It’s been a great start to the season for the Winslow boys track and field team.

As for how great? Even coach Ken Nadeau finds it tough to say.

“I would say that this is the best start we’ve had to a season since,” Nadeau said before pausing. “Oh gosh, I couldn’t tell you the last time Winslow’s had a start (in which it has) done this well.”

Indeed, the Black Raiders have spent April stating their case that they’ll be a team to watch come conference and state championship time in late spring. Winslow’s latest statement came Saturday in a meet at Mt. Blue, one in which Mt. Abram, Skowhegan and Nokomis also competed, and where the Black Raiders won a whopping 11 times, including eight individual events.

“The wind was on our side, which helped,” Nadeau said. “It was the first real warm day, competition-wise, for anybody which kind of helped. But kids just put together good numbers.”

Winslow excelled throughout the day, but dominated in the sprints. Ben Smith, a newcomer to the team, led the charge, sweeping the 100, 200 and 400 and contributing to the victory in the 4×100 relay, giving Winslow 32.5 points by himself.

“Realistically, if there were a fourth sprinting event, he could score 40,” Nadeau said. “He has all the tools. He broke our school record by four tenths of a second (in the 200, time of 22.83). He smashed it. It wasn’t even close.”

Winslow’s sprinting talent runs deep. Right behind Smith in the 100 and 200 was Jake Warn, who also took first in the long and triple jump. Spencer Miranda was second in the 400, while also taking first in the high jump. Nick Tiner won the 800, Max Spaulding raced to victory in the 110 hurdles, and Winslow swept the relays, taking first in the 4×400 and 4×800 as well.

Many of those players combined on the relay teams as well, and Nadeau said their success there is no accident.

“It’s a cool dynamic because all of these kids, Max, Ben (Dorval), Jake and Spencer, all play soccer together,” he said. “So they’re super familiar with each other. … There’s a good camaraderie with those boys.”

Good enough that it can carry through into those bigger meets in May and June?

“Absolutely,” Nadeau said. “That’s the core of our boys’ group. Sprinting and jumping is hopefully what’s going to keep us in the mix.”

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Throwers got to savor the spotlight in Pittsfield on Saturday.

Maine Central Institute hosted the Husky Throw Down, a unique event in which track events are eschewed and only the javelin, shot put and discus are held. Fifteen teams joined MCI, with Erskine, Hall-Dale, Lawrence, Madison, Messalonskee, Skowhegan and Waterville among the locals.

Waterville’s Zach Smith had one of the most impressive days on the boys side among local competitors, winning the javelin (152-4) and edging Brewer’s Jacob McCluskey, who won the discus, while also finishing fourth in the discus and eighth in the shot put. Messalonskee’s Cameron Bickford was a standout as well, winning the shot put (47-11) and taking second in the discus (131-7). Hall-Dale’s Jon Whitcomb (discus, third), Erskine’s Jack Jowett (javelin, third) and Waterville’s Jesse Workman (javelin, fourth) had top-five finishes.

On the girls side, Falmouth’s Adelaide Cooke made the biggest mark with a win in the discus and runner-up spots in the javelin and shot put, but some locals made their presence felt as well. Lawrence’s Kiana Letourneau edged Cooke for first in the javelin (99-4) while also adding a fifth-place finish in the shot put, and Skowhegan’s Carey Lee (javelin, third), Waterville’s Sarah Cox (shot put, third), and MCI’s Christa Carr (shot put, fourth) and April McAlpine (javelin, fifth) had top-five efforts.

• • •

New Waterville coach Ted Brown faced a stiffer challenge than he expected to kick off his time at the Purple Panthers’ helm.

Brown’s first event was hosting the Waterville Relays last Saturday, a demanding task as that is, after the team’s first event earlier in the week was cancelled, suddenly became his trial-by-fire debut.

“I’m trying to learn the job. I’m trying to build the plane while I fly it,” he said afterward. “This was not our rust-buster by design.”

Brown also had to compete with the weather, which hovered a few degrees above freezing, featured constant, drizzling rain and even threatened to prevent the meet from taking place.

“We were worried about injuries. We almost called the meet because we didn’t want kids to get injured,” he said afterward. “The other thing is we really haven’t had a lot of outdoor time, so we don’t want to put anything on kids’ shoulders that’s too heavy to bear.”

The fears were ultimately unfounded. The meet was held as planned, and all went smoothly for the new coach.

“I had a couple of things that I wasn’t ready for,” Brown said. “But it all went really well.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

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Twitter: @dbonifantMTM