LISBON — The Monmouth Academy girls track and field team made a mistake last season. The Mustangs were the favorites going into the Mountain Valley Championships, and they let themselves know it.

“Last year, we were all overconfident when we came into MVCs,” junior Mahala Hayden said. “We had beaten Lisbon my freshman year, and last year we came in and we lost by 10 points or something.”

So this time, coach Tom Menendez made sure his team’s focus was where it needed to be.

“Last year we should have been one of the top teams, and we got overconfident and got squeaked,” he said. “I just told them, ‘We have done this for seven meets. All you’ve got to do is go out and do what you’re capable of doing.’ ”

The message couldn’t have been received more clearly. Monmouth rolled in the championships at Lisbon High School, winning six events en route to 164.5 points and a second title in three years, beating a field led by Lisbon (99), Winthrop (73), Wiscasset (62) and Boothbay (46). Other locals included Hall-Dale (eighth, 33), Richmond (ninth, 28), Mt. Abram (10th, 27) and Madison (12th, five).

“I’m ecstatic. The kids did a great job. They were focused and ready to go,” Menendez said. “Conference (championships are) always a big deal. If you can come out here and compete against schools that are 300, 400 kids when you’ve got 200 in your school, it’s really good.”


The Hall-Dale boys, led by the meet’s top athlete Jon Whitcomb, who tied a 32-year-old meet record in the high jump, threatened Lisbon’s streak of 11 straight titles before falling, 119-105. Mountain Valley (85) was third, Boothbay (77) was fourth and Dirigo (55) was fifth. Other locals included Monmouth (eighth, 35), Winthrop (ninth, 30), Mt. Abram (10th, 29), Madison (11th, 12), Carrabec (12th, nine) and Richmond (13th, four).

“I’m so proud of my kids. They competed all day long,” Hall-Dale coach Jarod Richmond said. “Guys stepped up and did their jobs today. There are so many moving parts to this. Scoring 100 points in this meet is hard to do.”

The Monmouth girls made it look easy. The Mustangs were led by Kaitlyn Hunt, who tied for the meet’s top female athlete distinction with wins in the 1,600 (5:54.72) and 3,200 (13:04.02) meters. Hunt tried to keep pace with Richmond’s Destiny Anair, who was second in the 1,600 and third in the 3,200, throughout both events, and edged her by less than a second in the mile.

“I always worry about her,” Hunt said. “Today, (Menendez) told me to stay with her until the last 600 and then push past. … Around the second lap I wanted to push past, but I knew I should stay with her and push towards the end.”

Monmouth also thrived in the field events, most notably in javelin, taking each of the top four places. Maddie Amero led a group including Destiny Clough, Hayden and Abby Allen, with her throw of 106-7 giving her first place comfortably ahead of Clough’s 90-1.

“Last year, I couldn’t compete, so I felt like I really had to up my game and bring it,” said Amero, who missed last season with a knee injury. “I really wanted to contribute to a win this year.”


Hayden got her turn in first place in the discus with a throw of 92-1.

“From freshman year, this has been my goal, really, for all of high school,” she said. “I had a good throw to get into finals, and then my throws dropped a little, and then I hit that last throw. I think it’s just the training that I’ve been putting in.”

Monmouth also got a win out of the 4×800 relay — with Hunt contributing to that effort as well — and a victory from Libby Clement, who took the 300 hurdles at 49.61 even after a close call with a false start.

“It felt so good,” said Clement, who also took fifth in the 100 hurdles. “I stuttered a little bit at the beginning … but when you have someone competing right next to you, you get a little hyped and you start to come back.”

Hall-Dale’s pursuit of its first MVC boys title included perhaps the meet’s signature moment. Whitcomb was already at a personal best and school record mark of 6-3 in the high jump when he hit the bar on his first two tries at 6-4. A large crowd had gathered by the area, and the senior got the onlookers to start clapping in unison before clearing the bar, tying a meet record that had stood since 1985 and setting off a celebration with Whitcomb and his teammates.

“It was a very energized audience. That definitely helps me,” said Whitcomb, who also won the pole vault (11-0) and took second in the 110 hurdles and fourth in the discus. “This is probably the only event I had today that I really felt good in, every jump and every run-through. From the first jump I had at 5-6, I knew it was going to be a good day.”


“He’s the heart and soul of the team,” Richmond said. “He gets kids pumped up, he gets kids fired up.”

The Bulldogs, who beat Lisbon at the Capital City Classic at Cony last week, were also helped by a bevy of top-three finishes, including from Owen Bean (second 800), Ashtyn Abbott (third high jump), John Longfellow (third shot put) and Matt Albert, who overcame low seedings to finish second in the javelin and fourth in the pole vault.

“I wasn’t expecting to do well in either one of those,” said Albert, who was seeded sixth in the javelin and last in the pole vault. “It felt great to come in second because that helps with our score. … I knew we were going to be very close to Lisbon. I thought we could pull it off after seeing what we did in Cony.”

Hall-Dale also got a win on the girls side from Sabrina Freeman, who took the pole vault at 7 feet. The Winthrop girls were led by a win in the 400 from Kinli DiBiase (1:03.83), while Jilian Schmelzer turned in a second-place finish in the 100 for the Ramblers, Maya Deming was second in the 3,200 and Aaliyah Wilson-Falcone was third in the long jump.

“I’ve worked really hard to try to get my times down and get a PR all season,” DiBiase said. “It’s a very rewarding feeling to know that all season I’ve worked really hard for this moment, and that I’ve been able to get it.”

On the girls side, top-three finishes also went to Tori Spencer and Moira Burgess, who were second and third for Monmouth in the 1,600 race walk, Monmouth’s Emily Grandahl (third 300 hurdles, second triple jump), Mt. Abram’s Alice Cockerham (third 100), Avery Taylor (third high jump) and Risa Marble (third discus) and Hall-Dale’s Julia Stahlnecker (second shot put) and Isabella Cowing (third 1,600).


“I was seeded fifth, so I was expecting sixth or seventh,” Cockerham said. It was surprising. … I had a good start, but it’s hard to tell (during the race) because everyone is neck-and-neck.”

On the boys side, top-three finishes went to Mt. Abram’s Xavier Romanoski (second 1,600 and 3,200), Monmouth’s Zack Wallace (second shot put), Madison’s Darrin Libby (third 100), Winthrop’s Scottie Dunn (third 300 hurdles) and Carrabec’s Paul Kaplan (third discus).

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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