GORHAM — Deering High School was in the driver’s seat and primed to win its first boys’ Class A state indoor track title since 2004 when disaster struck Monday.

With one event remaining — the 800-meter relay — the Rams just had to run to their capability and the title was theirs.

Running the second section of four finals, Deering, the fifth seed, dropped the baton on the second handoff and was disqualified when it bounced out of the zone.

That opened the door for Scarborough, which needed a win in the relay to claim the title.

And the Red Storm did just that, taking the state title by one point over the dejected Rams at the University of Southern Maine.

Nick Morris of Scarborough nipped Nate Bucknell of Gorham at the finish to end one of the most exciting conclusions to a Class A meet in years.

“After we saw what Deering had done, we knew what we had to do,” said Morris.

Morris was running in his first meet since Christmas, when a leg injury sidelined him.

A top runner entering his senior season, Morris dug deep to hold off Bucknell.

“It was kind of surreal,” said Scarborough coach Derek Veilleux. “We not only had to run our best but we also had to have help from Deering.”

Had Gorham edged Scarborough, Deering would have won the meet. Gorham ended up being disqualified when a runner threw the baton in disgust.

Deering entered the meet seeded fourth, but with strong performances from Tony Sen (a second in the hurdles) Jared Bell and Bryan White (a 1-3 in the shot out) and Billy Farrell’s fifth in the triple jump, Deering led the entire meet until the end.

Scarborough finished with 46 points, Deering with 45, and Mt. Ararat, Bonny Eagle and Brunswick tied for third with 40.

In the boys’ meet, Harlow Ladd of Messalonskee set a state record in the 2-mile with a time of 9:21.87, breaking the mark set by Eric Giddings (9:24.26) of South Portland in 2005.

The girls’ meet also came down to the final event and produced a familiar winner.

Scarborough won its eighth consecutive state title.

The Red Storm needed a third or better in the relay and won it in a record time of 1 minute, 48.13 seconds with the team of Morgan Rodway, Jessica Meader, Avery Pietras and Nicole Kirk.

Scarborough finished with 66 points and Thornton Academy had 61.5. Rounding out the top five were Bangor (47), Brunswick (45) and Cheverus (45).

“We had to stay focused,” said Kirk. “We knew we had to finish third or better. We don’t get a lot of firsts but we have great depth. We have a lot of fun.”

The Red Storm took second in the 3,200-meter relay to open the meet. Kirk finished second in the 200 and third in the 55. Emily Tolman of Scarborough placed second in the long jump and fourth in the 800. And Catherine Bailey of the Red Storm was second in the pole vault.

“All the girls performed well,” said Scarborough Coach Ron Kelly. “Based on the seeds, we were in the 50s for points along with two other teams. Bangor was in the 70s but when they didn’t do as well as expected in the pole vault and the long jump, we all moved up. Next year we’ll really have to perform above our seeding if we want to win. We’re graduating a lot of seniors.”

Sarah Perkins of Gorham was the meet’s top performer with wins in the 55 hurdles, the 400 and the 200.

Perkins might have gone out a little too fast in the 400: She barely held on to beat Teal Jackson of Brewer.

“My coach told me to go out fast in the 400,” joked Perkins. “I was pretty tired on the home stretch. It didn’t seem like my legs were working. I was happy to come back and run a 25.82 in the 200.”

As a junior last year, Perkins won the 55 hurdles indoors and the 200 outdoors.

Fiona Hendry of Cheverus won the mile and 2-mile.

The boys’ 800 relay had to wait several minutes for the triple jump to be completed. Some thought the delay in the relay would make the wrapup anticlimatic.

The end was anything but that.

 


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