The Community Cup was Tim Albert’s idea. So when the rainy spring left Messalonskee unable to host the 15th edition of the annual event, the Lawrence track and field coach was happy to have his school step up.

“Last week, it was we were going to do the throwing, and Messalonskee was going to do the running and jumping,” Alberts said. “Finally, it came down either Wednesday or Thursday when my AD said ‘Nope, we’re going to be hosting it.’ I said ‘No problem. We’ll do what we can do.'”

A change in venue isn’t the only tweak to the event this year. For one, there’s a new school added to the mix, as Maine Central Institute joins the core five of Lawrence, Messalonskee, Winslow, Waterville and Skowhegan.

“MCI has some very good athletes, so I think that’s going to add to the competition,” said Alberts, who pointed out that two of the best shot putters in the state in Waterville’s Sarah Cox and MCI’s Christa Carr will face off. “Over the years, as we’ve gotten closer as colleagues and gotten closer as athletes, they have seen this meet go on for years in the paper and that type of thing, and said ‘Hey, we would love to be a part of it.’ ”

There are other wrinkles as well. Throwing events will have finals like championship meets do, and with the rain that’s drenched the state throughout the spring and kept teams indoors and cancelled meets — Lawrence has held four events instead of the usual six by this point, and Messalonskee didn’t compete until April 30 — the event has taken on a sense of the unknown that’s unusual this late in the season.

“I would definitely agree with that. There are people who don’t even know what the kids can do within the events that they’re doing, just because they haven’t had the chance,” Alberts said. “We may not see the times and distances and jumps and so forth that we’ve seen in the past, but I think that as long as we get this meet in, it’s going to be a huge help for kids that have already qualified (for conference meets) or are right on the fence.”

• • •

While the Community Cup goes on in Readfield, the Capital City Classic will bring 14 teams to Cony’s Alumni Field. And while Cony co-coach Jon Millett downplayed the effect of the weather on the meet, he acknowledged the effect it’s had on the season.

“The whole season has been, honestly, frustrating, because of the number of cancellations we’ve had,” he said. “We’ve had more inside practices than I think in my 20-something years of coaching track this year. But the kids have persevered quite well. We’re very proud of their efforts towards getting prepared for this particular meet. This is kind of like our team championship, per se.”

On the girls side, Cony and Maranacook will compete against each other for the first time since the Rams beat the Black Bears by 6.5 points for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title last spring. Maranacook is the defending Class C state champion.

Both teams should be primed for a showdown again. Cony boasts a talented cast led by Anna Reny, Julia Reny, Gabby Low, Tess Towle and Annemarie Towle, all of whom won at KVACs or finished second last year, while Maranacook is still potent with Molly McGrail, Sophie O’Clair, Ashley Cray, Grace Despres and Gabby Green back after top-five finishes in last year’s meet.

“We’re looking forward to running against them, because they match up pretty well against us,” said Millett, whose team has won each meet in which it has competed. “I would say that’s a two-horse race on the girls side, with Maranacook and Cony.”

The Cony boys haven’t finished worse than second yet this year, and Millett said they’re the favorites Friday as well.

“The boys team is different. They’re very broad,” he said. “We don’t really have any superstars, they’re just good athletes. … We’re going to get a lot of fourths, fifths and sixths.”

• • •

Ken Nadeau knew he had a rising star coming into the season in sophomore Carly Warn. But the Winslow coach has been looking for new ways to utilize one of his top scorers.

Warn, who will be an athlete to watch in Friday’s Community Cup, was third in the triple jump in the Class B state meet last year and had top-10 finishes in the 100 and 200, and was a natural fit for the 4×100 relay team. But this season, to increase the points punch that Warn can pack, he’s had her focus on individual events, rather than burn up her eligibility in a relay.

“Our league is so big. In order to compete with those bigger teams that are in Class B … I need to ask a lot out of my kids,” Nadeau said. “They need to be multi-event kids, and they need to be in the top tier of the conference. I can’t just have them be good at two things and run a relay.”

In a KVAC event at Winslow Saturday, Warn competed in the triple jump, and won with a jump of 16-1.5, a mark that would have been tied for second at states last year. She also won the triple jump (34-2.25) and was second in both the 100 and 200.

“She’s a lot like her brother. Jake was a phenomenal jumper and sprinter for us,” Nadeau said. “She wants to do well, she’s humble. … We do a lot of video of what’s going on, and she really looks to fix things. She’s super coachable.”

• • •

Hall-Dale’s already talented group of field athletes has another standout.

The Bulldogs had state champions coming back in Matt Albert in the javelin and Ashtyn Abbott in the high jump, but they’ve also gotten a great spring from Alixx Canwell, who has turned into a championship contender in the discus in his senior year.

Canwell was second in the Mountain Valley Conference last year at 115-3, but he’s moved past those marks this season. He took first in Winslow Saturday while competing against athletes from bigger KVAC schools, and his throw of 126-3.5 would have been second in Class C last year, bested only by Bangor Christian’s Austin Keib, who has since graduated.

Coach Jarod Richmond said Canwell’s success has been hard-earned through effort put in on his own and with throwing coach Jesse Rowe.

“After football season, he was in the weight room working out and doing the things he needed to do to get his body ready,” he said. “He’s really worked hard. He takes a ton of pride in what he’s doing.”

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