WINSLOW — When it comes to track and field, there are a few names that pop almost immediately into people’s heads.

Usain Bolt. Carl Lewis. Florence Griffith-Joyner. They are the athletes who made the 100 meters most famous, the characters and superstars who turned track and field into must-see athletic competition. On Thursday at Winslow High School, the Winslow boys track team used the sprint events to power to the school’s first Community Cup championship.

The Black Raiders, led by senior Ben Smith’s new school records in the 100 and 200, as well as his superb anchor leg in the 4×400 relay, unseated two-time defending Community Cup champion Messalonskee by an overall score of 141-128.

“The home crowd, the energy today, I think that really got me going for those runs,” Smith said.

On the girls’ side, Messalonskee claimed its second straight Community Cup with a 161-86.5 win over Lawrence.

Sprinting is an art form, more technique and strategy than brute speed. For most runners, including Kiana Letourneau of Lawrence — whose winning 12.80-second burst in the 100 matched her own school record — the race goes by in a blur, albeit a well-orchestrated one.


“It feels like steps, but it’s over so quick,” Letourneau said. “The race is over before you know it, but the leading up to it is so slow and it feels like forever. It feels like strategy is really important.”

Tanner Burton of Messalonskee set the new Community Cup record in the 110-meter hurdles. He broke his 14.91-second winning time into segments, almost in the same way a miler or two-miler would describe their much longer efforts.

“There’s steps that go into it,” Burton said. “In between each hurdle, I like to think of it like there’s an individual mini-sprint sprint going on. You don’t want to float. You want to be on the ground as fast as possible. You want to get out of the box. You’re driving, and then around 50 meters, that’s where you’re fully up and you can really dig into it. Those first 50, it’s all acceleration.”

“The 100 especially, it’s all about the start,” Smith said. “If your start’s off, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find wins. The 200, you have a little more room to play with, but I’d say for both the start’s pretty important.”

The techniques have changed the sprints as much as anything, said Winslow coach Ken Nadeau.

“We spend a lot of time on really short bursts, which is a new art for me,” Nadeau said. “I always thought that the more you run the faster you get, but it’s kind of the opposite with sprinting. I rarely run 100 meters with my kids (in training). I try to cater my training to them, but it doesn’t hurt that I have talent in Ben Smith, Ben Dorval and Jake Warn and some of those other young men. Coaching becomes fun because they have talent.”


For Warn, a junior, he’s candid about where his interest in the sprints comes from. He likes the energy that comes from a marquee event that draws the attention of the crowd.

“It’s definitely an intense race. It’s a lot of fun,” said Warn, who finished second to Smith in the 100 on Wednesday. “The atmosphere is fun. You get a little sweat going, you get a little nervous. Everyone’s right there next to you, and it’s always pretty tight. I like to be pushed pretty hard that way.”

Smith and Warn, in particular, have used each other to work toward success. Though Smith just joined the outdoor team for the first time this season, Warn likes having his former soccer teammate alongside during both training sessions and at meets.

No one was happier to see Smith set new school records in the 100 and 200 than Warn.

“It’s a motivator, for sure,” Warn said. “I was pretty glad he (joined the team). It’s just pushed me further. I got a PR today, so he’s just pushing me to run faster.”

Behind Winslow and Messalonskee, Waterville finished third overall with 64 points. Lawrence (32.5) and Skowhegan (30.5) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. The Winslow girls finished third (54.5), with Skowhegan (48) and Waterville (46) rounding out the five-team field.


Messalonskee’s Avery Brennan won the 800 and 1600 to help lead the Eagles — who claimed nine event wins, including all three relays.

“You obviously want to win (this meet), but the real prize is the KVACs and states,” Messalonskee coach Matt Holman said. “You want to use this as a tuneup meet. You want to see good performances, you want to see kids competing, you want to see them racing to the right strategy. You hope to see their times start decreasing, and you want to see their best times of the season.

“We saw a lot of great performances. A lot of people had season-bests today, which is always a good thing.”

Letourneau did her best to try and dethrone Messalonskee, winning four events on the day. In addition to her win in the 100, Letourneau also won the 400 and both the javelin and the long jump.

“I feel like I’ve gotten stronger since last year,” Letourneau said. “I think that’s helped me with my speed, and I think I’ve gained more knowledge, and that’s helping me with my strategies. Hopefully, I can tie it all together for the KVACs.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

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[email protected]

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