Around the Track with Sam Bonsey

Another week of Maine outdoor track is in the books and there were more state-leading marks and record-breaking performances. Let's took a look at the highlights of the week.

Sprinting Highlights

Winthrop freshmen Aaliyah Wilson-Falcone turned in the most surprising performance of the weekend, running a state-leading time in the 100-meters. At Telstar High School on May 9, Wilson-Falcone sprinted to a personal-best of 12.64 seconds to edge Keniesha Pinder of Hebron Academy who finished in 12.84. The time set a PB of Wilson-Falcone by almost two seconds. Her fast time immediately makes her a title threat in the event at the Class C Championships. Pinder would later claim a victory in the 200-meters, running 27.04 seconds to set a personal-best in the event. That time currently ranks as the fifth-fastest in the state, regardless of class.

MDI junior Ashley Anderson continued her claim as the top sprinter in Class B after she ran to a state-leading time in the 200-meters at Bangor High School on May 12. Anderson sprinted to a time of 25.69 seconds, which set a PB and marked the first time she's gone under 26 seconds in her high school career. Anderson also won the 100-meters, running 12.87 seconds.

Staying in Class B, Cape Elizabeth freshmen Darcy Cochran set a state-leading mark in the 300-meter hurdles at Fryeburg Academy on May 12. Cochran ran to a time of 47.71 seconds, which marked the first time she's gone under 50 seconds. Cochran won the 55-meter hurdles at the Class B Indoor Championships earlier this year, and has shown great versatility this spring. She's run 13.32 and 27.90 in the 100m and 200m, and also ranks third in the Class in the 100-meter hurdles having run 16.92 seconds.

Speaking of the 100-meter hurdles, Scarborough freshmen Emily Labbe ran to a state-leading mark in the event on her home track on May 9. Labbe ran to a time of 15.75 seconds to set a PB in the event and mark the first time she's gone under 16 seconds. Her teammate Ellen Shaw also dipped under 16 seconds in the same race, running 15.88 seconds which is also a personal-best. Labbe break 16 again at Gorham High School this past Tuesday, running 15.99 seconds. The 100mh should be one of the more compelling events at the Class A State Championships with the two teammates going at it, as well as Noble's Nina Tasker who has run 15.79 this season, and Lewiston's Jenny Martin who was the Class A runner-up in 2016.

There must be something in the water in Scarborough. Freshman Jarett Flaker continued his torrid start to the 2017 outdoor season. It started last Wednesday at Cheverus High School where he lowered his all-time freshmen record in the 200m, running 23.14 seconds. Three days later, he anchored Scarborough's 4x400-meter relay team to a state-leading time of 3:31.22. But it was what he did Tuesday afternoon at Gorham High School that really stole the show. Flaker won the 200m running 22.73 seconds to, yet again, lower his all-time freshmen best. Flaker led a remarkable Scarborough contingent in the event with Ben Batoosingh second in 23.04 and Sam Rusak fifth in 23.65. For good measure, Flaker also won the 100m running 11.55 seconds.

Thornton Academy senior Johnny Rosario joined the sub-23-second-club in the 200-meters this spring. At Massabesic High School on May 10, Rosario won the event running 22.98 seconds to break his previous personal-best of 23.20 which he ran the week before. He won the event by nearly a second.

Messalonskee senior Zachariah Hoyle continues to show his impressive range as he ran a state-leading time in the 400-meters at Maranacook High School on May 11. Hoyle ran 51.32 seconds, which set a PB in the event by sixth-tenths of a second. The ran and the win is particularly impressive when you considered he beat Ben Smith of Winslow who was second in 52.12. Winslow currently has the fastest time in the state in the 200m having run 22.83. Smith, however, was able to pick up a pair of wins the 100m and the 200m over teammate Jake Warn, a junior. Smith ran 11.50 to Warn's 11.59, then ran 23.25 in the 200m to edge Warn who ran a PB of 23.27. Warn's 200m time currently ranks fourth in the state, regardless of class.

Messalonskee senior Tanner Burton was third in the 200m, running 23.62. He would later win the 110-meter hurdles in 15.11 seconds to tie his state-leading mark.

Field Highlights

Thornton Academy freshmen Mia Taranko jumped to a state-leading mark in the long jump on May 12 on her home track. The Class A Indoor Champion jumped 16 feet, 11 inches to set a PB in the event. For good measure, Taranko also won the triple jump, jumping 33 feet, 1.5 inches.

