The Hall-Dale boys made a surprising run to a state championship last season. After finishing eighth at the state meet in 2011, the Bulldogs placed four runners in the top 18 to win the Class C title last fall.

This year, coach Chris Poulin is finding that middle ground between increased expectations and unrealistic expectations. On one hand, Poulin is trying to make sure success this fall isn’t solely defined by whether or not Hall-Dale wins the state title.

“I really try to treat each season as a stand-alone season,” Poulin said. “Especially with the new people on the team, I don’t want them to have the burden of living up to being state champions.”

Hall-Dale returns three of its top seven runners, including James McAuliffe (15th at states) and Chris Pomerleau (16th).

“I think the expectations they have and I have are different now,” Poulin admitted. “We definitely got noticed last year. Even though we might not repeat as state champions, we want to show that we can still be competitive.”

The Bulldogs have 10 runners on their boys team this. Especially with the heat this week, Poulin said he is focusing on the needs of the team, rather than individuals.

“They’re practicing in the early morning, so I don’t think the heat has affected them that much,” Poulin said. “I’ve been easing into this first week of practice. The returning runners have been running this summer, so they’re doing a second session on their own.”

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After a couple years of hiccups, Gardiner will have a new scoreboard for its field hockey and softball fields.

The scoreboard will serve both fields, and can be rotated depending on the sport, according to field hockey coach Moe McNally.

“The scoreboard we have on the field hockey field is not wireless, and it’s outdated,” McNally said. “We’ve been having trouble finding replacement bulbs. We have for a couple years now. At the same time, the softball scoreboard is old, and not functioning.”

McNally said Gardiner principal Chad Kempton helped with the process of raising the $5,000 needed for the new board.

“With the help of the booster’s club, and Chad’s persistence, we were able to get half of it,” McNally said.

So on July 16, McNally posted on the Gardiner Field Hockey Facebook page, saying they were looking for sponsors to pay for the remaining $2,500.

“Within an hour, Hickey Tree Service volunteered to pay for the other half,” McNally said.

McNally said the new scoreboard has been ordered and should be installed by mid to late September.

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Next week usually features the Drive Out Cancer Challenge, a series of preseason games between Cony and Gardiner to raise money for the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta.

This year, the Cony and Gardiner football teams are playing in the regular season, and there won’t be a weeklong series of games.

The Drive Out Cancer Challenge started as a field hockey game, and that game will still take place. It’s scheduled for Sept. 21 at Cony High School. The junior varsity teams will play at 5:30 p.m. on Alumni Field, followed by the varsity game at 7.

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Maine Central Institute’s athletic director situation has been fluid in recent years. Earl Anderson held the position in the 2011-12 school year, before resigning to take the job at Nokomis. After filling the position internally during the 2012-13 school year, MCI hired Rick Amero as the AD at the end of the spring.

Recently, Amero decided to return to Monmouth, where he will serve as the school’s principal. That means that for the upcoming school year, baseball coach John Dean and football coach Tom Bertrand will serve as co-athletic directors.

“It’s a one-year thing,” said Jen Beane, MCI’s director of communications. “We’ll launch a full, comprehensive search for next year.”

MCI has a new boys soccer coach this fall in Scott Giallombardo, who coaches the Huskies from 2008-11. The varsity girls basketball job, formerly filled by Jason Allen, and the varsity boys basketball job, formerly filled by Mike Susi, are both open. Beane said MCI is currently in the interviewing process with the girls basketball position.

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Munzing Media is producing three Gardiner Area High School football and two field hockey games this fall, that will be shown locally on Time Warner Cable the following Monday. It will also live stream 12 football games on the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel websites this fall.

Three of the games for Time Warner are in Gardiner, and the other two are in Augusta against rival Cony. The field hockey games are the Drive Out Cancer Challenge game Sept. 21 in Augusta and the Winslow-Gardiner field hockey game of Sept .14.

TWC will air the Gardiner football games on Oct. 4 against Brewer, Oct. 18 against Skowhegan, and Oct. 25 at Cony.

The football games against Brewer and Cony will also be live-streamed on the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel websites. In all, Munzing Media will live stream 12 games on the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel websites: Cony at Messalonskee (Sept. 6), Belfast at Winslow (Sept. 7), Lawrence at Mt. Blue (Sept. 13), MDI at Winslow (Sept. 21), Lawrence at Cony (Sept. 27), Brunswick at Mt. Blue (Oct. 4), Hampden at Cony (Oct. 11), Madison at Waterville (Oct. 12), Skowhegan at Gardiner (Sept. 18), Foxcroft at Winslow (Sept. 19), Gardiner at Cony (Oct. 25), and Winslow at Waterville (Oct. 26).

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]