Cony and MCI set for strong performances at state track and field championships
It’s not a normal state championship prep week for the Cony High School and Maine Central Institute track teams. Not this year.
Cony (Class B) and MCI (Class C) are coming off historic performances at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Championships last week. The Rams won a clean sweep by winning the boys’ and girls’ middle school championships. It’s the first conference sweep in recent memory, head coach Shawn Totman said.
“It’s kind of hard to put into words,” Totman said. “I’m so proud of these kids, how they performed in this championship competition.”
The state champions will be crowned in track and field on Saturday. Cameron Stadium in Bangor will host the Class A meet, while Mount Desert Island High in Bar Harbor will host the B meet. The Class C meet will be held at Lewiston High School.
The MCI girls (138 points) held off Leavitt (136) by just two points to win the conference small school title. It’s the first conference crown for the Huskies in more than 20 years.
“We had never won a KVAC until this year,” said MCI head coach Jason Allen, who is in his 22nd year with the program. “It was quite exhilarating, even though the way it went on the wire, it was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. I texted my two assistants before the 4×400 ( relay) and I said, ‘I think I’m going to vomit.’ »
The Cony girls have now won four straight KVAC outdoor titles. The Rams were led by Bri Harriman (5:50.05), who won the 1,600 meter race and was part of a winning 4×800 team that included Annabelle Orth, Grace Kirk and Loralie Grady. Kristen Kirk added wins in the high jump and triple jump.
Girls, they know what it takes to win,” Totman said. “They really had four straight years to practice the mentality you need to win a championship. Camden (Hills) are a great team and Morse had a great game. We knew it would be a real competition for the girls. To come out on top is incredible. This girls team has faced so much adversity with the injuries of Grace Kirk and Mallory Audet. It looks like we are now putting the pieces together at the right time.
The Cony boys had a strong performance in the field events. Conor Morin won the high jump (5-10), triple jump (39-11) and long jump (20-07). Danny Phan won the pole vault (9-06), while Jonny Lettre put in a dominant performance in the javelin (137-01). The Rams also won the 4×100 and 4×800 relays.
“Our boys really hung on when (Lawrence and Morse) kind of attacked them at the end,” Totman said. “Boys and girls winning a championship at KVAC, it’s never happened before, I know that, it’s just a fact. When they announced those team scores, they didn’t leave the track of the night. I had to fire them, finally. They were so excited. It’s a real adrenaline rush for our program and our school.
Totman knows there will be a lot of competition at the Class B championships. York High School’s boys and girls programs have had strong seasons and are coming off dominating victories at the Western Maine Conference championships.
“You get all these southern teams that are good like York and Yarmouth, Freeport and Cape Elizabeth,” Totman said. “MDI is going to be on its own way, I guarantee you they will be eager to get going. I guess the message to our kids is, “Don’t let the fact that this is a state championship get you out of the mindset we’ve had all year.” You take one practice at a time. Don’t take it too far. Control the things you can control, not the things you can’t control. I know that sounds like a coaching speech, but it’s really true. We don’t really change anything this week, we keep the same routine. We really feel like these kids are peaking at the right time, so why change what is working when it comes to their performance and attitude? It’s just trying to make them feel good.
Gardiner walkers Ashlyn Poulin and Jackson Boudreau, who won individual KVAC titles, are the top seeds for Saturday’s event.
Emma Burr – who won the 100 (13.32), 200 (27.58), 100 hurdles (16.69) and 300 hurdles (49.04) at the small school KVAC meet – leads the Huskies.
“She’s pretty easy to get motivated, because she’s so driven,” Allen said. “She drives herself inwardly more than anything. I don’t think she’s lost a race all year.
The Huskies also had wins from Samantha Martin in the pole vault (8-00) and Jillian Michaud in the shot put (34-03.50).
Allen said he expects strong performances at the Class C Championships from Orono, which swept the Penobscot Valley Conference Small School Championship, as well as Lisbon/Oak Hill.
The boys team from Winslow High School could be part of the Class C mix. The Black Raiders finished second to Leavitt for the KVAC small school title. Winslow had KVAC meet victories from Evan Watts in the 200 (23.78), Levi Olin in the 400 (52.45) and Antoine Akoa in the high jump (5-08). The Black Raiders also won the 4×400 and 4×800 relays.
“We played conservatively last week knowing our goal was to be competitive in the United States,” Winslow head coach Ken Nadeau said. “Leavitt has 86 kids compared to our 36. They just filled the field. Putting my boys in a difficult situation that could hurt them, I just told them ‘Come this week, be ready for next week.’ The boys showed up, they had a great day, I think they still scored 120 odd points. It’s a really solid effort, there aren’t many teams that score 120 points and lose.
“I always do the numbers, I have us six points behind Orono right now,” Nadeau said. “They’re a lot like us in that they have a lot of strong kids who are asked to do a lot. They have a child who is a good hurdler, a good walker too. They have coins and obviously if they score well they have a lot of potential to win it… At the end of the day our kids just need to have a good day. I’ve done a few things (with sort events) that will hopefully shake things up a bit, put our kids in a position to steal a dot here, a dot there. Hopefully it comes down to single digits to make it a run.
Messalonskee, Mt. Blue and Skowhegan all have title contenders at the Class A State Meet. Cyrus Evans (51.21) of Mt. Blue won a KVAC Large School title in the 400. Messalonskee has contenders for the boys’ and girls’ pole vault in Caden Cote (12-06) and Rylee Spadea (7-06), who each won conference titles. in the event. Emmah Corson (93-02) won the conference high school title in the shot put.
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