FARMINGDALE — Jarod Richmond won’t sugarcoat it: The Mountain Valley Conference track and field contingent is as competitive as ever.

MVC track certainly hasn’t had its shortage of parity over the past several seasons. A year ago, three boys teams surpassed the 100-point mark in the conference championship meet; the previous season, the Mt. Abram boys topped Hall-Dale team by six for the conference title.

In 2015, the Monmouth Academy girls edged Lisbon in a meet that was decided by just half a point.

This year, though, has the chance to be just as tight at the top.

Richmond’s reigning conference champion boys team, the four-time defending champ Monmouth girls and both Lisbon and Mt. Abram teams are just a few of the squads the Hall-Dale head coach says could be in the championship mix come late May.

“I think it’s crazy because you have three or four teams that are really going to hurt each other in different spots,” Richmond said. “I think that MVC championship meet is going to be a ton of fun. It’s hard to pick any one team.”


Hall-Dale, then, faces a stiff challenge as it looks to maintain its status among the conference’s top teams. Yet, as the Bulldogs have shown in some adverse conditions early in the season, there’s an intriguing mix of talent and experience in place as the early stages of the 2022 campaign unfold.

Both of Hall-Dale’s meets thus far — the season opener April 19 in Wiscasset and Tuesday’s home meet — have come in wet conditions.

On Tuesday, with the rain holding off just long enough, Hall-Dale’s throwers were thrust into action right away with the javelin.

Hall-Dale used that opportunity to rack up points as Avery Jewett (126 feet, 6 inches) and Jarius Polley (115 feet, 2 inches) finished first and second, respectively, in the boys competition. In girls action, Iris Ireland, who placed fourth in javelin at last year’s state championships, recorded an 86-foot, 4-inch throw to finish second only to Carrabec’s Cheyenne Cahill, who took third at states a year ago.

Hall-Dale’s Loden Dougherty can’t clear the bar in the high jump during a track and field meet Tuesday in Farmingdale. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Jewett’s winning toss was among the state’s top-25 boys marks yet this season, and Ireland’s runner-up throw was a top-10 girls distance. Hall-Dale’s throwing delegation, which also swept the top-four spots in the boys discus throw, entered the year hoping for that sort of success with all five of the throwers who competed at states a year ago returning.

“We’re happy that we got to keep a lot of our throwers from last year — we only lost two or three on the whole team, I think — and we’ve been working hard since before the season to get our throws in and hit our weights,” Polley said. “I think it’s going to be a really good season for Hall-Dale.”


Elsewhere in the field, the Hall-Dale girls team has a standout athlete in Karlie Reith, who cleared 7 feet, 6 inches to place fourth in the pole vault in last year’s state championships. She cleared the same height Tuesday to win the event.

Reith also recorded a distance of 12 feet, 5 1/2 inches to win the girls long jump.

Steadiness is the theme for Hall-Dale’s boys team, which was able to showcase its depth. In addition to wins in the aforementioned throwing events and the 100-meter dash (Ryan Ahern, 12.70 seconds), the Bulldogs also got a number of second-, third- and fourth-place efforts to take a 46-point lead over Spruce Mountain entering the final three events.

Hall-Dale’s Karlie Reith competes in the triple jump during a track and field meet Tuesday in Farmingdale. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“You’re going to see contributions from a lot of people, and I like the balance that gives on both sides,” said Richmond, whose girls team was 23 points behind Spruce Mountain entering the final three events. “I think a lot of that really comes down to us making hay in the field events our last few years. The kids have really embraced that.”

Thus far, the Bulldogs have done it all through shoddy weather. It’s the kind of adversity that stands to buoy the Bulldogs with six remaining regular season meets, the first of which will be back at home against Monmouth, Boothbay, Wiscasset and Buckfield at 3:30 p.m. on May 3.

“The grass was a little bit wet, and a lot of us don’t have cleats yet, but it was an even playing field,” Polley said. “You just have to work through stuff like that, and everybody did well with what was happening.”

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