The Waterville track and field teams have turned the annual Community Cup into its personal stomping grounds in the meet’s first eight seasons.
Could things change Saturday at Winslow for the ninth annual running of the Cup?
The Lawrence Bulldogs hope so.
“If we have a chance to compete with Waterville, this is the year to do it,” Lawrence coach Tim Alberts said. “Both the boys and girls will be unbelievably competitive. Maybe one of them will take the Cup.”
Waterville enters as the prohibitive favorite to sweep the Cup for a ninth consecutive year, but there is plenty of competition this time around.
The meet, which features Waterville, Winslow, Skowhegan, Lawrence and Messalonskee, begins at 10 a.m. Prior to competition, Winslow will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new track.
The Lawrence girls are poised to contend for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship for the first time in the 25 years since Tim Alberst became coach thanks to a deep roster .
The Community Cup will serve as a tuneup for the conference meet, which McMann Field in Bath will host May 25.
“We’ve got people in places that in past years we have not had,” Alberts said. “I know (Waterville coach) Ian Wilson has looked at the Cup as the first meet of the championship season, and this is our first year where we can do that, too.”
The Cup could feature a few intriguing events, including the 1,600-meter run. Waterville senior Bethanie Brown and Lawrence senior Erzsie Nagy — two of the top distance runners in the state — could square off.
The 100-meter dash once again could feature a showdown between Georgia Bolduc (Waterville), Alliyah Veilleux (Winslow) and Sasha Letourneau (Lawrence).
“It just adds to the competitiveness,” Alberts said. “This is a big meet. We’re looking forward to it.”
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Bethanie Brown ran the fastest mile in Maine schoolgirl history last weekend when she finished in 4 minutes, 51.54 seconds at the annual Loucks Games in White Plains, N.Y.
The UConn-bound Brown said she ran a smart race and felt strong at the end.
“I went out and wanted to be controlled,” she said. “I didn’t want to go out too fast. I went out and got stuck in the back of the pack on the first lap. My second lap was slow because I kept trying to get around people. I negative splitted, too, because my second 800 was faster than my first 800.”
Brown finished third.
“I’m feeling really good where I am,” she said. “I feel stronger than I was at this point last season. Hopefully, I’ll have some times coming up. I want to be in good position for states and in New Englands, and then rest up for (U.S.) nationals.”
Waterville sent about 15 athletes to the Loucks Games.
Waterville senior Devin Burgess also enjoyed a strong meet. He finished second in the pole vault by clearing 14 feet. Nick Danner finished third in the javelin with a throw of 182 feet, 2 inches.
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The Madison boys have fared well this season despite the loss of talented distance runner Matt McClintock to graduation.
“We’ve won four straight meets,” new coach Matt Keister said. “We’ve been pretty solid.”
Ron Helderman (hurdles, pole vault), Chris Hayden (throws) and Caleb Staples (hurdles, jumps) are scoring well for the Bulldogs. Helderman cleared 12-6 at the pole vault last week in Telstar.
“We’ll be able to compete, that’s for sure,” Keister said.
Keister added that he’s compensated for the loss of McClintock by trying to flood the events with as many athletes as possible.
“We want people to do four events,” he said. “We’ve compensated by spreading everybody out. We’ve been pretty solid.”
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Erik Dodge, like most athletes, tried to qualify for conference and state championship meets in several events.
Unlike most athletes, the Erskine junior succeeded in a rare combination of events. Dodge qualified for the Class B state championships in the 100 and 3,200.
“I’ve never seen something like that,” Erskine coach Dave Hickey said. “He’s a unique athlete. He’s a distance guy who really trained hard. He hit the weights hard and packed on quite a bit of muscle. The extra strength really paid off. He’s just a natural all-around athlete.”
Dodge doesn’t run the 100 and 3,200 in one meet. Instead, he alternates running sprints and distance events from meet to meet.
“He’s also run the 400, 800 and, in another meet, he ran the 300 hurdles,” Hickey said.
Dodge is one of several Erskine athletes enjoying strong springs.
Jade Canak easily broke a school record in the triple jump when she jumped 35-7.75 at a meet at Camden Hills last week. Bridget Humphrey is the top discus thrower in Class B, if not the state.
“I expected them to do really well but they’ve exceeded even those expectations,” Hickey said. “Jade smashed a 23-year old record by nearly a foot. Bridget is throwing the discus now farther than she did at New Englands last year. They’ve had great years.”
Bill Stewart — 621-5640