AUGUSTA — The sun may have been shining at the annual Capital City Classic at Taylor Harmon Track on Friday afternoon, but Mother Nature still decided to not fully cooperate.

Athletes had to fight through a strong headwind that whipped through the track, creating issues in multiple events.

Gardiner senior Ashlyn Poulin won the 1,600-meter race walk, an event she has dominated throughout her career, with a time of 7:24.36, more than 1:20 faster than second place finisher Allyson Lewis of Monmouth Academy (8:44.80). But Poulin said the race was no cake walk due to the wind.

“It’s pushing on you, it’s pushing you back,” Poulin said. “There’s a lot of energy (spent) to try and get through the wind. That makes it really hard. Especially with the wind coming at you, it makes it really hard for you to breathe and take nice breaths. That’s probably the biggest factor.”

Poulin wasn’t alone. Maranacook senior Kasey Mushlit competed in the pole vault, an event where a strong wind can give an athlete an uneasy feeling.

“When you’re airborne, it’s kind of difficult when you have a headwind coming straight at you,” Mushlit said. “(The strategy is it’s) more like a waiting game and you try to time it out right as it dies down.”


Cony senior Jaden Geyer, the event’s top shot putter, said he witnessed multiple throwers struggling in the javelin.

“Watching people throw, (the javelin) is flying everywhere,” Geyer said. “Either you’re throwing it in a straight line, and it goes a good distance, or it’s going everywhere.”

“It can (play a factor), but at the same time, you don’t want it to be an excuse,” Cony head coach Shawn Totman said. “I know it’s hard, like the kids running the 100 hurdles and 100-meter dash. It’s a brutal headwind… You can still run fast times, it just may mean running a little better. Just go out there and do the best you can. And if it’s a personal best for the season, great. Just overcome it, that’s the way I see it.”

It wasn’t all bad news on the track. Early in the meet, Winthrop not only won the boys 4×800 meter relay — with the team of Jonathan Wagner, Christopher Pottle, Gabriel Corey and James Cognata — but finished with a time of 8:45.08, beating the previous school record by 4 seconds.

“I thought (the wind) was brutal,” Cognata said. “You feel like you’re doing well, you’re on pace, you start fast. Then you come around (the corner) and it feels like you’re hitting a wall. It’s brutal, it’s very discouraging. But it’s not as bad as the second lap, when you’re just dying, looking to hand (the baton) off and just finish.”

Cony’s Batool Albraihi runs in the 4×800 relay during the Capital City Classic track and field meet Friday in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Despite the conditions, teams were still in good spirits for the annual meet, which welcomes schools from around the Capital City area to compete, regardless of class. Mount View was among the new attendees competing on Friday.

“This is one of our favorite meets, we come here every year,” Cognata said. “It’s great to see other schools, other competition. Especially if you have friends in other (schools)… It’s more energizing (here), it’s more of a community. I sometimes see races where’s there’s two to three teams there, including us. Look at the number of people here. It’s just a whole different energy.”

Totman said he’s thrilled to continue to see the meet grow each year.

“I told coaches at the coaches meeting, there’s teams that have been here since the beginning, and I hope they appreciate how much it means to us that they continue to come here,” Totman said. “We try to run a first class event. But it’s great to just see the kids from the area competing against each other and you can tell they’re up for it. It’s very cool to add Mount View, we’ve never had those guys before and it was nice to add them last minute. There’s a really nice vibe, a nice energy on a day that’s kind of tough (weather-wise).”

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