YARMOUTH — Ben Smith waited for the baton with the Winslow High School boys track and field team one event away from sealing a Class B championship. Smith and the Black Raiders didn’t need a win in the 4×400 relay to wrap up the title.

But they couldn’t afford a disaster, either.

“For us seniors, that’s the last run of our high school careers,” Smith said. “We just had to lay it all out there.”

Smith and the Raiders did, and history quickly followed. Winslow raced its way to a second-place finish in the 4×400 finale at Yarmouth High School, giving it enough points to earn its first state track and field title since 1966 with a 98-95 decision over Mount Desert Island. York was third with 68, followed by Yarmouth (58) and Wells (48).

Greely won the girls title with 67 points to finish ahead of York (59), MDI (48), Belfast (38) and Gray-New Gloucester (35). Waterville, led by a shot put victory and discus runner-up finish from Sarah Cox, took seventh at 28.

But the day was about Winslow, a champion at last after decades of waiting.

“It’s just like a relief, almost. We’ve worked so hard, pushed each other in practice every day,” said Jake Warn, who took first in the triple jump (43-7) and was second in the 100 and 200. “(We) practiced in the cold, rain, whatever. Track is so individual, but this year was different because we were just so close.”

The Winslow program got an infusion of talent when Smith, an indoor star who will run at Colby College, Spencer Miranda and Nathan Gagnon joined the squad this year. The Raiders rolled to the KVAC B title, then set about closing in on a state title to go with it. Smith led the way, winning the 100 (11.31 seconds) and 200 (22.6) and placing second in the 400, but he had support from Warn, Miranda (third long jump, third triple jump), freshman Max Spaulding (third 300 hurdles, fourth 110 hurdles), Jamie Sears (second1,600 race walk) and Gagnon (sixth discus).

As the points came in and Winslow took an early lead and held it, coach Ken Nadeau began doing the math in his head. MDI had narrowed the gap to 90-85 when the 4×400 began.

“I was nervous the whole day,” he said. “As the 4×400 was starting its finish, I thought I was going to puke.”

Jake Witham, Spaulding and Miranda set the stage for Smith, who took the baton in third and chased down a Wells runner for second by .05 seconds, setting off a celebration at the finish line by Winslow athletes who, like their coach, had been playing the points game.

“That’s just unbelievable. That’s what every kid dreams of, it comes down to the 4×400,” Smith said. “We ran a great time, and that’s just an unbelievable finish.”

Nadeau, a football coach and former athlete for the school, said the track championship had a personal feel to it.

“Winslow runs deep in my blood,” he said. “Our kids are super. They worked hard, a lot of them placed up in events. … Winning a state title, there’s nothing better.”

Waterville’s Zack Smith had one of the meet’s most impressive afternoons, winning the discus title at 143-10 and the javelin at 164-1.

“I’ve been working for it all season,” said Smith, who was a top seed in the javelin and second seed in the discus. “In order to be good you’ve kind of got to factor (seedings) out. … I just had to stay relaxed, not let the pressure get to me, listen to what my coach said and do my best.”

In one of the afternoon’s more exciting showdowns, Lawrence’s Ben Copeland and Gunner McAllister went head-to-head for the pole vault title. Both Bulldog jumpers went over 13 feet and didn’t make 13-6, prompting the bar to be lowered to 13-3. Copeland made it over on his first try and McAllister didn’t, giving Copeland first place.

“I couldn’t be happier standing next to anyone else up there than Gunner,” Copeland said. “Me and him just feed off each other. He gets it, I get it. He gets it, I get. We went back and forth all day today.”

Mount View got a win in the 1,600 race walk from Chase Hubbard, who finished the four-lap circuit at 8:06.19.

“I started off a little slow, but I paced myself and I just waited for the other kids in front to break,” said Hubbard, who took the lead in the third lap. “And on the fourth lap, I just kicked it in and gave it all I had.”

In the girls meet, Cox had one of the day’s best efforts by winning the shot put with a personal-best throw of 38-7.25, then finishing second in the discus to Foxcroft’s Emily Mikoud at 110 feet.

“I feel great. I was better than I thought I’d be in shot put, and (with the) discus, it was a good meet,” the sophomore said. “There’s definitely a lot more pressure. … Throughout my regular season I don’t have as much competition as I do in state meets, so I just look forward to having that competition.”

A pair of local athletes had dramatic journeys to second-place finishes. Lawrence’s Kiana Letourneau took second in the javelin in addition to second in the 200 and third in the 100, and went to a tiebreaker for the javelin title at 109-1. She took the lead with a throw of 106-6, but was denied first when Lincoln’s Mili Zapata reached 108-7 on her final attempt.

“I was really pumped up about my javelin throw. That was unexpected,” said Letourneau, who broke her own school javelin record. “I just got determined this week in practice, I kept working on it and it finally clicked. … It’s a good way to end my high school career.”

Erskine’s Kaylee Porter had perhaps the meet’s most impressive runner-up finish in the 800, coming in at 2:16.55 — five-hundredths of a second away from the meet record — but being denied a second straight title when Tia Tardy set a new mark at 2:14.76.

Porter took the lead from Tardy on the final turn around the track, but couldn’t hold off the MDI standout in the stretch.

“In my head, I was just like ‘I really, really want this,’ ” said Porter, who missed the indoor season with a bruised liver from soccer season. “I came out kind of hard, like I should have, but she passed me. She was crazy fast, too.”

Other locals in the top three on the boys side were Mount View’s Rayno Boivin (second javelin) and Erskine’s Jack Jowett (third javelin), while Gardiner’s R.J. Sullivan was first in the 100, 400 and shot put wheelchair events. Mount View’s 4×100 team took second. On the girls side, top threes went to Waterville’s Alexis Brandon (second long jump) and Winslow’s Maeghan Bernard (third 300 hurdles).

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM