WINSLOW — Winslow High School track and field coach Ken Nadeau did some research. The records are, to put it kindly, incomplete, but what Nadeau did find gave credence to what he thought. The Winslow boys track and field team hasn’t won a conference title in a long time. Nadeau thinks that drought runs close to half a century.

“It’s been a long time. I’ve been researching the date a little bit online, and it’s not accurate in some spots, but the last that I’ve seen is 1969. It’s been a while,” Nadeau said.

On Saturday at McMann Field in Bath, the Winslow boys track and field team has its best chance in years to reset that championship odometer. With a strong group of returning athletes bolstered by a few talented newcomers, the Black Raiders are among the top contenders for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B boys crown.

Also this week, the Mountain Valley Conference will hold its track and field championship meet Thursday at Lisbon High School.

“You’re pushing each other extremely hard. You see someone start to edge by, you’ve got to push a little harder. It’s getting everyone’s times that much better,” junior Jake Warn, a contender in sprints and triple jump, said.

Sixteen Black Raiders qualified for the KVAC meet, Nadeau said. Last week, Winslow won the Community Cup meet for the first time, and in doing so showed off its depth. Ben Smith and Warn went one-two in the 100 meters, each running a state-title contending time (Smith 11.2 seconds, Warn 11.3). Smith took first in the 200, while Warn was third. Spencer Miranda and Max Spaulding went one-two in the 300 hurdles, while Miranda and Warn took the top two spots in the triple jump.

“We have some kids who do work hard. Their times are reflective of what they do in practice. We’re two deep in a lot of the races. I’d like to be three deep, but I’ll take two,” Nadeau said. “We have a chance to go one-two in the 100, the 200, possibly the triple (jump) if Spencer pops a big one, and the 300 hurdles. Just recently we had some throwers hit marks that helped move us in the right direction… I think we have some really talented young men who are doing some big things.”

With such competition at practice, meets are almost easier.

“If you’re keeping up with Ben Smith, you’re doing good. If you’re keeping up with Jake, you’re doing good,” said sophomore Ben Dorval, a contender for the conference high jump title.

Added Nadeau: “Building inner team competition is never a bad thing… We get that every day in practice. You can’t always replicate that at a meet.”

The addition of seniors Smith and Miranda is the spark the Black Raiders needed. Both were former baseball players before coming out for track and field this spring. Smith had been a successful member of Winslow’s indoor track team, winning back-to-back KVAC titles in the 55 and 200.

“Bringing in Spencer and Ben, I mean, you’re bringing in some of the best talent this school has to offer,” Nadeau said.

“It’s pretty tough to leave your friends behind and try something new, but after the indoor season I had, I knew I didn’t have a choice. I had to give outdoor a try,” said Smith, who plans on continuing his track career next year at Colby College.

Warn called Smith the building block. Once he joined the team, Miranda joined, and “it kind of started there,” Warn said.

According to leader lists posted on me.milesplit.com, Smith is currently top ranked in the 100 and 200 in Class B. Black Raider Jamie Sears is ranked first in Class B in the 1,600-meter racewalk.

“Outdoor times are faster. I knew the 55 (meters) was a little short for (Smith). He comes out strong, but his best running section is the middle half,” Nadeau said. “Did I expect 11.2? Not really. Did I expect Jake Warn to run 11.3? Not really.”

While a newcomer to outdoor track, Smith was still a known commodity. Miranda, on the other hand, was a question mark. Nadeau knew in Miranda he was getting a strong athlete. The challenge was finding the right events in which to utilize Miranda’s skill set.

“He hasn’t done track since he was in middle school. I’ve watched him play basketball. I knew he was a good soccer player. I knew he was going to give us something on the track. I didn’t know what, though,” Nadeau said.

Miranda knew he wanted to jump, he’d competed in the jumping events when he took part in middle school meets. He didn’t expect to find such success in the 300 hurdlers. After winning the event at the Community Cup with a time of 42.81 seconds, Miranda is seeded first in the 300 hurdles on Saturday, Nadeau said.

Like Smith, Miranda gave up baseball to join the track team.

“I just wanted to get ready for college soccer, and I thought I could have some fun out with the guys this year in track,” Miranda, who will play soccer at Husson University next year, said. “Working with these guys, we have such great athletes on this team, they push you to work hard, and they just make me better.”

With 17 teams competing in the KVAC B meet Saturday, the Black Raiders know breaking the long title drought will be difficult.

“Winslow’s never really looked at as a powerhouse track school like Messalonskee or Waterville. I think it would open a lot of people’s eyes,” Smith said.

“It’d be extremely cool. It would just be fun to do something for our community. There’s less and less kids each year. It would be fun to bring it back and show that hey, Winslow’s still here and still producing awesome kids like this,” Warn said. “We are pretty team-oriented. We’re pretty together. It pushes you to run even harder. It’s fun to be a part of something like that.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM