It's early in the outdoor season, but we've already seen state records go down and several other impressive performances. Let's take a look at the top highlights from the start of the 2018 season.
State records have become routine for Mattanawcook's Cayden Spencer-Thompson. At MDI high school on Saturday, Spencer-Thompson extended his own state record in the triple jump, jumping 47 feet, 9 ½ inches, bettering his previous outdoor personal-best by an inch. The distance currently ranks fifth in the country in the junior class. Spencer-Thompson would also win the long jump with an impressive mark of 23 feet, 3 ¼ inches. His jump was just over two inches behind that all-time state record of 23-05.5 feet, set by David Eagleson of Kennebunk back in 1990. The distance marked the fourth time he's jumped over 23 feet, and ranks seventh in country among juniors. Spencer-Thompson wasn't the only athlete setting state-leading marks at MDI.
Senior standout Ashley Anderson won the 200 meters in 26.35 seconds. That time is currently the fastest in the state. She also won the 100 meters in 12.60, the fastest time of the weekend across the state, and anchored MDI's 4x100 meter relay team to a time of 52.21 seconds. MDI's time currently sits as the third fastest in the state. Also getting in on the action was Griffin Maristany. Maristany picked up the wins in both the 200 meters and 400 meters. He took the 200 in 23.38 seconds over Trace Cyr of Presque Isle, who was second in 23.94, then won the 400 in 52.29 seconds, winning by a comfortable 1.39 second margin. After finishing third in both events at the Class B Championships, Maristany figures to challenge individual titles in 2018.
There's a new sprinter who's quickly made his mark in Maine. That sprinter is Bendix Gerling of Brewer High School. Gerling, a junior who transferred from Germany before last fall, is in his first season of Maine outdoor track, and he's quickly blossomed into one of the state's finest sprinters. At a PVC regular season meet at Foxcroft Academy on Saturday, Gerling won the 200 meters, running a state-leading time of 23.22 seconds, 400 meters in 52.97, and finished second in the 100 in 11.70. Gerling's 52.97 currently ranks fourth in the state. He won the 200 by almost two seconds. Fort Fairfield's Jonah Daigle edged Gerling in the 100, winning the event in 11.64 seconds. Daigle's time currently sits as the ninth-fastest time in the state.
There were plenty more Brewer athletes showing out last weekend. Jacob McCluskey made his season debut and took home the victory in the discus. McCluskey threw 164 feet, six inches, setting a state-leading mark in the event. With Austin Lufkin gone, McCluskey will look to take the claim as top discus thrower in the state this season. McCluskey finished second to Lufkin in the event at the Class A Championships, then placed third at New Englands. Hannah Hopkins and Morgan Honey finished 1-2 in the 100 meter hurdles, running 16.61 seconds and 16.67 respectively. Those are the second and third fastest times in the state in the event behind only Christie Woodside of Hampden Academy, who ran 16.12 on her home track on Friday. Woodside's teammate Helen Shearer has quickly become one of the top distance runners in Class A this spring. Shearer won the 1600 on Friday, running 5:31.84, which is the fifth-fastest time in the state this year. Shearer currently holds the top time in 3200 after running 11:35.71 on April 20.
Yarmouth's Luke Laverdiere is already off to a great start in his final outdoor season. Going into the weekend, Laverdiere held the state's fastest times in both the 1,600 meters (4:21.80) and 3,200 meters (9:52.58) going into the weekend, but on Saturday he faced off against one of the finest middle-distance runners in Class B in Mitch Libby of Wells, who is the fastest returner in the state in the 800 meters. Racing the 800 at Gray-New Gloucester High School on Friday, Libby got the best of Laverdiere, winning the event in a state-leading time of 1:58.56. Laverdiere was a few steps behind in 2:00.34. Libby's time was less than a second off his personal-best of 1:57.82, and this result early in the season, with the conditions certainly not in his favor, shows he's ready to run in the mid-1:50's late into championship season.
Laverdiere's teammate Anneka Murrin has started her final outdoor season on a tear. Murrin, a middle-distance specialist, opened her season at the Bob Morse Invitational on her home track on April 13 competing in the 800m. Murrin was dominant, winning in by more than 15 seconds in a state-leading time of 2:17.89. That time is .02 off her outdoor PB. Laverdiere won both the 1600 and 3200 that day, running 4:21 and 9:52 respectively. He won the 1600 by more than 20 seconds.
