Maine Central Institute’s Emma Burr beats Madison Yakimchick, left center, in the 100-meter dash at the Community Cup track meet in Waterville on May 20. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Central Maine track and field athletes not only made noise in conference meets during the 2023 season, but at the state and New England level as well.

Maine Central Institute senior Emma Burr wrapped up a dominant year with three victories — in the 100-meter hurdles (14.77 seconds), the 300 hurdles (44.82) and the 200 (25.51) — at the Class C championships on June 3 at Cony High School in Augusta. Her times in the hurdles are new state records. More impressively, Burr fought through a muscle spasm in her hamstring while competing in the 300 hurdles and 200.

“I’m so proud of how well she was able to perform, especially the big days,” MCI head coach Jess Libby said. “If you look at the conditions she ran in at states, obviously everyone else had those same conditions. But it was raining at the Class C meet well before it was at the A and B meet. To get a state record in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles on a day like that, cold and rainy really tells you what quality of an athlete she is. It was pretty impressive to watch someone perform in those conditions, to that level.”

Burr’s day at states wrapped up another successful season for the Huskies, who narrowly won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Small School girls title, when Heather Nelson cleared 8 feet in the pole vault to secure a three-point victory over Leavitt. The MCI boys placed second at the meet behind champion Leavitt.

“I can’t really explain how proud I am of that group,” Libby said. “The boys and girls had a fantastic season. The KVACs was obviously, I think, the highlight for both of the teams, getting first (for the girls) and second (for the boys). I think that’s the highest our boys had ever placed (at the meet). That was really exciting to see some great performances. Looking at next season, we’re losing some big pieces, but I think we have a lot that’s still left to build off of. I think both groups will be in the hunt and in the mix again next year as well.”

Senior Ashlyn Poulin of Gardiner capped off an amazing career in the race walk with her finest performance, setting a new state record with a time of 7:12.15 in wet conditions at the Class B championships at Freeport High School. The previous record was 7:26.07. Poulin was 1:39 faster than second-place finisher Cassidy Carlisle (8:51.30) of Presque Isle. Poulin’s time was also faster than that of boys champion Roan Donaghy (7:40.14) of Lincoln Academy. Teammate Yana Montell also picked up a Class B title for the Tigers, winning the javelin with a throw of 114 feet, 3 inches, nearly 10 feet more than second-place finisher Dominique Reinzo (104-08) of Old Town.


The Waterville girls finished an impressive season with a Class B title from junior Kara Anderson, who won the long jump in 16-02. Senior Abby Williams finished second in the 1,600 (5:21.33) and 3,200 (11:52.37), while junior Madison Yakimchick finished second in the 100 (13.14).

Skowhegan’s Billy Albertson lands in the pit during the triple jump event that he won during the KVAC Large School Championship on May 27 at Lewiston High School. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

In boys track, senior Conor Morin punctuated a strong season for Cony with a win in the triple jump (47-06) at the New England Championships on June 10 in Bangor.

“Conor was a real highlight (to the season),” Cony head coach Shawn Totman said. “Just unbelievable. To win the New England championship on his last jump, those are obviously very special memories.”

Morin was also a key contributor to the Rams repeating as KVAC Medium School boys champions on May 26 in Augusta, winning the triple jump (43-4), long jump (20-9) and high jump (5-6) events. Cony also picked up wins from Danny Pham (9-0) in the pole vault, Jaden Geyer (46-3) in the shot put and Jonny Lettre (150-6) in the javelin.

“I’m proud of the kids,” Totman said. “It always starts with the team, and this was a great team to be around every day at practice. They committed themselves to working hard, and when you have a great group of people committed to doing that, the results take care of themselves.”

Morin was not the only central Maine athlete to find success at New Englands. Skowhegan’s Billy Albertson finished second (21-10.75) in the long jump, hitting the exact same mark that won the Class A title in the event a week prior at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. Albertson also won the Class A championship in the triple jump (44-01.75), just edging Mt. Ararat’s Ethan Palmer (44-01).


The Winthrop boys had a solid spring, with senior James Cognata wrapping up his career with a Class C title in the 800 (1:56.62). Christopher Pottle finished third at the Class C meet in the 3,200 (10:11.13).

“The crew that we had worked super hard,” Winthrop head coach Ed Van Tassel said. “James (Cognata) was a rock star all spring. Always knew what I was going to get from him, which was awesome.”

The Ramblers held their own against competition of all classes at the Capital City Classic on May 19, with Pottle winning the 3,200 (10:10.24), Colton Baird winning the triple jump (36-11). Winthrop also won the 4×800 relay at the event, breaking a school record with a time of 8:45.08.

“They were super thrilled to get up on the record board,” Van Tassel said. “It was nice that team came together. And the day at Cony was not a great day. It was super windy… They were pretty pumped to be able to do that together.”

Winslow’s Joey Richards ended a strong spring season with a Class C title in the 400 (51.61).

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