Last week was a busy one for local athletes with three meets held at Bowdoin College in four days. It was also a successful, if tiring one, for Messalonskee.

The Eagles were victorious in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meets held Thursday and Saturday.

On Thursday, the boys defeated Brunswick in its backyard, 144-116, in an eight-team meet, while the girls outdistanced the Dragons, 114.5-99.5, in a six-team field. After ringing in the new year, they returned to Brunswick for a 10-team meet on Saturday and the boys topped Edward Little, 142-67, while the girls topped the Red Eddies, 126-101.

“Boy, it’s been a hectic week,” Messalonskee coach Matt Holman said. “It’s been tough with school vacation. It’s brutal having a meet on Thursday night, then having a Saturday meet, especially when you factor in New Year’s Eve and the end of (school) vacation.”

The decisiveness of the Eagles’ wins may be a bit surprising, but the engine behind those victories is not.

“Our distance and middle distance teams have really been performing well on both sides,” Holman said. “We look at the 800 and up, they’re really strong performers week in and week out. They’re fun to watch because they compete and they want to get better.”

At the top of the long list of impressive performances was Carson Bessey, who set a school record in the 400 on Saturday with his winning time of 54.98. Also on Saturday, the boys got gold-medal performances from Jeshua Donisvitch (55 and 200), Zach Hoyle (mile, 800), the 4×200 and 4×800 relay teams, and Tanner Burton (55 hurdles), who has established school marks a couple of times already this season.

The girls claimed gold from Avery Brennan (mile, 800) and Peyton Arbour (two mile) on Saturday. Brennan also swept the mile and 800 on Thursday.

Other winners on Thursday were Natale Cardillo (mile), Burton (55 hurdles), Owen Concaugh (800), Hoyle (mile), Sydni Collier (shot put) and Emma Wentworth (200).

Wentworth and Arbour are freshmen leading a strong group of underclassmen that has impressed Holman and his wife, Vanessa, who are in their first year coaching the Eagles.

“We’re getting really good contributions from our young kids,” Holman said. “Our freshmen are running well in both (sprints and distances) and learning to be competitive high school athletes. They’re working their butts off and it’s starting to show at the meets.”

Holman said he is pleased with how all of his athletes have responded to the new coaching staff and workouts this season and is excited to see how the rest of the season unfolds. The Eagles’ next test will be next Saturday, when they return to Bowdoin for a meet that includes Brunswick and Lewiston.

“It will be a good way to measure where we’re at halfway through the year,” he said.

• • •

Winslow’s Ben Smith was a central figure in some of the week’s most exciting moments at Bowdoin’s Farley Field House with several photo finishes.

On Monday, Smith edged Edward Little’s Tyler Blanchard by .11 of a second in the 55 meter dash and beat Lewiston’s Abdi Shariff-Hassan, by a more comfortable .32 in the 200. Two days later, he nipped Lewiston’s Stefan Porter by .01 in the 55, then edged Drew Nealey of Belfast by .07 in the 200.

Smith’s reaction to the thrilling finishes was typically low key, according to Winslow coach Ken Nadeau.

“He actually said he really didn’t feel that great. He felt he ran pretty well but he feels like he can run better,” Nadeau said.

“He’s a little ahead of where he was last year,” he added. “He ran his fastest 200 time ever on Wednesday.”

The Black Raiders also enjoyed strong performances last week from Ciera Poulin (first and second in shot put), Paige Smith (first and second in triple jump and second in long jump), Tyler Harriett (second, shot put) and Sara Doughty (third, 200). Sprinter Cody Doughty and the boys 4×200 relay team also stood out.

Nadeau has a small team that has to give up a lot of events, but the numbers (21 athletes) are almost double what the Black Raiders had last year and the athletes, and the program, are headed in the right direction.

“The big thing to me is the kids are out there working hard,” Nadeau said. “We’ve got a good group of juniors that are kind of the core of the team.”

• • •

A number of other local athletes had success at Bowdoin last week.

Skowhegan’s Maddy Price won the 55 and 200 on Monday. Trever Gray of Waterville earned gold in the shot put on Wednesday.

Thursday’s winners included Waterville’s Lauren Brown (two mile) and Alison Linscott (high jump, pole vault, triple jump); Erin Martin of Nokomis (55 hurdles); Lawrence’s Alexis Chamberlain (55 dash), Benjamin Copeland (pole vault), and girls 4×200 and 4×800 relays; and MCI’s Curtis McLeod (shot put) and Hunter Wintle (triple jump).

On Saturday, Martin repeated in the 55 hurdles, Price in the 55 dash, and McLeod in the shot. Price also won the triple jump. Mt. Blue’s Nate Pratt-Holt was a winner in the long jump and triple jump. Erskine’s Chris Weymouth won the high jump and Raymond Weymouth won the pole vault,

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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