The defending Class A pole vault state champion, Rihan Smallwood of Bangor High School, is off to a terrific start this spring. After clearing 10 feet back on April 28 at on her home track, Smallwood cleared 10 feet, 6 inches on May 12 to set a PB in the event. She's the only athlete in Class A to have cleared over 10 feet this spring.

Staying with the pole vault, Scarborough All-American Sam Rusak impressed in his first meet back from a legendary indoor season where he finished fourth in the pentathlon at the New Balance Indoor Nationals. On May 10 at Cheverus High School, Rusak cleared 15 feet in the pole vault to set a state-leading mark in the event. Three days later at the Westbrook Relays, Rusak cleared 15 feet again, with Travis Snyder of Thornton Academy second clearing 14 feet, 7 inches. Snyder, only a sophomore, broke the Maine freshman record in the pole vault last spring and is on his way to become the top vaulter in the state after Rusak graduates this summer. Snyder cleared 15 feet during indoor season and finished third in the event at the Class A State Championships. His 14-07 currently ranks 24th in the U.S. amongst the sophomore class.

Brewer senior Austin Lufkin picked up a pair of wins in the discus and the shot put at Old Town High School on May 12. He threw 53 feet, 10 inches to win the shot put, but it was his throw in the discus that stole headlines. Lufkin throw 182 feet, one inch to set a personal-best in the event by nearly 14 feet. The throw currently ranks second in the state behind, obviously, Jake Koffman of Orono, who has thrown over 190 feet three times this season.

Lufkin's Class A counterpart, Biddeford senior Matt Brady, had another strong showing this weekend, winning the shot put and the discus on May 10 at Westbrook High School. Brady tied his PB in the discus, throwing 161 feet, 11 inches, then threw 58 feet, 9 inches in the shot put to win both events with ease.

York senior standout Jake Martin had a tremendous showing at Falmouth High School on May 12. Martin won both the high jump and the long jump, setting PBs in both events. He cleared 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump, then jumped 21 feet, 5.5 inches in the long jump. The marks currently sit atop the Class B leaderboard. It's been a remarkable start of the season for Martin, who finished sixth in the high jump and 17th in the long jump at the State Championships last June. These marks should make him a title favorite in both events.

Distance Highlights

Yarmouth junior Luke Laverdiere made his way to White Plains, New York to compete in the 3,200-meters at the 50th Glenn D. Loucks Games. The Loucks Games is known historically to produce fast times early in the season and Laverdiere certainly took advantage of that as he won his heat in the 3200m, running a PB of 9:11.29 to win his heat and finish 14th overall. The time bettered his previous PB of 9:18.14, which he ran at the same meet in 2016. It's been a tremendous start for Laverdiere, who holds state-leading times in the 1,600 (4:21.26) and the 3,200. He's proven to be the top distance runner in Maine over the past year, and hopefully this performance gives him the confidence to finish high in either the 1,600 and 3,200 at the New England Championships next month. Laverdiere's time currently ranks 26th in the U.S. amongst the junior class.

Also competing at the Loucks Games was Laverdiere's teammate Abigail Hamilton who competed in the fast heat of the 3,200m. Hamilton finished 10th in her heat and 11th overall, running a PB of of 11:09.25 which is currently the fastest time in the state, regardless of class. Hamilton is the reigning Class B 3,200-meter state champion.

Bonny Eagle senior Ben Steeves continued his prowess in the 800-meters at an SMAA regular season meet at Cheverus High School back on May 10. Steeves lowered his state-leading time as he won in 1:55.31 to win by more than 11 seconds. It's a remarkable run for Steeves who should now be considered the favorite to win the event at the Class A Championships next month. He ran the time all alone and it makes you wonder how much faster he can run as the weather gets better and the competition becomes stronger. At the Westbrook Relays three days later, Steeves won the 1,600m running 4:34.93 to edge teammate Caleb Pendleton who ran 4:35.11.

Mount Desert Island senior Tia Tardy opened her season last Friday at Bangor High School, competing in the 800m and the 1,600. Tardy ran 2:16.82 and 5:08.18 to set state-leading marks in both events. This has to be an encouraging start to the season for Tardy, who has one of the most impressive track resumes in Maine High School history. Along with being 12-time individual state-title winner, Tardy also is knocking on the door on all-time state record in both the 800m and the 1,000m. Tardy was the runner-up in the mile at the New England Indoor Championships in February, and is on her way to replicate that success with an early season performance like that.