Westbrook and Lauren Magnuson (7.82) of South Portland.
55h: Junior star Tori Daigle of Thornton Academy has by far the best seed time with a mark of 8.78. Sitting at #2 is teammate Amanda Arnold who is .42 seconds behind Daigle at 9.25. Expect there to be competition from seniors #3 Rashad Zagon (9.55) of Deering and #4 Elsa Curran (9.60) of McCauley.
200m: The 200 should be a great race as the top five seeded athletes are all within .52 seconds of each other. Thornton Academy’s Tori Daigle is #1 seed with a 27.35, followed by Cheverus’ Meredith Willard (27.42) and South Portland’s Lauren Magnuson (27.59) who round out the top three. Make sure to pay attention to heat 1 where Bonny Eagle’s Audrey Weyand will be running with no seed time. The senior star ran 26.69 last year at states and has an outdoor PR of 25.93. Provided she is healthy, she might wind up on top of the podium out of the slow heat.
400m: Despite an early season hamstring injury, Bonny Eagle stand out Audrey Weyand managed to hold onto the #1 seed in the 400m with her only run of the season, clocking a 1:03.3. She has an indoor best of 58.79, which she could improve, depending on the state of her injury. Right behind her are Brittney Arsenault (1:03.69) of Westbrook and Lauren Shoemaker (1:03.70) of Windham. Katherine Kirk (1:04.49) of Scarborough and Casey Kelley (1:04.61) of South Portland will battle it out inside the top 5.
800m: This race will be another Shannon Conley (South Portland) vs. Bonny Eagle runner showdown, after she battles Kialeigh Marston in the mile. This time Kyuanna Libby (2:24.39) of Bonny Eagle is the #1 seed, with Senior Shannon Conley (2:26.88) of South Portland right behind her with the #2 seed. This will be Conley’s second event of the day, so we’ll see how she recovers from the mile. Mackenzie Rayner (2:29.48) of Westbrook, Mackenzie Joy (2:30.27) of Windham, who will have competed in the 600y as well, and Jackie Turner (2:30.34) of Gorham round out the top 5.
Long Jump: Thornton Academy should dominate this event as they have the top three competitors by seed. Thornton athletes Tori Daigle (16’8.75”), Alexandra Pettaway (16’2.25”), and Amanda Arnold (16’0.5”) are the only athletes who have jumped 16’ this season. Arnold is the defending champ in the event. Also watch out for #4 junior Milena Opielowski of Cheverus who has a mark of 15’7.25”, but has broken 16’ each of the last two indoor seasons.
Triple Jump: Alexandra Pettaway of Thornton looks to take home a win, as she is the #1 seed with a leap of 33’2.5”. Senior Bridget Campbell (32’09.25”) of South Portland looks to make things interesting at the top. Hannah Southard (32’03.25”) of Gorham and Brayden Costa (32’03”) of Thornton will also contend for the top spot. Madison Bolduc (31’11”) of Portland rounds out the top 5.
High Jump: Senior Leah Dodier of Marshwood enters the contest with a leading jump of 5’2”. Behind her are Sophomore Sarah Rinaldi (5’0”) of Scarborough and Senior Rashad Zagon (5’0”) of Deering. Look for both of them to take a shot at the win. Dodier and Zagon both have PR’s of 5’4”, so this will be an interesting one to watch.
Shot Put: Kaeleigh Harrison of Thornton Academy is the only athlete with a 35’ throw this winter, but this event could be closer than you might think. #2 and defending champion Lonnie Staten of Windham and #3 Alexis Elowitch of Deering both have PRs of over 35’, and #4 Junior Michelle Medici (33’6”) of South Portland beat Harrison head-to-head in the last meet of the regular season. Medici has improved by almost a foot in each of her last two meets, and could be primed for another big PR.
600y: Senior Edie Pallozzi (1:28.20) of Deering comes into this race with a 5.67 second lead and could be primed to take down the league record of 1:27.8. After Pallozzi there is #2 seed Jackie Turner (1:33.87) of Gorham. Lizzy Fowler (1:35.53) of Deering could make a run at 2nd place as well. Mackenzie Joy (1:37.19) of Windham and Danielle Breunig (1:37.57) of Westbrook will look to take top 5 honors.
Mile: This will be Shannon Conley’s first showdown of the meet against a Bonny Eagle runner as she takes on Kialeigh Marston of Bonny Eagle. Conley (5:24.75) has the slight edge over Marston (5:25.95). 3rd place through 8th place are separated by just 8 seconds, so podium places are achievable for several hopefuls.
2 mile: Expect Kiera Murray of Cheverus and Mary Szatowski of Bonny Eagle to be way ahead of the pack in this one. The seniors have seed times of 11:34 and 11:35 respectively and placed 2nd and 3rd in last year’s meet. Massabesic has two runners, Angel Waters (11:53) and Gabrielle Johnson (12:15), who are ranked 3-4.
Pole Vault: Sophia Swiatek of Gorham is the only athlete who has cleared 9’6” this season. Cailley Ledue of Scarborough is right behind her at 9’. After these top two, anyone can step up and make the podium. There are seven athletes who have cleared at least 7’, with several of them clearing 7’6” and 8’. The third through six spots may be decided by number of attempts needed to clear the bar.
4x800m: Not surprisingly, Bonny Eagle has the top seed in the girls 4x800m relay with a seed time of 10:31. Another impressive squad to look out for is Massabesic’s, who has a 10:33 seed to their name. Cheverus (10:45.59), South Portland (10:45.90) and Scarborough (10:47.20) will look to shake things up in the top 5.
Sprint medley: The sprint medley has potential to be a great race as the top four are separated by five seconds, which is not a lot considering the 800m leg could make or break each team. Bonny Eagle may be a tentative favorite for this event, as they could run Audrey Weyand in the 400m leg and they have several good 800m runners.
55m: Only 3 girls have broken the elusive 8.00 second barrier in the jr 55m this winter. Callie O’Brien (7.82) of South Portland is the favorite here, with Elisabeth Redwood (7.90) of Bonny Eagle and Courtney Arsenault (7.93) of Westbrook also looking to make a case for themselves. Don’t count out Lilly Thorne (8.05) of Portland and Shaylee Ashburn (8.07) of Noble, who could both easily go sub 8 with the competition they’ll see in the finals.
55h: Seven girls currently have marks under 10 seconds. The favorite is Olivia Libby (9.46) of Thornton Academy, who has a .23 lead over the closest competitor. After that the race is very interesting, as #2 Ellen Shaw (9.69) of Scarborough and #7 Samantha Richard (9.81) are separated by just .12 seconds. Places two through six are completely up for grabs in what should be a great race.
200m: The fast heat of the 200m should be a great race, as each of the six runners in this heat have qualified for states, which is uncommon for a junior division event. Freshmen Courtney Arsenault (27.70) of Westbrook and Natalie Dubois (27.75) of Marshwood are ranked 1-2. Arsenault and Dubois are ranked 6th and 7th in class A, which means a spot in the fast heat at states could be at stake for these two.
400m: Kialeigh Marston of Bonny Eagle looks to start the first of her two Jr. division races off with a bang. She comes in with a seed time of 1:00.63, which is a league record. It is also 1.96 seconds better than #2 seed Aly Atherton (1:02.59) of Scarborough. Sarah Mount (1:03.40) of Cheverus is the only other runner in the race to be under 64 seconds. Elisabeth Redwood (1:04.03) of Bonny Eagle also hopes to add to her team’s success.
800m: If you love rooting for the underdog, this is probably not your race. Kialeigh Marston of Bonny Eagle has run 2:17 this winter, which is 14 seconds better than the field. Marston is the defending champ and the Jr. division league record holder in the event, and her mark is actually better than the Sr. division record as well but will be running in her thrid consecutive race. If the field takes the race out hard Marston's kick will have a bit taken out of it or she could prove to be a machine. Looking at the seeds, it will probably take sub-2:40 to place in the top 6.
Long Jump: Sarah Mount of Cheverus is ranked #1 with a 14’11.5” jump; she would love to break 15’ for the first time. It will take a 15’3” to qualify for states, which would be a big accomplishment considering that only seven girls have qualified so far. Windham also has a chance to pick up some big points in this event, as they have #2 Julia Preston (14’8.75”) and #4 Alexis Wintle (14’4”).
Triple Jump: Olivia Libby (31’5.25”) of Thornton and Julia Preston (30’2.5”) of Windham are the only two girls entered in the competition with jumps over 30’. Don’t be surprised if Maquila Dimastrantonio (29’10.25”) of Massabesic makes it to the top of the podium. Alexis Wintle (29’03”) of Windham is the #4 seed and is the #1 seed in the high jump and #4 seed in the long jump, so look for her to add more points to her day here.
High Jump: This event will be a great battle, as the top four seeds all have jumps just 2” apart. Alexis Wintle (5’0”) of Windham and Callie O’Brien (5’0”) of South Portland are your two leaders, with Ellen Shaw (4’10”) of Scarborough and Lili Kien (4’10”) of Deering right behind them. The next six girls all have jumps of 4’8” which is sure to stir up the podium.
Shot Put: As usual, Thornton Academy is very strong in the shot put. They have three of the top six competitors, including the top two. Samantha Curran and Alexis Nason lead the field with throws of 31’2” and 30’4.5”. The top nine are all over 26’ so the field is pretty deep. Any of the nine has a chance to finish in the top six.
4x200m: Scarborough enters as the top seed, the Red Storm have a best of 1:57.97. They will be pressed by Deering & South Portland who both have run under 2 minutes this season. Cheverus, Bonny Eagle & Westbrook are all close as well and should be on contention.