The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B meet was over, and Maranacook senior Taylor Watson immediately shifted his focus to the Class C state meet and his bid for a fourth consecutive title in the 300-meter hurdles.
“When I got home after the KVACs, I was checking times and I saw that (Sacopee Valley’s) Kenny Bouchey had a faster time than me in the 300 hurdles,” Watson said. “I was pretty nervous all week. It was all I could do but think about going to the meet and seeing what I could do.”
Watson went on to win the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles at the Class C state meet to cap a remarkable career with the Black Bears.
For his accomplishments, Watson is the Kennebec Journal Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. It is the second consecutive year Watson earned the distinction. Hall-Dale junior Tyler Fitzgerald was also considered.
“This season, for me, was much different from all the other ones,” Watson said. “I was named captain and I’ve been looking forward to that role. But it changed how my practices went. Almost all my time was spent working with groups and leading warmups. I had a lot to share and I worked with everyone. It ended up being a great season.”
Watson won a state title in the 300 hurdles for the fourth consecutive season. He won three in Class C and one in Class B. He also won the 110 hurdles at the Class C championship meet for the second time in three seasons.
“This year was the best year technique-wise,” Watson said. “I didn’t have to think about hurdling at all. I could just do it. I adjusted how I sprinted between the hurdles. My core strengthening went well, though.”
Watson began his late-season charge when he won KVAC B title in the 110 hurdles (15.35) and the 300 hurdles (40.70). He then swept both events at the Class C state meet at Alumni Field in Augusta.
He won the 110 hurdles in 15.83 seconds.
“My 110 race went really well,” Watson said. “The 300 hurdles, I was a lot more nervous going into that. When the race finally came around, I got in my lane and thought, ‘No matter what happens I’ll do whatever it takes to get across the line first.’ I knew (Bouchey) would get off strong and I used that to my advantage. I tried to burn him out in the first 100 and it might have worked.”
Watson won the race with a time of 40.04. Bouchey was fourth in 41.65. Ben Plohr of George Stevens finished second in 40.09.
“Once I crossed the line, I was confident I had won but I still stared at the clock,” Watson said. “It was a huge relief for me personally. So much went into it.”
Watson will attend Dartmouth College in the fall, where he plans to major in chemistry. He said he hopes to compete for the track and field team.
“I was pretty pleased with how everything turned out,” he said. “I had a good career.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640