Isaiah Spofford lined up for the 200-meter dash at the Class B state championship meet as an underdog to Will Wegener of Falmouth.

Spofford, a Waterville Senior High School senior, crossed the finish line as a state champion, finishing in a state-best 22.30 seconds. He edged out Wegener by eight-hundredths of a second.

Coupled with his dominant victory in the 100, and Spofford cemented his status as the fastest runner in Maine. He won that race in 11.08 seconds, which also was tops in the state regardless of class.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said, “to have the fastest times. It’s nice to have something like that to my name.”

For his accomplishments this spring, Spofford is the Morning Sentinel Boys Track Athlete of the Year.

Waterville senior Jeff Hale and Madison junior Matt McClintock were also considered.

“I was really looking forward to this season,” said Spofford, who helped the Purple Panthers win the Class B state championship. “I was looking forward to that meet. I really wanted to get two state records, but I didn’t get them. That was a little disappointing.”

But he did win both sprinting events, including a terrific race in the 200 with Wegener.

“Winning the 200 was definitely the highpoint of the season,” Spofford said. “I always thought the 200 was my event. Coming into that race, it was the end of the day and I said, ‘OK, it’s time to win this.’ This was my senior season and I wanted to go out big.”

Spofford started out strong, coasted for a bit then finished in a fury to edge his Falmouth rival.

“I came out really fast in the first 50 (meters),” Spofford said. “Then I let the wheels spin a bit for the next 30 or so, which brought me to the end of the corner. Then I went as hard as I could to the finish. It was very close. At the 150 mark I saw him come up on my shoulder. It was gratifying because I was seeded lower so it was a points swing. The pressure was on both of us to win.”

Spofford acknowledged he felt pressure throughout the season.

“Yeah, I could feel it,” he said. “I don’t think the pressure helped me either. I always did better when I didn’t try as hard.”

Added Waterville coach Ian Wilson: “Isaiah went through an interesting learning curve. He is so driven to improve and he tries to get better every day. But he ended up putting massive amounts of pressure on himself. He was running really tense, and really just straining. And having tight muscles is just about the worst thing a sprinter can have. So, as funny as it sounds, Isaiah had to learn not to try quite as hard.”

He did, capping his season with two state titles to help the team edge Falmouth by seven points. The state title was Waterville’s fourth in six years.

“It was pretty big,” Spofford said. “It’s what you go for. The last two years it’s been just out of reach. We came up short two years in a row. It seemed like everyone wanted it so bad and we finally got it back.”

This fall, Spofford will enroll at Bates College, where he will compete on the track and field team.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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