The outdoor track season is just underway, yet it will be championship season before you know it.
While a number of teams have already had a number of meets, the Hall-Dale track teams have had to bide their time in the early going.
The Bulldogs have had just one meet so far this season, and will have their second today when they travel to Wiscasset.
The Mountain Valley Conference championships are less than a month away — scheduled for Thursday, May 29 at Cony High School — which will leave Hall-Dale a short window to get ready.
“It’s very tough. Usually by now we have had a couple meets and we have a grip on what we have,” Hall-Dale coach Jarod Richmond said. “It puts everything in fast forward. We got one meet in and we’re still looking to fill holes and see who can do what. It’s very tough to get this late start. MVC and states are a lot closer than you’d think.”
For first-year seniors like Matt Mills and Tom McPherson it makes this time of the year a bit of a trial and error process.
Richmond said the two newcomers started the season in the throwing events, but showed natural ability in other events.
“Tom is doing the 4×1 team and he’s going to run some sprints,” Richmond said. “I saw Matt run and I said there’s no reason for him not to be running. He’s running 400 and doing the triple jump. Tom and Matt have been great additions to the team.”
Of course, that comes with the territory of this time of the year as most schools try to figure out exactly what they have to work with this season.
While some schools may still be working to figure things out, others have a pretty good beat on their chances.
If the results early on are any indication, the race in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference A is looking like it will be a very interesting one — particularly on the girls’ side.
“It’s going to be a fun meet to watch,” Lawrence coach Tim Alberts said. “If you don’t have anything to do you might want to be in Bath.”
The Bulldogs are the defending champ, but at the beginning of the season Alberts was not too sure how his team would fare given all that they had lost from last season’s team.
Erzy Nagy, Katie Dudley, Sasha Letorneau and Courtney Chuchill — among others — graduated, while strong competitors Jordyn Poulin and and Jilli McAllister elected not to come out for track this year. Sasha Letorneau’s younger sister, Kiana, has also been unavailable early on, but Albert expects her to be one of his top competitors when she returns.
“We’ve done well in two for the girls,” Albert said. “They’re starting to put together a good season at this point. We knew coming in we had some good returning athletes. We still thought we could be towards the top of the pack.”
Orono transfer junior Abby Weigang has been battling through shin injuries, but when fully healthy Albert expects her to be one of their top scorers along with seniors Crystal Crowell and Marissa Paquette.
Like Weigang, Messalonskee’s Amanda Knight is coming off an injury (hamstring) but coach Scott Wilson said she is close to being back at 100 percent. Between her, junior Taylor Lenentine and senior Kaitlin Eschenbrenner the Eagles have a trio that should keep them in the mix at KVAC A.
“Those are three strong kids,” Wilson said, “and we have to fill in with some kids in some other events.”
Lenentine recently cleared 10 feet in the pole vault — with 11 feet seemingly a possibility — while Eschenbrenner opened the season by throwing 114 feet, nine inches in the javelin into a stiff headwind in the season opener. The throw put her three inches short of the school record set by Kaitlyn Deering.
At Cony, Jon Millett thought Anne Guadalupi could be set for a strong season and so far the freshman distance runner has proven him right. Her time of 5:34.98 in the 1,600 in the season opener on April 29 is one of the fastest times in KVAC A so far this season.
“She’s got the mentalitly to work hard in practice,” Cony coach Jon Millett said. “She has the ability to focus and she’s not only a good physical athlete, she’s also mentally strong as well. She’s a real goal setter and she’s not afraid to work to accomplish those goals. She’s very humble.”
Millett was also quick to point out that it hasn’t just been Guadalupi that has been been coming on strong. The Rams will be hard-pressed to compete during the dual meet season with just 12 athletes, but should still be very competitive at the championship meets.
Evan Crawley——621-5640 | [email protected] | Twitter: @Evan_Crawley