Nokomis’ Aleksander Carsley, left, and Cony’s James Mooney take another lap in the one-mile run during a Jan. 6 indoor track and field meet at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. Mooney took third in 5:27.21 and Carsley was fourth in 5:30.06. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA The Cony indoor track team has been outstanding over the first six weeks of the season — so impressive, in fact, that it’s taken Kevin Russell by surprise.

Entering the season, the Cony head coach believed he had a girls team looking at a rebuilding year and a boys squad that had work to do to reach the upper echelon of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference. Yet the Rams have proven themselves thus far with a number of meet wins and individual performances that have been among the conference’s best.

“It’s been a bit of a surprise, but the kids are putting the work in, and it’s showing in the results,” Russell said. “This is the first year we’ve had a really strong boys team, and the girls have just really stepped up after we graduated our top runners last year. I’m really proud of the team.”

Reigning KVAC champions in Class B, the Cony girls have proven themselves as contenders once again this winter. The Rams breezed to a win in a field full of Class A teams in their second meet of the year Dec. 23 and edged Lewiston in a tight contest in their fourth meet of the season Jan. 6.

“You know a team like Lewiston is going to be there and be competitive, and our girls went into that meet really wanting to beat them,” Russell said. “I coached at Lewiston for many years, and any time you can beat your old school, it’s always a good thing. That was a good performance.

The Cony girls boast two top runners in Loralie Grady and Emma Brown, who have led winning teams for the Rams in the 4-by-800 relays and split wins in the 800-meter run. Cony has also been aided by a standout freshman in Avery Theriault, who has dominated for the Rams in the shot put.


On the boys side, Connor Morin has swept jumping events for Cony in each of the past two meets after winning the high and triple jumps Dec. 23. On the track, Brandon Mastrianno has emerged as a strong distance runner for the Rams with a victory in the 1-mile run earlier this month.

With 20 boys, Cony, which claimed a win in the Dec. 23 meet, has what Russell said is the team’s largest squad ever. That depth has helped spur the Rams to a breakthrough season after sophomore Luca Hardy swayed a number of the school’s fall athletes to join the team.

“He did a lot of recruiting to get some of the cross-country kids to come out, and then we got some soccer kids,” Russell said. “It took some time, but we’ve been able to put them in the right places to maximize our points potential.”


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Cony’s Emily Kennard comes up for a breath while competing in a swim meet Dec. 13 in Augusta. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Cony swim coach Bob Johnston has been impressed with his team’s progression this season.

“We’ve had a good season so far,” Johnston said. “The boys have won a couple of meets. It’s nice to have the four boys with the relay (races).”

The boys team has received strong results from senior Tyler Foster, junior Jameson Russell and freshmen Reid DeJongh and Matteo Hardy.

Johnston said Hardy has been one of the pleasant surprises of the season.

“He’s never swum before, and one of the meets (against Hyde), he helped out and got a third place (finish),” Johnston said. “His finish was what we needed for points to get the win. He’s made marked improvement from where he started six weeks ago.”

The state championship qualifiers are beginning to add up for the Cony girls. The Rams have four swimmers — sophomores Anabelle Orth, Emily Kennard, Lilliana Choate and junior Addison Burnham — who will compete at states and have enough members in place for a relay team. Johnston has been particularly impressed with the development of Choate.


“She didn’t swim as a freshman,” Johnston said. “I didn’t know too much about her (before the season) but she’s done very well. She’s a good sprint, freestyler and butterflyer.”


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Waterville/Winslow has also impressed in the pool this season. But just as crucial, the team has healthy numbers; there are 25 swimmers on the roster this year.

“The numbers this year are much higher than I expected,” Waterville/Winslow head coach Justin Giroux. “It’s awesome. I think part of it is, we’ve got a lot of walk-ons who hadn’t really swum before. I think we’ve developed a reputation that we can develop swimmers, but we can also train walk-ons who really haven’t swum much before. That’s been really good for us.”


Senior Andrew Turlo has been a standout on the boys side, picking up his game both in the sprints and the breaststroke.

“He’s gotten a lot of speed,” Giroux said. “Last year, but really this year, his speed has picked up in those 50 free, 100 free events.”

Giroux also pointed out junior Sam Bernier as a standout for the boys team.

“His 100 back is really strong,” Giroux said. “He’s had some good, races, too.”

On the girls side, senior Robyn Brochu has had a strong season in the 200 free, while Hattie Bouchard has had strong races in the 100 breaststroke.

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