Thrills aplenty at state track meets
While no local outdoor track and field team took home a state title this past blistering Saturday, there was much triumph and plenty to hail for runners, jumpers and throwers from Falmouth, Freeport, Greely, North Yarmouth Academy and Yarmouth.
A year ago, the Falmouth boys' team finished in a tie with York for the top spot and for much of Saturday at the Class B state meet in Bath, it looked like there wouldn't be much separating the Yachtsmen, Wildcats and Waterville as they jockeyed for first place.
Ultimately, Waterville proved a little too strong and entering the final event of the day, the 4x400 relay, Falmouth needed to win and have the Purple Panthers finish sixth or fail to score, but that was too tall an order. Grant Burfeind, Alex Gowen, Andy Clement and Azad Jalali posted a season-best time of 3 minutes, 35.03 seconds, but that was only good for second as Waterville won in 3:33.71, taking the meet with 96 points, to the Yachstmen's 87.5 (York placed third with 66). Greely (40) came in sixth and Yarmouth (16) tied Caribou for 14th place.
Falmouth had plenty of highlights, but the biggest came in the 400 when Jacob Buhelt came from behind to nip York's Joe Vogel (51.0 seconds to 51.16).
"Coming around the first corner, I wasn't going as fast as I should have been going," Buhelt said. "Joe passed me and that helped a lot because I paced off of him. Coming around to the back corner, he wasn't pulling away and I decided to make my move. I owe the race to Joe, because I wouldn't have had the back straight without him. I was just able to outkick him at the end. It was hard for a guy like me with Danish, French and German skin. The sun kills me."
"We don't dominate anywhere, but Jacob came out of the blue and proved me wrong," Yachtsmen coach Danny Paul said. "That's Jacob. He's special."
In addition to the 1,600 relay team, Falmouth runners-up included Buhelt in the 200 (23.34), Azad Jalali in the 800 (2 minutes, .69 seconds) and the 400 relay squad (Buhelt, Burfiend, Gowen and Clement, 44.36).
Buhelt added a third-place finish in the 100 (11.53). Tony St. Angelo placed third in the high jump (5 eeet, 10 inches). Andrew Thornton placed third in the pole vault (13 feet) and was sixth in the triple jump (40-0.75). Gowen tied for fourth in the pole vault (13-0) and finished sixth in the 100 (11.74). Clement was fourth in the 300 hurdles (43.92). Bryce Murdick finished fourth in the two-mile (10:09.08). Scott Lambert was fifth in the two-mile (10:09.18). Burfeind placed fifth in the 100 (11.71) and came in sixth in the long jump (20-2.5). Andy Roukey was sixth in the racewalk (9:13.74). Shreyas Joshi finished seventh in the javelin (122-10). The 3,200 relay team (Spencer Brown, Eric Britton, Josh Simensky and Sean Soucy) was seventh (8:51.32).
"We had a great day," Paul said. "It came down to the last event. We were hoping to score about 70 and we got almost 90. We get a lot of things from a lot of places. Grant's an amazing athlete. He hasn't been healthy, but he came in and did what we thought he could do. We hadn't run (the 4x4 relay) with Grant or Alex Gowen all year. The two of them came to us and wanted to run that relay. Azad had an amazing meet. Our distance runners had solid performances. Given the conditions, I'm thrilled. I have a ton of respect for Waterville and York."
The Rangers were led by their 3,200 relay team (Dan Ray, Ryan Morrison, Nate Madeira and Liam Campbell), which was runner-up to Ellsworth in 8:29.19. James Ferrar placed third in the shot put (43-3). Nick Maynard was third in the triple jump (41-1.5) and fifth in the long jump (20-5.75). Jacob Isaacson was fourth in the 200 (23.72). Campbell finished fourth in the mile (4:35.76). Madeira came in fifth in the mile (4:35.81). Ben Giffard was seventh in the 110 hurdles (17.7). Greely's 1,600 relay team (Chris Perry, Ryder White, Ian Byron and Campbell) was fifth (3:41.47) and the 400 squad (Perry, Ferrar, Andrew Therriault and Isaacson) finished sixth (46.2).
"The boys did a great job today," said Greely coach John Folan. "I'm really happy. We hoped realistically for top five. We knew we'd be moderately close. The seniors stepped up. We did some good things. Points here, points there."
Yarmouth featured Ben Decker, who was second in the 800 (9:47.24). Wes Crawford placed fourth in the 800 (2:03.12). Darren Shi came in fourth in the shot put (43-0).
In the girls' meet, Waterville won its seventh straight title as its 136 points were more than double that of runner-up Lake Region (64). Greely (58.5) was fourth, 1.5 points behind Winslow. Falmouth (38) placed sixth. Yarmouth (17) came in 13th.
The Rangers saw Gwen Sawyer cap her solid high school career with a win in the shot put (38-10), carrying on Greely's unrivaled recent throwing tradition in the process.
"I'm really happy with what I got," said Sawyer, who will throw at Assumption College next year, where she'll study political science and pre-law. "It's like a state of mind. You have to be in the zone. It really helps when you have great girls with you. I've known a lot of them for four years now. Our coach, Dennis O'Brien, is fantastic and I've gotten to train with (Olympic hopeful) Becky (O'Brien) this season. She's an amazing person."
