Every athlete undoubtedly experiences highs and lows throughout the course of a season.

Tyler Fitzgerald is no exception.

“It was a crazy year,” he said.

Indeed it was for the Hall-Dale senior.

Fitzgerald came into the spring season with lofty expectations but then missed three weeks with a left leg injury. He recovered late in the season to win the Class C state championship in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. He also set a school record in the long jump at the meet.

For his accomplishments this season, Fitzgerald is the Kennebec Journal Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. Cony senior Luke Dang was also considered.

Fitzgerald came into the season hoping to set a Class C record in the 100. He was well-positioned to chase down the 10.99 mark that Dom Kone of Buckfield set in 2009.

But then the pain came in early May.

“It was the most frustrating thing I ever had to deal with,” Fitzgerald said. “Being on the track sidelines, I guess you could say, and not being able to do anything, that was tough. The meets weren’t that bad; it was just the practices. I really didn’t know if I’d be able to come back.”

Fitzgerald returned May 17 for the annual Cony Under the Lights meet. He ran the 100 in a personal best 11.19 seconds to win the race that also featured Dang.

A week later, Fitzgerald returned to Alumni Field in Augusta for the Mountain Valley Conference championships and won the 100 in 11.58.

He also won the 200 in 23.82 and was second in both the 400 and long jump. His 36 points at the meet helped Hall-Dale nearly upset favored Lisbon for the conference title. The Greyhounds scored 133 points while the Bulldogs finished with 129.5.

“We were striving for balance and depth, but we also don’t do a lot of things without Tyler’s ability to go out and win or be a threat to win,” Hall-Dale coach Jarod Richmond said. “You didn’t have to work hard to motivate him.”

Hall-Dale followed up its strong showing at the MVC meet with another one at the Class C state championships. The Bulldogs, thanks to Fitzgerald, finished second to Foxcroft Academy.

Fitzgerald won the 100 (11.43), 200 (23.73) and set a school record in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet, 7.25 inches to finish second.

“The jump was a (personal record) by 15 inches,” he said. “I don’t know where that came from. I really wanted the 100 and then I went for it in the 200. I was seeded seventh but I knew it was the last race of my high school career, so I went for it.”

And he got it, edging out Lisbon senior Aaron Halls by nine one-hundredths of a second.

“He definitely wanted to end his career a certain way,” Richmond said. “He definitely had a goal in that he wanted to win the 100 and 200.”

Fitzgerald will attend the University of Maine in the fall. He said he plans to try to compete for the outdoor track and field team.

“I’m a little bit nervous because it’s a big step from high school track to Division I,” he said, “but I think I’ll try and go for it.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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