FARMINGTON — Last Friday afternoon, the Mt. Blue, Lawrence, Messalonskee and Mountain Valley High School track and field teams competed in a regular season meet, with yet another opportunity to showcase some championship contenders come the postseason.

Mt. Blue senior Cyrus Evans entered the season as one of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference favorites in the 400-meter run after winning the KVAC Large School title in the event last spring. He finished third in the 400 at the Class A championship meet as well.

But even top athletes seek improvement, and Evans has been a standout this spring, both in the 400 and 800. He won both events on Friday, finishing at 51.31 in the 400 and 2:09.04 in the 800.

“I’m feeling great,” Evans said. “This year I’m only doing the 400 and 800. I feel like I’m doing very well. I went from 2:12 (in the 800) to 2:05, that was awesome… I’m ready to go and I’m ready to race fast.”

Evans is far from just a sprinter. He was also one of the KVAC’s top boys cross country runners in the fall, finishing fifth in the conference championships. But the regular season for outdoor track helps ease the transition from distance running to sprinting.

“It’s definitely different, way different,” Evans said. “It trains different. Breathing, with your lungs. You have to really train and get your lungs used to (cross country). The mental part (is also key). In cross country, you’re saving your gas for whole three miles, whereas the 400, you burn it all in one lap. I’ve been doing it for quite a long time, so I’m used to it, I’m used to the transition. But yeah, the first few weeks (of the season) are the worst for me, basically.”


Messalonskee High School sophomore Austin Jones, left center, competes in the 100-meter dash with teammate Sam Fegel, right center, during a May 12 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference track and field meet in Farmington. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Evans’ teammate, Mt. Blue sophomore Nora McCourt, said she is looking to improve her time and keep an even pace in the 1,600-meter run.

“Last year was OK, but I was injured for a bit,” McCourt said. “I was kind of all over the place with times and results. So one of my goals this year has been consistency and injury prevention. And especially in the early season, having fun with it, not being too stressed or anything like that.”

McCourt’s goal is to run the event in the Class A meet, and hit a provisional qualifying time of 5:55. McCourt said she is confident she can hit the mark.

“I ran a 5:55-point something last week, so I’m really close,” McCourt said. “It gives me confidence, especially with the workouts that I’ve been doing the last few weeks. I feel like I can do that.”

It’s also a chance for athletes to work out kinks in technique. Lawrence thrower Zoe Hutchins had an impressive showing at the Maine Central Institute Husky Throwdown on April 29 in Pittsfield. She finished seventh with a toss of 30-09.75.

Mt Blue’s Nora McCourt joins other runners in the 1,600-meter run during a May 12 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference track and field meet in Farmington. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

But the sophomore said she’s been working through keeping her focus, as well as her technique and consistency in her throws.


“I felt a lot better early on in the season,” Hutchins said. “I had a really good meet where I threw 107 (feet) in (discus), it was great and a great (personal record), three feet away from the school record, that was awesome. After that, I’ve kind of tanked, mentally. I expect to do that well in every meet, and it’s hard when I don’t meet those expectations every meet. But we’re gearing up for championship season, so I’m trying to figure it out mentally before I get there, but it’s pretty decent, I’ve got a few weeks.”

Hutchins seemed to find some of that success again on Friday, beating the competition in the shot put with a throw of 31-02.50.

“I’ve already qualified for states for shot and disc, so that (pressure) is out of my mind,” Hutchins said. “Right now, it doesn’t matter if I win (in the regular season), it doesn’t matter how far I throw, because I’m already in. Right now, I need to make changes. Change my technique, change my mindset, figure out what works. That’s what I’m trying to figure out as I go to the championship meets.”

It’s also an opportunity for young talent to emerge. Messalonskee sophomore sprinter Austin Jones won both the 100 (12.13) and 200 (24.51), edging teammate Sam Fegel in both events.

“I’m very excited about what’s to come,” said Jones. “My only battle has been with shin splints. I’ve had really bad shin splints, couldn’t run my first race of the season. But the second I got into my first meet, got a nice little 12.14 (in the 100) and went, ‘This is going to be a good season.'”

Jones’ teammate, thrower Ben Ireland, is feeling just as confident. The thrower has had a top-two finish in the shot put in each meet he’s participated in this season. He also had a top-15 finish at the Husky Throwdown.

“I’m just happy to be going up (in numbers) and not down,” Ireland said. “I feel like I’ve been a lot more focused than in years past. I’ve just been focused on shot put and discus (this year), I used to do (javelin), but I don’t do that anymore. Technique is one of the biggest things. You can be a big guy and throw and throw 20 (feet), but it’s all technique (that counts). My mindset is to just be better than the last time. Come in here, with confidence, thinking that I’m going to beat what I did last time.”

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