Cony’s Emma Brown, left, and Waterville’s Madison Yakimchick compete in the 55-meter dash during a Jan. 6 indoor track and field meet at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

There was one theme consistent all throughout the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference indoor track season this winter: Local athletes surprised.

Many of the athletes who led the way throughout the 2022-23 campaign had been expected to do well. Yet coaches seemed to be taken aback at just how well at just how successful those athletes were.

“I think things went even better than we expected,” said Cony head coach Kevin Russell. “Every year, the league gets better, and we really saw a lot of kids who stepped up and made you say, ‘Wow, what got into you?’”

One of the athletes at the top of that list was one of Russell’s own, Emma Brown. The Cony senior ran the 400-meter dash in 1:02.08 to win the Class B state title in the event and also set the school record in the 600-meter dash (1:42.98) in last Friday’s New England championships. 

This winter marked only the second year that Brown has competed in indoor track. An accomplished gymnast, she joined Cony’s team last year with the goal of improving her skills in that sport and has been a major boon to the Rams with her speed and overall versatility.

“She’s just a tremendous athlete,” Russell said. “She’ll do anything for us. She can long jump for us; she long-jumped for us once, and she jumped like feet. … In the 400, at the state meet, she went wire to wire. If she had someone right behind her or beside her, she probably could’ve broken one minute.”


For Maine Central Institute, Emma Burr added her own state titles, winning both the 55-meter hurdles (8.88 seconds) and 200-meter dash (26.81). Those state championship times were both MCI school records, as was her second-place finish of 7.47 seconds in the 55-meter dash.

“She was feeling pretty under the weather that day, so the fact that she was actually able to step up and perform as well as she did was a shock to me,” said MCI head coach Brandon Stevens. “She really enjoys trying to improve. For this entire season and her entire career, all she’s cared about is trying to get better at what she does.”

Burr had previously earned wins in all three of her aforementioned events in the KVAC Class B championships. Those performances, along with a win from Shalomi Goeway (4 feet, 11 inches) in the high jump, helped power MCI to its first KVAC indoor track championship in program history.

“Being able to win that was a huge accomplishment for us coming off of our (KVAC) outdoor win last season,” Stevens said. “Emma and Shalomi were great, and Heather Nelson in the pole vault also did better than expected. I’m honestly proud of all our girls this season; they all did very well.”

Waterville jumpers Kara Anderson and Maddie Yakimchick won KVAC Class B titles in the long (15-5 1/2) and triple (32-7 3/4) jumps, respectively. Avery Theriault recorded a throw of 32-8 3/4 to win the KVAC shot put crown for the Cony girls, who finished third in that meet and sixth at states.

On the boys side, Skowhegan’s Billy Albertson was a dominant performer as he won Class A state titles in the long (21-11 3/4) and triple (45-5) jumps. He also excelled in the 55-meter dash, taking first in the KVAC Class A championships in that event with a time of 6.80 seconds.


Maine Central Institute’s Emma Burr, right, is the first over the hurdle during the Class B indoor track and field championships at Bates College in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Unlike many other athletes, Albertson specializes solely in track, competing in that sport in the winter and spring and training for it during the other months. That training paid off as he earned a spot at New Englands, where he placed second of 30 competitors in the long jump with a distance of 22-7 1/2.

“To go to New Englands and have a jump like that, that’s pretty impressive for a junior athlete,” said Skowhegan head coach Dave Evans. “He trains pretty much 365 days of the year just for track. We’ve been training him to the point where we’ve said, ‘We want you to be able to peak at the big meets,’ and that’s what he’s done.”

Central Maine had another top boys jumper on the Class B circuit, where Cony’s Connor Morin won KVAC crowns in the high (6-1) and triple (41-9 1/2) jumps. The Rams’ Martin Ferrusca, Eben Buck, Brandon Mastrianno and Luca Hardy took second in the 4×800 with a time of 9:28.56 in that meet as the Rams finished second overall.

First place in that boys 4×800 went to Winslow as Braden Rioux, Ethan Rancourt, Justin Rogers and Joey Richards posted a winning time of 9:05.32. Richards (400-meter dash, 52.68) and MCI’s Isaac Keresey (800-meter dash, 2:08.85) and Owen Moore (shot put, 40-4 3/4) also won KVAC B crowns.

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