AUGUSTA — The only drama here was above Cony High School; there was no such suspense on it.

It wasn’t the way Chris Libby thought this day would unfold — with a miserable combination of rain and cold upending the meet, how could it be? — but it’s hard for the  head coach of the Orono track team to be anything but pleased. His Red Riots easily swept their way to state titles in Saturday’s Class C state championship meet.

“It was cold, it was wet, and it was miserable, but it was great to see our kids persevere through those conditions,” Libby said. “You try not to talk about the weather during the meet, but it was tough, and I’m really proud of how our kids handled it.”

The Red Riots routed the field from start to finish on the boys side, racking up 106 points to runner-up Lisbon’s 69. The Orono girls turned a tight meet into a comfortable win late, scoring 121 points to second-place North Yarmouth Academy’s 79.

Maine Central Institute’s Emma Burr concluded an outstanding season with three event wins, two of which came as state records. The senior set Class C marks in 100-meter hurdles (14.77 seconds) and 300-meter hurdles (44.82). She also won the 200-meter dash in 25.51.

Burr displayed great resolve in claiming her 300 hurdles and 200 victories  after suffering a hamstring spasm at the start of the 100-meter finals. She attributed that spasm, which scratched her from the race, to the cold weather.


“Right after the hurdles, I told myself, ‘I’m all good; I don’t need to stretch,’ but I definitely needed to stretch,” Burr said. “After that, I mostly was just thinking, ‘You can’t change the past, so you just have to take it out of your head.’ … I’m proud of myself; I’m not at all disappointed.”

For the Orono girls, Ruth White won the 3,200 in 10:44.75 to beat out George Stevens Academy’s Thea Crowley (11:18.68). The time saw the junior break her own state record of 10:46.38, set in the same meet last year.

“I didn’t get all the points I expected to, but I ran a good race in that one,” White said. “I’m just really happy about our team performance. We had a lot of people come through for us. We really came through together for our seniors, our coaches and the rest of the team”

Maya Boyington (race walk, 7:50.80) and Dez Seeley (shot put, 32 feet, 2 1/4 inches) claimed individual wins. The team of White, Katherine Kohtala, Rossella Ruzzetta and Ellie Brooks won the 4×800 for the Red Riots in 10:59.21. Clara White cleared 9-6 to win the pole vault.

A week earlier, the Orono girls took second in the Penobscot Valley Conference Small School championship as Bucksport topped the Red Riots by 33 points. An improvement Saturday was expected, but Libby was admittedly surprised at the gulf between his team and NYA and third-place Golden Bucks (77 points).

“We thought it’d be closer between MCI, NYA and particularly that Bucksport team,” Libby said. “(Head coach) Matt Morrison does a great job of getting those kids ready. They had a tough time today, and that’s too bad, but they fought until the end.”


On the boys side, Will Francis claimed wins for Orono in the 110 hurdles (15.46, beat teammate Owen Conner-Self by 0.01 seconds) and long jump (20-0 1/2). Alex Maheu cleared a height of 12 feet to win the pole vault for the Red Riots.

With many field events delayed, only the boys and girls 4×800 and girls high jump had been completed as of the suspension at noon. Following the prelims for the girls 100 hurdles, boys hurdles and both 100’s, athletes and coaches were told to go to their respective buses.

“It was hard, but just had to do what we could and make the best of it,” said Winslow’s Allie Kimball. “For our team, we just tried to have fun with it and chilled together on the bus. It was just one of those go-with-the-flow kind of things.”

Kimball started a remarkable day in the 400 for Winslow as she posted a time of 1:01.09 to win the girls event. She ran a neck-and-neck race with Kayla Cooper (1:01.50), beating out the Lisbon senior by just a few steps to take first.

“I could feel her right there,” Kimball said of Cooper. “We knew it was going to be a close race because our (seeded) times were very close, and we were pretty much right there the whole way. It was really a mind game of who was going to win.”

Joey Richards (51.61) then breezed to a win over Isaac Keresey of MCI (53.32) in the boys 400 to give the Black Raiders a sweep of the event. The Winslow boys also won the 4×800 as Richards, Braden Rioux, Ethan Rancourt and Justin Rogers finished in 8:48.46.

James Cognata set a state record for the Winthrop boys, winning the 800 in 1:56.62. Mt. Abram got wins from Carter Butterfield (race walk, 7:44.91) and Reagan Lockaby (high jump, 5-10). Kents Hill’s Rose Jenkins won the triple jump with a distance of 35-6 1/4.

MCI led both team competitions locally, placing fourth in the boys (50 1/2 points) and girls (59 points) meets. The Mt. Abram boys placed fifth with 49 points, and the Winslow boys (39) and Kents Hill girls (35) placed seventh.


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