Outside of the conference and class championships, there aren’t too many outdoor track meets more important to the area than the Capital City Classic and Community Cup.
For now, the Classic is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. at Cony while the Community Cup is 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at Lawrence High School — yet Mother Nature may have other plans with rain in the forecast.
“It’s going to be a wait-and-see (approach) with the weather,” Lawrence Athletic Director Bill MacManus said. “We don’t want to lose it because it’s our turn to host, but the weather will dictate it.”
MacManus also said that he and track coach Tim Alberts were looking to make a decision on whether or not to postpone the event by noon Wednesday.
“You have to play for the safety of kids,” MacManus said. “We’re not going to do an event like the javelin if it’s really slippery.”
In the event that the Community Cup is postponed, MacManus said they would evaluate their options for rescheduling at that time.
As for the Classic, Cony AD Paul Vachon is taking a similar approach.
“It’s all wait and see. It’s a day-to-day thing. We’re just hoping we get a break and hoping it clears up,” Vachon said. “We won’t make a determination on that until noon on Thursday. We just have to wait and hope that things clear. If they don’t, they don’t and we’ll make that decision. If there’s any chance we will go with it.”
Vachon did say, however, that in the event the weather makes it impossible to hold the event it likely would not be rescheduled.
“If we get rained out on Friday, I don’t see us rescheduling,” Vachon said. “It’s very difficult to reschedule a track meet, especially (Memorial Day) weekend. It takes a lot of people to work these track meets, and the possibility of getting all these people back together I don’t see it feasible.
“…That’s what we discussed today, we may change our minds but we doubt it. I know we won’t go Saturday and I know we won’t go Monday. We just can’t ask (everyone) to come back on another day that quick. I’m sure that many have made plans for that weekend.”
The larger size of the Classic makes a quick turnaround far more difficult, although Vachon is still hopeful that the weather will cooperate.
“It’s quite an event, it’s exciting for the communities and our athletes always look forward to this,” he said. “We’re hoping we can get it done.”
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In the event the lights do in fact go on at Cony Friday, the Classic promises to live up to its name.
The annual Capital City Classic, weather permitting, begins late in the afternoon and finishes under the lights at Alumni Field, and Cony coach Jon Millett is expecting a big turnout.
“It’s going to probably be bigger than the KVAC’s this year,” he said. “We’ve added a couple of new schools. We haven’t seen the entries yet because they’re not due until later on in the week, but it’s going to be very large.
“…It’s a special night because it’s under the lights and they compete before a huge crowd. If the weather is good and it’s not raining it will be packed.”
Local schools Cony, Erskine, Gardiner, Hall-Dale, Maranacook, Monmouth, Oak Hill, Richmond, Kents Hill and Winthrop each had competitors present last season. Millett said he wasn’t exactly sure how this year’s meet is going to play out, but he did say he expects Lisbon to be tough.
“I would expect Lisbon to have a lot of strong performances. Track is their thing,” Millett said. “They seem to always have half their school involved in track and anytime you have schools that don’t have lacrosse they have a tendency to have so much stronger programs. Other than that, I’m not really sure what we’re looking at.”
What he does expect is a number of strong performances throughout the field though. For a number of competitors, this will serve as either their last meet of the season or final tuneup before the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Championships.
“It’s such a charged atmosphere,” Millett said, “that we typically get a lot of kids that qualify for KVAC’s at this meet.”
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If and when the Community Cup does take place there will be little uncertainty about who is the team to beat.
This will be the 10th cup Lawrence, Messalonskee, Winslow, Skowhegan and Waterville have vied for, and the Purple Panthers have swept the meet the last nine years.
“We all hope that each one of us takes something away and maybe that can get one of us a step in the door so to speak,” Alberts said. “Each year we hope for that Waterville comes back strong with the numbers and the athletes.
“…They just keep reloading and have had unbelievable success. It’s a testament to their coaches and their athletes.”
While Waterville is certainly the favorite, Alberts did say that his team — as well as the three others competing against Waterville — seem to be closing the gap a bit.
“Messalonskee is up and coming and have really developed,” Alberts said. “Skowhegan, this year more than last, has some really good athletes, and Winslow we don’t see them enough but they certainly have some athletes that should help them compete.”
If anyone knows the field, it’s Alberts. He’s been a part of the Community Cup since the beginning and was instrumental in helping to organize it 10 years ago.
“We needed something that was going to be a meet for the local schools,” Alberts said. “…I got together with the then coaches of the other four schools and laid out a plan that said I would love to do this. Have a central idea of a championship meet to ourselves.”
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At the beginning of the season Maranacook coach Ronn Gifford suspected first-year senior Kelby Mace could be a strong competitor for the Black Bears.
After four meets, Mace is starting to deliver on those expectations.
“He is a great athlete all the way around,” Gifford said. “He has kind of dabbled in almost every sport. He’s a great skier, he’s got great balance and he’s got great springs. He’s picking up the technique, and the more he can pick that up in the next few weeks, the further he’s going to go.”
This past Thursday Mace came through with a second-place performance in the long jump (18 feet, 11 3/4 inches), and three thirds in the javelin (144-1), triple (39-7) and high jumps (5-8), respectively.
The 26 points earned between the four events played a big part in Maranacook winning its meet with 131.33 points against some strong competition in Brunswick (126), Messalonskee (119), Leavitt (104.66) and Cony (96).
“Coming into this season we knew he had great potential,” Gifford said. “How much of that potential he’d be able to tap we didn’t know, but he’s picking it up more and more.”
Evan Crawley——621-5640 | [email protected] | Twitter: @Evan_Crawley