Kirstin Sandreuter was runner-up to Waterville's Bethanie Brown in both the mile (5:07.97) and the two-mile (11:25.78). Jessica Wilson came in third in the mile (5:19.69). Alyssa Cesarez finished third in the discus (102-10) and was fifth in the shot put (31-0). Hannah Keisman was fourth in the 300 hurdles (48.3). Sarah Ingraham placed fifth in the long jump (15-7). Nina Oberg tied for sixth in the pole vault (8 feet). Siana Emery was sixth in the racewalk (9:04.93). Greely's 3,200 relay (Sophia Stickney, Julia Ramseyer, Susan Badrinas and Wilson) was third (10:11.47). The 400 relay (Madison McKenney, Ingraham, Molly Fitzpatrick and Keisman) came in seventh (54.74).
"We didn't harbor any illusions of beating Waterville at this particular point," Folan said. "When it's this hot, it's crazy. It's a shell-shock. You can't count on kids in this. Some respond well, some not so well.
The Rangers will be hit hard by graduation, but will be right back in the mix in 2014.
"I have 17 senior girls and 10 senior boys, but we do have some good people coming back," Folan said.
Falmouth's top finisher was Charlotte Cutshall, runner-up in the long jump (16-7). She was also seventh in the 100 (13.38). Madeline Roberts finished third in the two-mile (11:53.53). Nevada Horne was fourth in the pole vault (8-6). Kalieigh Wimert was fifth in the racewalk (8:59.26). Vishva Nalamalapu came in sixth in the two-mile (12:03.8). Maggie Seitz finished seventh in the triple jump (31-10.5). Alta Farrell placed seventh in the mile (5:35.97)
The Yachtsmen came in third in the 400 relay (Seitz, Emma Van Wickler, Jillian Rothweiler and Cutshall, 52.59), fifth in the 3,200 relay (Cassie Darrow, Denali Nalamalapu, Roberts and Alexa Hoffman, 10:32.69) and fifth in the 1,600 (Seitz, Sarah Sparks, Rothweiler and Darrow, 4:19.35).
"The girls did well," said Paul. "It was Waterville's to lose. They've been good for so long."
Yarmouth had a pair of runners-up, Megan Smith in the pole vault (9-0) and Emma Egan in the high jump (4-10). Egan was also seventh in the long jump (15-7).
The North Yarmouth Academy boys tied Lisbon for fourth place in the Class C meet with 42 points. Foxcroft Academy won with 75. Freeport (20) tied Monmouth and Sacopee for 14th.
The Panthers got wins from Jake Burns in the 300 hurdles (40.15) and their 400 relay team (Dean Walters, Michael McIntosh, El Tayeb Dahia and Burns, 45.79).
Burns was fifth in the 110 hurdles (16.57). McIntosh came in fifth in the 100 (11.81) and the 200 (24.04). Matt Malcom was fifth in the mile (4:51.72). Walters came in sixth in the 200 (24.14). Walters, McIntosh, Dahia and Burns were second in the 1,600 relay (3:37.34).
The Falcons' points came from Harrison Stivers, who won the 400 in 50.74 and the 800 in 2:02.51.
The Class C girls' meet was won easily by Orono, with 105 points. Freeport (41) came in fifth and NYA (18) tied Foxcroft and Kents Hill for 11th.
The Falcons got a win from Lexi Dietrich in the 200 (27 seconds).
Kelsey Grant was runner-up in the 100 hurdles (17.55). Lucy Zachau came in sixth in the racewalk (9:39.85). Chloe Hight was sixth in the 800 (2:38.78). Elly Bengtsson placed seventh in the mile (5:53.63).
Freeport was third in all three relays, as Grant, Hight, Dietrich and Maddie Squib had a time of 53.66 in the 400, Hayley Steckler, Hannah Schnyder, Hight and Dietrich finished in 4:26.40 in the 1,600 and Ciera Wentworth, Steckler, Hight and Bengtsson had a time of 10:36.26 in the 3,200.
The Panthers featured Muriel Adams' win in the discus (107=6). Hannah Austin placed third in the two-mile (12:00.95). Kayla Rose finished sixth in the discus (92-4).
The New England championships are Saturday in Connecticut. The following local athletes qualified:
Jacob Buhelt Falmouth (200 and 400)
Azad Jalali Falmouth (800)
Andrew Thornton Falmouth (pole vault)
Alex Gowen Falmouth (pole vault)
Falmouth 400, 1,600 and 3,200 relays
Harrison Stivers Freeport (400 and 800)
Jake Burns NYA (300 hurdles)
NYA 400 relay
Ben Decker Yarmouth (3,200)
Charlotte Cutshall Falmouth (100 and long jump)
Falmouth 400 and 3,200 relays
Lexi Dietrich Freeport (200)
Kelsey Grant Freeport (100 hurdles)
Kirstin Sandreuter Greely (1,600)
Gwen Sawyer Greely (pole vault)
Muriel Adams NYA (discus)