AUGUSTA — If anyone knows how tough it is to defeat the Lisbon High School boys outdoor track team, it is Hall-Dale coach Jarod Richmond.
Last season Richmond’s Bulldogs came up 3.5 points short of stopping the Greyhounds from winning their eighth straight Mountain Valley Conference championship. As Hall-Dale and the rest of the MVC boys teams prepare for today’s championship meet — set to begin at 2:15 p.m. at Alumni Field in Augusta — Richmond once again expects Lisbon to be the team to beat.
“I’m expecting a heavy dose of the Lisbon boys,” he said. “Every year it kind of seems like they reload and find kids and make it work for them. A meet like this it’s hard to beat a team that can cover everything. They’ve got the numbers and the talent to be a very heavy favorite.
“…Eight straight conference titles and we’ve come as close as anybody to taking them out and it’s not easy. You have to have a perfect day on top of having the numbers.”
Catching the Greyhounds seems unlikely. At last Friday’s Capital City Classic held at Cony, Lisbon dominated the competition with 186.5 points to knock off Maranacook (115) and MVC foe Boothbay (61).
After Lisbon, however, the competition appears to be pretty wide open. Boothbay, Hall-Dale and Madison have all posted similar scores throughout the season, while Monmouth has some top-end talent capable of scoring major points.
While the Lisbon boys are the heavy favorites to win their ninth title in a row, the Greyhound girls will have their hands full to keep the same pace.
“It’s kind of wide open,” Winthrop coach Ed Van Tassel said. “Collectively, I think a lot of us coaches think it would be nice to see someone other than Lisbon take it down.”
Boothbay, Lisbon and Monmouth were very close in a May 20 meet with 105, 102 and 89 points, respectively, and figure to all be in the mix today. Winthrop has finished ahead of Monmouth on two separate occasions this season, while Carrabec should do some damage in the throwing events.
“Those girls can throw,” Madison coach Tobin Curtis said of Carrabec’s throwers. “I don’t see anybody touching them.”
St. Dominic and Dirigo should also factor into the final results.
“That’s going to be a spectacular meet to watch,” Richmond said. “It’s razor thin. You really can flip a coin.”
As far as individuals to look out for, Hall-Dale’s Emma Wilson is the returning MVC champ in the 3,200, while Winthrop’s Rachel Ingram is the defending champ in the long and triple jumps.
“She’s going to be pulling in some big points and it would be a good way for her to end her career to claim a title or two,” Van Tassel said of his senior standout. “She’s just had a phenomenal year.”
Carrabec’s Shenciaray Black (discus), Macy Welch (javelin) and Emma Pluntke (shot put), as well as Monmouth’s Sammy Grandahl (high jump) should also be in the mix for titles.
Monmouth’s Marques Houston returns as the defending champ in the boys 400, while Madison’s Ron Helderman took first in both the 110 hurdles and pole vault at the meet last season. Helderman’s teammate, Chris Hayden, was second in the pole vault. Hall-Dale’s James McAuliffe (800) and Steven Longfellow (triple jump), as well as Madison’s Jordan Curtis (100) could be in the hunt for individual titles also.
“We’ve got a handful of pretty good kids,” Curtis said. “I’m excited to see the rest of the teams.”
Evan Crawley——621-5640 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @Evan_Crawley