OAKLAND — Normal is the sound of a start’s pistol going off. Normal is the soft thump of a high jumper landing on the mat.

Normal is the Community Cup track and field meet, back after the Covid-19 imposed hiatus of 2020, and held Saturday at Messalonskee High School’s new track and field facility. The annual meet began in 2005 as a way for the Waterville-area schools Waterville, Winslow, Messalonskee, Lawrence, and Skowhegan to compete against each other in a championship meet before the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and state meets. In 2019, Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield joined the meet.

Winslow would make a clean sweep of the event Saturday, taking both the girls and boys titles. The Winslow girls cruised to victory with 153 points, with Messalonskee (103) finishing second and Waterville (99) finishing third. It was a tighter race for the boys, as the Black Raiders (158.50) finished just ahead of second-place Messalonskee (153.50), with Skowhegan (103) finishing third.

Normal is Lawrence High School senior Josiah Webber, throwing his arms over his head in triumph after winning the boys 1,600 meter race. Webber was seeded third, 14 seconds behind favorite Dylan Flewelling of Messalonskee. Webber suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon earlier this season, and wondered if he had run his last race.

“I’ve been hurt. They cancelled our season (last year). Ever since my sophomore year, I’ve been thinking about coming back. Running a 4:50 today was really nice. I got hurt my first meet, my Achilles (tendon). I was having a really hard time. I ran 4:59, with an injury, but I’m finally feeling better and happy,” Webber said. “Me and Dylan have been racing for a long time. He’s my training partner. We always go hard. I just wanted to give him a good performance and hopefully we’d run some fast times.”

Webber pulled ahead early in the race and stayed there, winning in 4:50.28. Moments after the race, Webber found his coach, Tim Alberts, and gave his mentor a hug.

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“I’m back!” Webber shouted. “I’m back!”

Winslow High School’s Carly Warn, center, floats on air as she wins the 200 meter dash Saturday at the Community Cup in Oakland. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel photo

Normal is the grimace on Charlotte Wentworth’s face as she grinds through the final 100 meters to win the girls 800 meter race in 2:27.47. With no indoor season this past winter, on top of now spring season last year, Wentworth pushed all her focus to the spring.

“I feel like the offseason might’ve helped me train. Even though we had indoor (season) off, we were still training every day. It helped prepare me for outdoor,” Wentworth said.

Wentworth pulled away over the final 100 meters. A mix of confident and nervous at the start of the race, she was dominant down the stretch.

“There’s a definitely a lot of good racers this year, and I get to compete with them,” Wentworth said.

Normal is Skowhegan’s Patrick McKenney showing off the best kick of the day in the boys 800. McKenney trailed Lawrence’s Colin Day by a good 30 meters as the pair approached the final straightaway. There, McKenney found his afterburners, first closing the gap, then passing Day in the final 10 meters to win the race in 2:10.71.

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“It’s all in the head. You’ve just got to push. I knew I could catch him so I just tried to stay a good distance (back),” McKenney said.

Skowhegan’s Patrick McKenney left, takes the lead over Lawrence’s Colin Day, right, in the third heat of the 200 meter dash Saturday at the Community Cup at Messalonskee High School in Oakland. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel photo

Normal is a record too stubborn to fall. Messalonskee Jesse LeBreck, who you might know now as a star on “American Ninja Warrior” set the Community Cup record in the girls 200 in 2008, running 26.25. Saturday afternoon, Winslow’s Carly Warn couldn’t have come any closer to LeBreck’s record, winning the 200 in 26.26.

Normal is Winslow’s Olivia Tiner, embracing her teammates on the 4×400 relay team after they won the event. Sometimes a meet can hinge on the 4×400 relay, but this was not one of those meets. The Black Raiders win in the event just solidified their dominant day. Tiner, who won the KVAC Class B cross country title last October only to see the state championship meet cancelled days later, laughed with her teammates. Take nothing for granted was the lesson Tiner took from the past year of living nervously. She was absorbing every second of this meet.

“You know, I’ve kind of changed my mindset since freshman year. Enjoy it while you’ve got it. We’ve had very few opportunities this year compared to a normal year, and I was like, last Community Cup, let’s go for it. Enjoy it and go for it,” Tiner, a senior who will be off to the US Naval Academy this summer.

Tiner took individual wins in the 400 (1:02.89)  and 3,200 (13:25.68).

“We have a very talented and hard-working, most importantly, group of girls. I’m proud to be a part of the squad,” Tiner said. “I was just going to go out today and do whatever I could for the team.”

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Normal is knowing there’s now more hard work to put in before the conference championship meet, and the state meet after that. Normal is knowing that as great as competing in the Community Cup is, it’s just the start.

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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