Cheverus' close call highlights track states

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Heading into the final event of Saturday’s Class A outdoor track and field state meet, the 4×400 relay, the defending champion Cheverus boys were just two points out of first place.

That’s as close as the Stags would get to a repeat title, however, as they were disqualified after failing to exchange the baton in the allotted space following the first leg. Cheverus would come in third as a team in the strongest performance from a city squad at last weekend’s championships.

Cheverus was joined by Deering and Portland in the Class A meet at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. The Stags boys wound up with 59 points, which left them two behind runner-up Scarborough and a dozen behind champion Lewiston. The Rams had 29 points to tie Biddeford for eighth. The Bulldogs had 8 points and tied Westbrook for 21st.

Cheverus produced a record-setter in Jake Dixon, who won the 400 in 48.45 seconds, bettering the old mark, set in 1996 by Messalonskee’s Chris Downe, by .13 of a second.

The Stags were also paced by Nick White, who won the discus with a top throw of 161 feet, 11 inches, and Jacob Schott, who took the high jump with a top leap of 6-2.

Additional scorers included Dixon (runner-up in the 200, 22.41), White (second in the shot put, 51-4), James Hannigan (fourth in the 800, 2:03.99), Taylor Grassi (fifth in the high jump, 5-0) and Gerry Wagner (sixth in the 400, 52.39). Cheverus’ 4×100 relay team (Luke Trickey, Kenny Drelich, Hannigan and Wagner) placed fourth (45.12).

“We wanted to repeat and certainly had a chance,” said Stags coach Steve Virgilio. “We wanted it to come down to the last event because we knew we were strong, but we got disqualified.

“It will be a completely different look next year and a totally different team. In fact, all our points graduate. The boys will not be favored and everything they achieve will have to be earned and built once again.”

Deering’s top finisher was Paolo DeMarco, who won the 300 hurdles in 40.27. DeMarco was also sixth in the 110 hurdles (16.1). Jake Coon finished third in the high jump (6-2). Iid Sheikh-Yusef came in third in the two-mile (9:49.03). Yahye Hussein was seventh in the two-mile (9:57.91). The Rams’ 4×400 relay team (DeMarco, Ezra Chapola, Hany Ramadan and Coon) finished fourth (3:33.89).

Portland’s points came from Jonathan Bobe, who was second in the 400 (50.71).

In the girls’ Class A meet, won by Thornton Academy with 80 points, Cheverus (32) was seventh, Deering (7) tied Oxford Hills for 22nd and Portland (4) tied Marshwood and Mt. Ararat for 24th.

The Stags featured the runner-up in the high jump, Julia Pomerleau (5-2), and the second-place finisher in the 400, Emily Turner (59.02). Sarah Mount finished fourth in the 30 hurdles (48.00). Milena Opielowski finished fifth in the long jump (15-9.75). Emily Grinnell was sixth in the javelin (96-5). Katelyn Gendron came in seventh in the long jump (15-7). Cheverus’ 4×400 relay team (Gendron, Mount, Georgia Caso and Turner) placed third (4:13.77).

“The girls finished higher than in recent years,” said Virgilio. “Emily had a fantastic day. She’s the first girl in Cheverus history to break 60 seconds and has nearly broken 59 seconds as well. Julia was under the radar and no one expected her to score. She cleared 5-feet and 5-2, a new personal best, on her first attempts. The girls are young and return most of their points. They have a lot of future potential. They will be stronger next year.

“It was a good day. Lots of good things happened and the team had a lot of personal bests, 18 in fact. More than 50 percent of our entries were personal bests.

The Rams were led by Neilab Habibzai, who came in fourth in the discus (103-6). Nicole Whipkey placed fifth in the 800 (2:30.51).

The Bulldogs’ points came from Madison Bolduc, who was fourth in the triple jump (34-5.25).

In the Class C meet at Yarmouth, Waynflete’s boys had 4 points to tie Dirigo and Mt. Abram for the 24th spot (Orono was first with 88). Cody Tiparos was fourth in the 100 (11.66).

In the girls’ competition, also won by Orono with 132.75 points, Waynflete had 2 points and tied Hall-Dale and Washington Academy for 28th place. Phoebe Colvin-Oehmig placed sixth in the 800 (2:32.6). McAuley did not score.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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McAuley sophomore Samantha Witkowski clears the bar in the pole vault during Saturday’s Class C state track and field meet in Yarmouth. Witkowski wound up 10th in the event and did not score.

Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.