OAKLAND — A change in plans this weekend left many track and field athletes from central and western Maine with a rare opportunity.

The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Large School championships, originally scheduled for Saturday morning, were moved to late Friday afternoon as a result of anticipated inclement weather. With the meet lasting well after sunset, many competitors got to participate in their events under the lights at Messalonskee High School. 

“This was such a great experience, especially to have it right here at our home venue,” said Messalonskee senior Caden Cote. “We’re out here working hard on this track and on this field every day, so to be able to tie it all together with a special day on a night like this is really fun.”

Mt. Ararat won the boys meet, scoring 115.5 points to beat out second-place Lewiston (113.5) and third-place Edward Little (107) in a competition that was close the entire way. On the girls side, the Red Eddies racked up 163 points to runner-up Brunswick’s 112 to run away with their sixth consecutive title.

Locally, central Maine had two event winners on the day, both of whom earned their victories in the field. Messalonskee’s Cote won the boys pole vault with a cleared height of 12-6, and Skowhegan’s Emmah Corson recorded a throw of 93-2.75 to take first place in the girls discus.

Cote, who set Messalonskee’s school record in the pole vault only a week earlier with a cleared height of 13-3, won his event despite having been sick for much of the week. He finished one spot ahead of teammate Michael D’Amico, who cleared 11-6.


“My main sport is cross-country skiing, but this is a fun side sport I do, and it’s fun to see my progression throughout the year,” Cote said. “Being sick and out of school, this is my first time vaulting since last week. Just to be able to get in there and get back into it was fun. … To do it with Michael in second place just makes it even better.”

The action-packed afternoon began with a commanding win by the Lewiston boys in the 4×800 relay. The team of Julien Turmenbe, Emilson Zicolo, Danny Zhang and Adam Bilodeau claimed first place for the Blue Devils in a performance at least one of them didn’t anticipate.

Skowhegan’s Ellie Quinn competes in the high jump at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Large School meet Friday at Messalonskee High School in Oakland. Michael G. Seamans

“I didn’t think we’d actually come in first,” admitted Bilodeau, who beat Brunswick’s Luke Patterson to the finish line by a full 25 seconds in the final leg of the relay to seal the win for his team. “I expected us coming in here and not winning.”

The goal, Zhang said, was for the four junior runners to finish the race in under nine minutes. The Blue Devils achieved that easily, posting a winning time of 8:46.44 — another achievement the team didn’t think would be in the cards.

“We weren’t planning on getting this much of a PR,” Zhang admitted. “At practice, we were getting around 9:03 or so. We wanted to get something under nine minutes and into the (8:50 or under range), so getting 8:46, that’s incredible.”

Mt. Ararat’s win in the boys competition came after the Eagles trailed Lewiston and Edward Little for most of the day. Yet the Topsham outfit overtook the Blue Devils and Red Eddies in the final event as Grady Satterfield (10:03.38), Parker Libby (10:10.69) and Ben Keleher (10:15.68) swept the top-three spots in the 3,200-meter run.

Friday’s meet in Oakland was the final opportunity for central and western Maine athletes who had not yet qualified for this year’s state championships to do so. The Class A championship meet is scheduled to be held June 4 at Cameron Stadium in Bangor.

“It’s this, and hopefully New Englands, and that’s it,” said Cote, who is looking to improve on his third-place finish in the pole vault in the Class A state meet a year ago. “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for since last year, and I’m ready.”

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