Last year was a dream season for the Winslow High School boys track and field team, one that included Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Class B championships. And while this spring likely won’t be as dominant, coach Ken Nadeau knows there are still reasons to expect big things from the Black Raiders come the end of May.

“My goal always with my kids is to be super competitive at KVACs,” he said. “With so many teams in KVAC B, if we can score where we’re supposed to, I think we can be competitive. … I really look at a KVAC title as a goal.”

That task was going to be tougher already without dominant speedster Ben Smith, but it became more difficult after Cony and Mt. Blue dropped down from Class A and MCI moved up from Class C.

Still, the Black Raiders should be strong in the sprints, jumps and relays, as was the case last year. Jake Warn leads the way in the 100 and 200, while Max Spaulding will be one of the top sprinters and hurdlers. Ben Dorval will score in the high jump, sprints and perhaps even throws after adding what Nadeau called several pounds of muscle.

A drop to Class B has the Cony boys team thinking about a conference and possible state title. The boys finished third in KVAC A a year ago and return several scorers. In addition, they’ve added newcomers who should score in the field events.

Due to unexpectedly strong numbers this year, the Rams should have all the events covered. Among returning scorers from a year ago are Elijah Dutil (who won the KVAC high jump title), Travis Nickerson (sprints), Caleb Richardson (middle distance), Jack Wroten (distance), Jimmy Olivier (hurdles) and Nathan Berry (400, javelin).

“I’m pretty confident in these guys,” coach Jon Millett said. “At a minimum they should be competitive for a Class B and KVAC title.”

Of the 42 boys and girls who signed up for track at Gardiner, 21 are freshmen, a product of a strong junior high program. Senior high jumper Connor McGuire returns to the team after a year’s absence while freshman Tucker Boudreau (800, hurdles) could qualify for the state meet.

Erskine returns just three seniors but has some scoring depth. Junior Jack Jowett placed third in the javelin and fourth in the high jump at the Class B state meet while Chris Weymouth (jumps) is also expected to score. The addition of Osiris Marable, who completed a strong cross country season, will help.

“I think we’ll do pretty well,” coach David Currier said. “It’s a very young group. We have a lot of first-timers coming out.”

Mt. Blue will look for its move down from Class A to be a positive one. The Cougars were ninth in the KVAC last year, and feature Zeke Robinson as the top returning athlete after a fourth-place showing in the conference in the 2 mile. Promising sophomore Preston Ross could become a top-10 110 and 300 hurdler as well.

It’ll be a new environment for MCI as well, which will compete in Class B for the first time in nearly a decade. Aaron Schanck leads the way after finishing third in the discus in KVACs, and Matt Glidden could be a top-10 competitor in the 200 and the high jump.

“I really feel like everyone in the gym is going to contribute,” coach Jason Allen said. “There’s nobody in the gym I see and say ‘Boy, they really need a lot of work.’ ”

Hopes are high at Lawrence for a stronger showing after last year’s 11th-place finish in both KVACs and states. Tyler Hall was sixth in the pole vault in the conference meet as a freshman, while Thomas Kenney and Zachary Campbell both finished in the top seven in the 110 hurdles.

Waterville had a solid showing last season with seventh-place finishes both in the conference and in Class B, and the Purple Panthers will be led by a couple of KVAC title hopefuls in Ethan Nurick (triple jump) and Rasheed Parker (shot put).

“While not as deep this year, they can score high in every event group,” coach Ted Brown said. “If they can stay healthy, they will be a force to be reckoned with.”

Bolstered by a strong indoor winter, Nokomis will look for strong seasons from Nick Marchelletta (sprints), Chance Graves (sprints/middle distance) and Sam Roy (distance.)

CLASS A

Messalonskee bid adieu to many of the scorers that led it to a KVAC championship, but the Eagles will have some promising returners. Ethan Duperry (third in discus at the KVACs) and John-Luke D’Amico (sixth in pole vault) could be in the running for conference titles, and Christian Alley will be an asset in the 100 and 200.

“We’re still in a rebuilding process,” coach Matt Holman said. “A lot of those people that graduated were pretty strong.”

Skowhegan will look to make a run at a KVAC title with some strong athletes back. Jon Bell (100), Clay Miller (pole vault), Cutter Warger (discus) and Kyle Jacques (long jump) were all top-five finishers at the KVACs, and there’s enough depth around for the Indians to be a tough team to beat as well.

CLASS C

Monmouth returns some proven scorers, including Zack Wallace (throws), Ethan Thombs (throws, middle distance) and Abram Sirois. The team of Dylan Lajoie, Evan Burnell, Kyle Gunnells and Dylan Goff that won the 4×800 relay title at the conference meet also returns.

“It looks pretty good,” coach Tom Menendez said. “We’ve got some good new additions.”

Hall-Dale graduated the big scorers who led the Bulldogs to a second-place finish at the MVC meet and fourth in the state, but the Bulldogs retain some scoring depth led by Owen Bean (400), Matt Albert (javelin, long jump), Alixx Canwell (throws) and Ashtyn Abbott (high jump).

“We’re pretty balanced and we’re pretty deep,” coach Jarod Richmond said. “We have guys in every discipline capable of scoring points.”

Maranacook returns conference and state pole vault champion Will Green and fellow captain Bryan Riley (sprints) who will provide a good scoring base. Ten seasoned veterans return to the Black Bears, who also welcome a dozen newcomers which should give them the depth to cover every event.

Winthrop doesn’t return a lot of points from a year ago and will count upon a group of seniors that includes Jack Caprara (throws), Luke St. Hilaire (throws), Vincent Scott (distance), along with a half dozen returning sophomores and juniors.

Richmond’s program continues to grow and is up to 28 boys and girls. Nick Adams (sprints), Nate Curtis (throws) and Ben Young (jumps) are among the Bobcats’ better scoring opportunities.

Mount View drops down from Class B, where it finished eighth in the state. The Mustangs lost some of their best athletes, but could be deeper this year and still get a crack at KVAC titles from Rayno Boivin (third, javelin) and Elijah Allen (fifth, mile).

Mt. Abram should get good showings in the middle distance and a strong season from racewalker Ben Butterfield. Madison/Carrabec, a co-op team this year, will look to be bolstered by a large group of freshmen.

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