Staying in the WMC, York senior Jake Martin is off to a strong start in 2018 after we saw him win the 110 meter hurdles and finish fourth in the high jump at the Class B Championships last spring. At Cape Elizabeth last Friday, Martin took the win in both the 110 and 300 meter hurdles. He won the 110 in a PB and state-leading time of 15.12 seconds, shaving off nearly a full tenth of a second from his previous PB, then won the 300 hurdles in another state-leading time of 41.69 seconds. Martin also picked up the win in the discus, throwing 118 feet, five inches.
There were fast times at Bonny Eagle High School on Thursday April 26. With perhaps the most impressive mark of the day was Cheverus freshman Victoria Bossong. Bossong won the 400 meters in 58.85 seconds, and became the first girl in Maine this spring to dip under the 60-second barrier. Bossong would also take the win in the 100 meters, running 13.15 seconds. Christine Toy and Ami Beaumier of Bonny Eagle squared off in the 1600, with Toy coming out the victor, running a PB of 5:17.33. Beaumier was a few steps behind in 5:21.29. Those times are currently the two fastest in the state. Toy's day wasn't over as she also took the win in the 3200, running 12:12.18. That time currently sits as the eighth-fastest in the state.
Cheverus's Emma White got in on the action as well. White cruised to a win in the 300 meter hurdles running 51.68 seconds, then took the triple jump with a mark of 35-11. That jump currently sits as the second longest in the state thus far. On the boys' side, Sean Tompkins of Cheverus took wins in both the 100 and 200. He won the 100 in 11.66 seconds, with Alex Sprague of Bonny Eagle close behind in 11.93, then won the 200 in a PB of 23.24, eating Sprague's teammate Zack Allocca (23.84). Tompkins' time is the second fastest in the state right now. Sprague would go on to win the 400 meters in a time of 52.73 seconds. That's currently the third-fastest time in the state.
Elsewhere in the SMAA, Westbrook's Nyagoa Bayak is off to a strong start, and that shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. In her first meet of the season at South Portland High School on April 24, Bayak picked up wins in both the high jump and triple jump. She cleared 5 feet, 6 inches in the high jump, then jumped 36 feet, 1 ¼ inches in the triple. Both are state-leading marks for the junior, who is hoping to add two more individual state championships to her impressive resume. Nina Tasker of Noble is also impressing early in 2018. She jumped 16 feet, 10 inches in the long jump at South Portland. That distance ranks second in the state.
Thornton Academy standout Jason Montano is one of the few favorites to win the shot put in Class A this season, and he showed why back on April 26 at Massabesic High School. Montano opened his season with an outstanding throw of 58 feet, which broke his previous outdoor PB by more than four feet. That mark ranks 16th in the US among al juniors. Montano also took the victory in the discus, throwing a PB 144-06 feet. That distance ranks third in the state. His teammate Travis Snyder is already showing championship form early in the season. Snyder, who finished second in the pole vault in Class A last year, cleared 15 feet in the event at Massabesic. The clearance is the top mark in the state by almost three feet.
In the KVAC, Mt. Ararat's Lisandro Berry-Gaviria is on a mission to show he's the top distance runner in Class A. At Mt. Blue High School on April 24, Berry-Gaviria won the 3200m in a state-leading mark of 9:49.14. The sophomore, who won the event by almost a minute, started his season with a win in the 1600m at the Waterville Relays on April 21, running 4:30.31. That currently sits as the third-fastest time in the state. Likely to challenge Berry-Gaviria in the conference this year is Dominic Sclafani of Oxford Hills. Sclafani has started his season strong. He joined Berry-Gaviria and Laverdiere as the only runners in the state to have run under 10:00 in the 3200 this season when he ran a PB of 9:59.96 on April 28 on his home track. Sclafani also won the 1600m that day, running 4:30.08. That's the second-fastest time in the state right now.
There's a freshman for Oxford Hills who's shown early on in 2018 that she'll be a favorite in the long jump at the Class A state meet. Taylor Haggerty jumped 16-11.5 feet on April 28, which is currently the top mark in the state. She made her season debut at Leavitt High School on April 24 when she jumped 16-07 to win the event. Haggarty finished fifth atthe KVAC Indoor Championships this winter, and will likely challenge for the individual state title this spring.