It’s Winslow High School’s turn to hold the Community Cup. And while Ken Nadeau acknowledged that there isn’t much of a home-field edge, the Winslow track and field coach said it’s a good feeling to be able to play the host.

“Having it at our place, I can’t say it’s an advantage,” Nadeau said. “But it’s nice to be home.”

Of course, this spring, it’s nice to be anywhere. A wet April and May have forced teams to wipe out whole chunks of the early portions of their schedules, and so now, with conference championships two weeks away and state championships looming after that, several schools are looking at this week as a chance to get into the flow, rather than round into form.

And this week, two of those chances for some needed competition will be taking place close to home. Winslow will host Lawrence, Messalonskee, Skowhegan and Waterville at the Community Cup on Thursday, and Cony will host Erskine, Gardiner, Maranacook, Wiscasset and Lisbon at the Capital City Classic on Friday.

Teams everywhere have been affected by the rainy spring. Winslow, for instance, just had its second meet of the season Thursday, having seen earlier meets at Cony, Skowhegan and at home called off. According to Nadeau, teams will be able to compete in meets up until the Tuesday before Mountain Valley Conference and Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships. Normally, teams just have until the Friday before.

Nadeau said keeping teams in top form, or close to it, without an ability to compete consistently has been challenging.

“I think it affects our track legs. With the chance to compete comes the ability to push your muscles more than you would in practice,” he said. “Training-wise, trying to keep the kids interested always poses a problem. They want to compete too.”

The Community Cup will provide that, and against teams closeby in the Waterville area. Winslow, Messalonskee and Waterville competed together last Thursday, and while Nadeau said he thinks the girls meet is a toss up, he thinks Messalonskee could be the team to beat on the boys side — though strengths in different areas for the teams makes it tough to project a finishing order.

“Waterville is clearly the best team in the throws, in my opinion,” said Nadeau, whose team scored 123 points to beat Messalonskee (113) and Waterville (68) Thursday. “Skowhegan is best in jumps, they have a couple of kids who jump close to 40 feet in the triple, a few high jumpers that are pretty good. We all have such a variety of strengths, it could end up being really tight.”

One of the top athletes to watch on the girls side will be Kiana Letourneau, Lawrence’s standout hurdler, sprinter, jumper and thrower.

“She’s 40 points,” Messalonskee coach Matt Holman said, referring to the points one athlete could gain with four first-place finishes. “One person scoring 40 points can make up a lot on other teams.”

Holman still sees the girls event being a wide-open competition, even with Letourneau’s presence.

“There are so many events in outdoor that these teams are strong in different areas, each has their own strengths,” he said. “Whoever can pull off a few extra points here and there in all the events will bring it home.”

• • •

Gardiner coach Jen Boudreau knows how strong the Lisbon program is. As a former Greyhound, she’s seen it from the inside.

“I’m excited to bring my team to a meet with Lisbon and see Coach (Dean) Hall again,” Boudreau said. “Just knowing his coaching style and the types of athletes he forms, I definitely think they’re going to be a strong team.”

Lisbon certainly was last year. The Greyhounds ruled at the 2016 Capital City Classic, topping all teams with six wins in the boys competition and nine wins altogether. Heading into this year’s version, the Tigers are one of the teams looking to challenge Lisbon at the annual meeting between teams in the Augusta area.

“Our kids were already talking about it on the bus ride back (from Mt. View on Thursday), ‘I can’t wait for Cony,’ ” Boudreau said. “A, it’s going to be warm, and B, we know the track and we know how to run. It was fun to hear them say that. It adds some excitement to it, and I love the local angle. This will be a fun time, that’s for sure.”

The host Rams were right with Lisbon last year, winning five girls events and eight total. Cony, which swept the girls relays last season, will be a tough team to beat on Friday again, with Anne Guadalupi back in the mix after winning the 1,600 and 3,200 last year. Erskine’s Kaylee Porter (200, 400) and Maranacook’s Janika Pakulski (pole vault) and Nicole D’Angelo (shot put) are also among the locals looking to repeat with victories.

Cony’s Dustin Dyer won the long jump in last season’s meet, and Maranacook’s Thomas Dupuy will look to defend his win in the long jump in the boys competition.

Those won’t be the only teams looking to make a strong impression, however.

“I’m really looking at giving them more experience and going to KVACs with a better idea of what they’re best at and letting them see what they’re best at,” Boudreau said. “And to see them perform with more optimal conditions.”

• • •

The athletes at this week’s track and field events will be facing something different. For one thing, they won’t be needing an umbrella.

The sun should come out from Tuesday on, meaning athletes will get to go from running, throwing and jumping through cold and raindrops to competing in rising temperatures that are expected to reach the high 80s on Thursday.

In other words, spring will finally feel like spring.

“It wasn’t an incredible first experience for a lot of our kids,” Boudreau said of the dreary weather in previous weeks. “I was telling them, ‘I promise it’s not like this all the time!’ ”

There’s an adjustment to make with the nicer weather, however. The sun might feel nice, but athletes who haven’t competed under it often may face an adjustment game with their stamina.

“We’ve been blessed that we had the one really warm day that we ran at Mt. Blue,” Nadeau said. “And no one else has seen it.”

Concentration can be a question mark as well.

“You finally get to sun, and you kind of lose focus. You see it every year,” Holman said. “It seems like every year at KVACs is 100 degrees, sunny, beautiful out, and people are just kind of like ‘Wow, this is so nice.’ They’re just out there enjoying the weather, and it’s like ‘Hey, focus! We’ve got a track meet here!’ ”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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