Staff Writer

TOPSHAM — The Messalonskee boys’ 4×800 relay team pulled off one of the upsets of the Class A track and field championships at Mt. Ararat High School on Saturday. And no one was more surprised than the Eagles themselves.

The quartet of Anthony Amalfitano, Zachariah Hoyle, Carson Bessey and Own Concaugh went into the meet seeded fourth after finishing third at last week’s KVAC championships. But they shaved 16 seconds off their seed time and chased down defending champion Scarborough to win in 8 minutes, 13.75 seconds, followed by the Red Storm in 8:14.60.

“We did not expect to finish first in states after finishing third in KVACs,” Hoyle said.

“I think we all knew that we could pick it up from KVAC’s,” added Concaugh, “but we really didn’t imagine this much.”

Messalonskee’s relay team highlighted a memorable day for several central Maine athletes, including champions Taylor Lenentine of Messalonskee, Abby Weigang of Lawrence and Mt. Blue’s Nate Pratt-Holt and Aaron Willingham.

Led by Isaiah Harris, Lewiston beat Scarborough for the boys title, which came down to the final event. Thornton Academy cruised to its second consecutive girls title. Messalonskee was the top local school in the boys standings, finishing ninth. Mt. Blue was tops among local girls with a seventh-place finish.

Lenentine, a senior, took a relaxed approach to the pole vault and turned in the winning jump of 10-06 on her first attempt.

“For many years past, I have not gotten past 8-06 at this meet because I’ve stressed myself out so much,” she said. “But, honestly, with the help of a couple of friends, I’ve just felt relaxed and get to where I want to be.”

Weigang collected her third state title in the 300 meter hurdles but her first in Class A. As a freshman and sophomore at Orono High School, the now senior Weigang won back-to-back titles in Class C before transferring to Lawrence.

She missed former Messalonskee star Jesse Labreck’s eight-year-old state record by just .05 of a second with her winning time of 44.97, beating Cony’s Madeline Reny (46.63) and Nokomis’ Erin Martin (47.91), in what she said was her best race of the year. Weigang said she wanted to share the title with her current school and her old school.

“This morning I was thinking about how today I feel like I have the support of two teams, two schools and two communities behind me today,” she said. “Both have been so important to my success this season.”

Weigang also finished third in the 100 hurdles behind champion Nina Tasker, a freshman from Noble (15.28), and Martin, who turned in a PR time of 15.50.

“I just wanted to stay with her,” Martin said of Tasker. “I almost had her but the last few steps, she got me. I had a good start coming out of the blocks. It felt awesome. She’s fast.”

Other top performers among the girls were: Cony’s Anna Guadalupi (sixth in 1,600), Lawrence’s Kiana Letourneau (second in 800), Nokomis’ Austin Taylor (fifth in 400). Messalonskee’s Emily Steinmeyer (second in javelin), Taylor Poissonnier (seventh javelin), Elizabeth Larsen (sixth in 1,600 race walk), Avery Brennan (fourth in 800) and Lucy Guarnieri (sixth in triple jump and pole vault), Skowhegan’s Madeline Price and Leah Savage (second and third, respectively, in triple jump) and Ariana Bacon (seventh in shot put). Skowhegan’s 4×100 team of Savage, Jaycee Cushman, Caitlin Cushman and Price placed fourth in the 4×100 relay. Cony’s 4×400 relay of Guadalupi, Courtney King, Kalianna Lutz and Reny was seventh.

Pratt-Holt defended his triple jump title during a competition which featured a different leader after each round. He was the last jumper in the final round and pulled off the winner, 44-02.75, 4.5 inches past runner-up Peyton Wiegand of Sanford.

“There was (pressure to repeat). I was seeded fourth, too, so I was kind of an underdog. I like being an underdog,” he said. “It was just adrenaline on the last jump.”

A junior, Pratt-Holt also finished second in the long jump behind South Portland’s Michael Cuesta.

Willingham won the 3,200 by nearly eight seconds over Lewiston’s Osman Dorrow, several hours after Dorrow and teammate Harris overtook him in the final 200 meters of the 1,600.

“I was feeling exhausted so I started telling myself to feel better, and it worked,” he said. “The beginning was weird because a lot of people were being pushed and I had to jump out of a box of runners. That kind of ruins some of my confidence, but once I got back into the groove, I started hitting my times.”

Other top performers among the boys were: Messalonskee’s Damon Bickford (fourth in shot put) and Tanner Burton (fourth in 110 hurdles) and Skowhegan’s Eli Holland (seventh in 400). Mt. Blue’s 4×800 of Willingham, Isaiah Reid, William Frederic and Dan Lesko was sixth.

Willingham wasn’t the only runner eclipsed by Harris, a senior headed to Penn State on a track and field scholarship. He accounted for 40 of Lewiston’s 71 points, winning the 200, 800 and 1,600 before anchoring Blue Devils’ 4×400 team to victory in the final event of the day to clinch the title, the school’s first since 2006. Lewiston (71 points), Scarborough (61), Cheverus (59), Falmouth (52) and Thornton Academy (44) made up the top five.

On the girls side, Thornton finished with 80 points, followed by South Portland (62), Lewiston (59), Gorham (39) and Falmouth (35).

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33