Anne McKee and five fellow Kents Hill students train every day with the Maranacook track and field teams.
They participate in workouts, compete in meets and otherwise serve as a team within a team.
“It’s not too much of an adjustment,” said McKee, a freshman distance runner. “A teacher drives us over every day. Technically, we don’t wear the (Maranacook) yellow jersey but we’re still integrated in the team. We’ll do everything with them.”
In a little more than a month, the six Huskies will compete against their Maranacook training partners at the Class C state championships, creating an interesting and somewhat unique experience leading up to that meet.
“Yeah, I’ve thought about that,” McKee said. “We know some people could be in contention for a state title at Maranacook. It would feel a little bit weird to take away from their points, but you have to do what you have to do.”
McKee competes in the distance events. She won the 3,200 meters with a time of 11 minutes, 54.82 seconds at a “home” meet last Friday. She was second in the 1,600 (5:34.69).
She is joined at Maranacook by Lauren MacDonald (distance), Aimee Sala (distance), Natalie Palmer (distance), Leila Alfaro (hurdles, jumps) and Stuart Cole.
“We have six of them this year,” Maranacook coach Ronn Gifford said. “Over the past few years we’ve had one or two. We’d love to have these kids scoring for us. Anne certainly is a strong distance runner. She is a strong competitor.”
Gifford added the Kents Hill student-athletes are given the same instruction and attention at practices.
“They get the same workouts our kids get,” he said. “We just look at it as we are coaches here to help athletes, whether you wear the Kents Hill or Maranacook jersey. You are here to get better. They’ve performed very well and they bring a nice bit of their own energy to the team.”
Added McKee, who often trains with Maranacook distance runner Caroline Colan: “It’s been great, especially for me. We have a whole group of girls who are a dedicated group of runners. We still feel like we are part of the team.”
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Cony sprinter Luke Dang will compete in more than one running event this week for the first time this season.
The senior tweaked a hamstring during the indoor season and aggravated it a few weeks ago. As a result, the Rams held him out most running events.
Dang ran the 200 — and posted a personal best 22.84 — last week. He’ll run the 100 and 400 this week at an eight-team meet at Lawrence.
“Dang looks really tough,” Cony coach Jon Millett said. “He’s been doing the field events because we didn’t want to risk further injury. We’ve been easing him into the running events, but he looks good now.”
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Keenan Blindow said he’s learned a lot in his first season as Gardiner coach.
“It’s been a learning process,” said Blindow, who is an assistant with the football program. “There is a lot more responsibility as a head coach. Coming from an assistant in football, you don’t realize all the things a head coach has to do.”
Gardiner has 22 student-athletes out this year and about half are already qualified for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B meet.
Madeline Reny and Kelsey Barrett lead a strong core of girls hurdlers for the Tigers. The boys 4×100 relay team is also off to a good start. The group — Trevor Quirion, Ken Williams, Jeff Abram and Bobby Rose — have first- and second-place finishes already this spring.
“They’re pretty fast,” Blindow said. “Everybody is seeing improvement.”
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The Hall-Dale boys entered the season hoping to chase down perennial contender Lisbon in the Mountain Valley Conference.
Today, the Bulldogs will get their first look at the Greyhounds when they host a seven-team meet.
“It’s always fun to have a big meet and get some high-quality competition,” Hall-Dale coach Jarod Richmond said. “It’ll be fun to get a look at them. It will be a good measuring stick for us for certain. We’ll have our hands full.”
Tyler Fitzgerald (sprints) and Sam Shepherd (jumps) are scoring big points for the Bulldogs in the early going as Richmond expected.
The team is also benefiting from the emergence of distance runner Josh Ringer. He won the 1,600 (4 minutes, 46 seconds) and 3,200 (10:22) at a meet last week at Wiscasset. With former MVC standout runners Matt McClintock (Madison) and Chase Brown (Boothbay) graduated, Ringer is in prime position to win some titles at the conference meet.
“He doesn’t have to run behind those guys anymore,” Richmond said. “Josh has been building up for this for awhile. He’s been the anchor of our distance team for a few years. Now it’s his time to shine.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640