Jade Canak knew she jumped well Saturday afternoon at the Bowdoin Relays, but even she couldn’t believe what the officials recorded.

“When they said my distances, I did a double-take,” the Erskine junior said. “I had to go look at the measuring tape myself. I couldn’t believe it, so I had to see it with my own eyes.”

The tape didn’t lie, and Canak had school records in the triple and long jumps.

Canak jumped 15 feet, 10 inches to win the long jump and 33-9 to finish second in the triple.

“I knew they were great jumps and I knew my (personal record) was broken, but I didn’t know they were school records.”

Canak wasn’t done in Brunswick. She ran the anchor leg of the 4×400 relay team that set another school record in 4 minutes, 53.50 seconds. Canak ran her 400 in 1:07, which also set a school record.

“She’s just an exceptional athlete,” Erskine coach Dave Hickey said.

Added Canak: “I was very pleasantly surprised.”

* * *

The interest was there and coaches were available.

As a result, Gardiner will field an indoor track and field team this winter.

Joe Fitzsimmons, who coaches the middle school track team, and Keenan Blindow will lead the Tigers.

“It’s a good opportunity,” said Blindow, who was recently named the school’s outdoor track and field coach. “Joe is kind of leading the way and I’m going to help him out. This is great for me to meet the kids before the spring season.”

Added Fitzsimmons: “It all just came together. We wanted to make it known that Gardiner has a track team.”

The Tigers have about 15 student-athletes out this winter. While the numbers won’t allow the Tigers to compete for a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship, they are enough to field two teams.

Gardiner is practicing about four days a week, including once at Colby College.

“We wanted to keep the program going,” Blindow said. “About five years ago, the program came back. They’ve kept it going and we want to help out.”

The Tigers return some talented athletes, including KVAC Class B first team cross country runner Christian Heath. Ben Dickey (long jump, 200-meters), Josh Caldwell (distance) and Madeline Reny (hurdles) should also score well this season.

“We’ve got some pretty talented kids out,” Blindow said.

Gardiner opens its season Saturday at Bowdoin.

“We have some kids who can get some automatic bids to qualify for states,” Fitzsimmons said. “We’re excited to get some competition and see what we can do.”

* * *

Like a few Central Maine teams, Skowhegan is growing tired of competing against themselves as they await their first meet of the season.

“They are getting tired of running in the halls and the weekly trips to Colby,” Skowhegan coach Dave Evans said. “We’re looking forward to some competition.”

That will finally come Saturday, when the Indians will join a handful of Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference teams for a meet at Bowdoin. The Indians will bring one of their biggest teams in years to Brunswick.

“Three years ago, there were six kids on the team,” Evans said. “Now, we have between 25 and 30. We’re young. We’re mostly freshmen and sophomores.”

Evans teaches social studies at the high school and says he’s constantly recruiting his students to come out.

So far, the message is working.

“They’re responding,” Evans said. “I just tell them it’s good to get involved. Our numbers are growing. We’ll recruit the freshmen class hard again.”

* * *

Winslow enjoyed a strong opening meet on Dec. 8, when both its teams finished third at a 10-team meet at Bowdoin.

“For having a bunch of new kids, we did well,” Winslow coach Bob Morison said. “Right now, we’re just trying different things. We have a great deal of new kids. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing with them all. Once we do, we’ll be more competitive.”

Alliyah Veilleux picked up where she left off in the sprints, winning the 55-meter sprint in 7.63 seconds. She edged Waterville sprinter Georgia Bolduc, who was second in 7.84. Veilleux was also second in the shot put (32-7).

The Winslow boys feature a strong group of throwers, led by Brock Deschaine in the shot put.

Deschaine already threw the shot put 45 feet in the meet, a personal best. He topped out at about 42 feet last season.

“He’s already way ahead of the game plan,” Morison said.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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