AUGUSTA — It’s one of the biggest meets of the regular season, with 14 teams showing up to compete this year.

But at this season’s Capital City Classic — for two of the teams in the field, at least — some recent history put a little more on the line.

The Cony and Maranacook girls track and field teams battled for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference title last year — the Rams prevailed by 6.5 points — but the Black Bears took the Class C state championship, and with both teams going into this spring with big goals and high expectations, Friday night provided a sneak peak at what might be the closest competition at KVACs once again.

“Cony’s always been one of our big rivals,” Maranacook sophomore Gabby Green said. “I feel like we don’t really acknowledge it, but I feel like we all really know it. We all know we’ve got to come out and get it.”

Cony coach Shawn Totman stopped short of using that R-word. But he acknowledged that Maranacook’s presence, after the teams’ tight battle last season, upped the stakes of an already big event.

“There’s no doubt,” he said. “They’re such a good team, and you always get up for the good teams. … We emphasize that, if you can compete against these teams that you know are just incredibly high quality, that says a lot about where we are as a team.”


There were other good teams at the meet — take, for instance, Lisbon, which won the Mountain Valley Conference boys’ title last year, and Monmouth, the defending MVC girls’ champion. And there were plenty of standout athletes from other schools — take Winthrop’s Aaliyah WilsonFalcone, who won the shot put, and Hall-Dale’s Ashtyn Abbott, who won the high jump.

But there’s a reason the Rams and Black Bears were favored to be the top two teams on the girls’ side coming in, and they know that they’ll be in the same sentence often with conference meets due up next week.

“It’s definitely fun, because we know it’s going to be close every time,” said Cony sophomore Anna Reny, who took first at the 300 hurdles. “It sort of adds the exciting aspect to it that you don’t always get in every meet. You go ‘Oh, this is going to be a close meet, this is going to be hype until the end.’ ”

It wasn’t the first time the two teams met since the championships last May; Cony handled Maranacook in a matchup earlier in the season. But things change over the course of the year, and with the end of the season approaching, both teams knew they were seeing each other at or near top form.

“When you hit them in early meets, it’s ‘Oh, it’s raining, it’s cold, no one’s in their prime shape yet,'” Reny said. “So to get closer and closer to KVACs with them, you get to see who’s coming up, who’s getting better throughout the season. You look for who’s been PRing, who’s coming up faster.”

And just as football, basketball and baseball teams can circle the calendar when a conference or state title favorite shows up on the schedule, Cony and Maranacook athletes know to bring their best with one of the best teams — and, therefore, some of the best athletes — that they’ll face is up next.


“It adds some excitement to it, knowing that’s who you’re competing against at states,” said Maranacook senior Laura Ireland, who won the pole vault. “Any competition is really helpful in getting new PRs and everything, especially with Cony, when you know there are certain people on the team you’re constantly paired up against.”

Sometimes, the Cony-Maranacook battle translated into specific events, where a Cony and Maranacook athlete met knowing the other was the athlete to beat. This was the case in the javelin, where Julia Reny was seeded first and Green was seeded second, in the 800, where Maranacook’s Molly McGrail was seeded above Bri Harriman, and in the 3,200, where Cony’s Tessa Jorgensen and Grace Kirk were seeded above Maranacook’s Lily Welch.

It also happened in the girls 4×400 relay, where the Cony team of Anna and Julia Reny, Zinab Albrahaihi and Tess Towle was seeded just above Maranacook’s McGrail, Cambelle Nutting, Lily Welch and Caroline Welch.

In those cases, the athletes involved said going up against their rival — there’s that word again — provided a little more competitive fuel.

“Whenever I go to a meet, I’m like ‘I’ve got to beat her.’ That’s my goal,” Green said of Julia Reny. “I don’t care how far I get, I’ve just got to beat her. … That’s been my goal for this year.”

It goes both ways.

“You’re like ‘I’m seeded to beat her, am I actually (going to) if we’re this close?’ ” Anna Reny said. “I know a lot of us check (racing website) Milesplit like there’s no tomorrow. So we know who’s going to be with us. We run the virtual meet, so we know where we’re going to be, what we’re supposed to get.

“Because we all pay attention to where we are, it definitely adds to the hype. … We’re so close points-wise, and you want to be the one to win out in the end.”

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