Riley Field had no intentions of returning to indoor track this winter.

A senior at Messalonskee High School, Field competed in the sprints as a freshman and distance events as a sophomore, but last year elected to skip track season.

Field, who will play field hockey at the University of Maine beginning in the fall, had all intentions of passing on track once again this winter.

Her friends had other plans.

“My junior year I did indoor field hockey so I didn’t want to put too much stress on myself,” Field said. “Going into this season I kind of said the same thing, ‘I’m not going to do track, it’s going to be too stressful with field hockey at the same time.’

“Then at the last minute my friends convinced me, so I said, ‘alright, I’ll do it.'”

First-year Messalonskee head coach Matt Holman is certainly happy those friends — Emily Warren, Hannah Pinney and Lydia Dexter — swayed Field’s opinion. Throughout the season she has consistently finished in the top three in the 55- and 200-meter races.

“It’s been fun to have that caliber of an athlete on our team,” Holman said. “It’s really helped out the whole group.”

Field noted that one of the things that has intrigued her about returning to track has been the differences she has noticed in her own performances since her sophomore year.

“It’s really fun. My body changed a lot since sophomore year so I think just athletically I’m in a lot better shape than I was,” Field said. “It’s cool to see the difference. I’ve really just been learning how to run and it’s cool seeing the changes you can make in just a few months.”

Overall, Field said it has been a good season thus far for the Eagles.

Holman, 29, who is in his first stint as a head coach at the high school level, said he “couldn’t have asked for a better situation to come into.”

In their most recent meet on Jan. 9 at Bowdoin College, the Messalonskee boys scored 101 points to hold off Lewiston (97), Brunswick (91) and Belfast (68), while the girls also came out victorious with 93 points. The Blue Devils (79), Dragons (73) and Lions (68 1/2) rounded out the top four.

Tanner Burton, who placed fourth in the 110 hurdles in Class A during the outdoor season last spring, has picked up where he left off and is putting together a strong season, according to Holman. Zach Hoyle, Carson Bessey and Owen Concaugh have also performed well thus far in the distance events, while in the shot put Emily Steinmeyer is “having another great year as well,” Holman said.

Holman also noted he has gotten help from the team’s former coach, Scott Wilson, during the season.

“He’s always around helping us out,” Holman said. “He’s a great resource to kind of help me out with the first year head coaching duties.”

Wilson elected to step away from the head coaching position prior to the season, but said he could not get away completely. In addition to helping with Messalonskee he also works with pole vaulters from Erskine.

“It was just a lot of hours and I’m getting older,” Wilson said. “I like being in the background coaching because not being head coach you don’t have to worry about administrative stuff and all that. It’s just coaching and that’s more fun.

“…I don’t think I could give it all the way up. I enjoy it. I enjoy the kids, I enjoy track.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter; @Evan_Crawley


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