Staff Writer

Messalonskee senior Harlow Ladd has posted the fastest times in the state in the mile and two-mile run this winter and he would like to go faster.

Ladd has established personal bests in both events, running the mile in 4 minutes, 20.54 seconds and the two-mile in 9:35.49. He established his mile time at the Millrose Trials in New York City earlier this month, beating his previous best by four seconds.

“It was mostly because of the competition,” said Ladd, who finished seventh.

The second best mile time posted so far is 4:36 by Brunswick’s Jamie Ross. Last year during the outdoor season, Ladd finished second in the Class A state meet in 4:27.75.

He’s made even greater progress in the two-mile, where he placed fourth in the Class A outdoor meet in 9:53.55. His 9:35 this winter is 23 seconds ahead of Gorham’s Jesse Orach, but he’s still expecting a close race at the state meet.

“He’s an animal,” Ladd said. “That’s going to be an interesting race. I’m just going to take it out hard.”

Ladd has hardly run the two-mile this season. Last week, he passed up the event so he could post a qualifying time in the 800 for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet on Feb. 11. He plans to compete in all three at the KVACs but just the mile and two mile at the states. He’s set some ambitious goals for that meet in both events.

“I want to break 9:15 in the two mile and 4:15 in the mile,” he said.

Expect Ladd to take off during the outdoor season where the track is much longer and the training more intense.

“We don’t train nearly as much (indoors) and it’s not as hard,” he said. “It’s basically like base training outdoors.”

Ladd has narrowed his college choices to two.

“Right now it’s between UNH and UMass-Amherst,” he said.

Ladd visited the University of New Hampshire recently and plans a campus visit to UMass-Amherst next week.

* * *

Waterville athletes continue to tune up for the Class B conference and state meets in several events. Junior Bethanie Brown has posted the top times in the state in the 800, mile and two-mile. Her two-mile time of 10:48.35 is also the best this season in New England.

“I think she’s got pretty good range,” Waterville coach Ian Wilson said.

Junior Lara Bluhm has also qualified for the 800, although her time of 2:32.42 is well behind Brown’s 2:16.60.

“She’s kind of been in Bethanie’s shadow,” Wilson said. “Most coaches would be pretty happy to have a 2:32 runner.”

The girls 4×200 relay team set a school record last year and could break it again this season. There were three freshmen on that team and there are three — Lydia Roy, Kellie Bolduc and Sarah Shulta — on this year’s team, along with junior Alexa Frame. Wilson could add speedsters Georgia Bolduc and Olivia Thurston to the group, but he’ll likely keep it intact since there’s a limit of the number of events one can compete in.

“I’m pretty happy with that group,” he said.

Thurston is currently second in the state in the 400 but Wilson expects her to have a good shot at breaking the state record of 59.51 seconds she set last year at the state meet.

“She’s training hard and she’s ahead of where she was a year ago,” he said.

He also expects big things from junior pole vaulter Devin Burgess once he adjust to his new pole. Bolduc has jumped 12 feet, 6 inches this season.

“As soon as he gets on that pole he’ll add a foot or a foot and half to his vault,” Wilson said. “It’s stiffer. He has to develop a lot of speed.”

* * *

Erskine junior Tyler Adams recently set a personal record of 39 feet, 1 inch in the triple jump, giving him the fourth-best distance in Class B, just behind Waterville Anthony Bellavia and Jordhan Levin and Hermon’s Elias Pasquerillo.

“He definitely has a shot at it,” Erskine coach Dave Hickey said of a state title.

Hickey is excited about his 4×800 girls relay team that has chopped two minutes off its time since the beginning of the season. The team includes freshmen Kaitlin Sutter and Cassidy Bowden along with sophomore Sarah Vasham. They were a second shy of the record at 11:49 but have since added senior captain Michaela Fortin.

“By adding Michaela to the time we should break it next (meet),” Hickey said.

Hickey, who played football at Gardiner and ran track in college, recently returned from active duty in the Air Force and is coaching his first year of track. He coached youth and junior high football around the country while on active duty but finds track particularly refreshing.

“It’s a beautiful sport because there’s no politics in track,” he said. “The stop watch and the measuring tape don’t lie.”

* * *

Lawrence junior Sasha Letourneau has come over to indoor track after playing basketball last year. She’s already qualified for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet in the 55- and 400-meter dashes. Letourneau ran outdoor track and was the top 200 meter runner in the conference last year.

“The 200 is her best event,” Lawrence coach Tim Alberts said. “She just shows her strength.”

Two sophomores on the team recently shattered previous bests. Marissa Paquette set a girls indoor record of 33-5 in the triple jump, improving by over 2 feet.

“She has a tendency to take that first (attempt) out too high,” Alberts said. “This time she just hit it perfectly.”

Paquette has also qualified for the 800. Crystal Crowell recently went over 28 feet in the shot put, an increase of 3 feet.

“That was another one that was honestly unexpected,” Alberts said.

Junior Katie Dudley has qualified in the hurdles and high jump although Alberts said she still hasn’t pulled off that “great run like she did last year” when she set a school record of 9.61 in the hurdles.

Among the boys, Drew Bois, Anthony Sementelli and Anthony Levasseur are all close to qualifying in the dashes and along with Dakota White have formed a strong 4×200 relay team.

Around the track: First-year Winslow junior Alliyah Veilleux is enjoying a banner season. She’s posted the best class B time in the 200, is second in the 55-meter dash and third in the shot put. … Gardiner senior Olivia Reny has qualified in the 55-meter and hurdles while junior teammate Cody Whitcomb is fourth in the Class B 800 and 13th in the mile. … Waterville freshman Kellie Bolduc has the top triple jump in class B at 35-4.75. … Cony junior Luke Dang is fourth in the Class A 55 and fifth in the 200.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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