BUCKSPORT — Track is back, and the first results in two years are promising ones for Hancock County athletes.
The outdoor track season began last week with meets held at Bucksport and Mount Desert Island high schools. Runners, throwers and jumpers from all six local schools secured top finishes in the first meets held in Hancock County since May 2019.
The season began Friday as Bucksport hosted Ellsworth, Central, Dexter and Calais. Bucksport posted 82 points on the girls’ side to top Central (42 points) and Ellsworth (37 points), and the Golden Bucks racked up 77 points to Ellsworth’s 69 on the boys’ side to claim a sweep of both team competitions.
On the girls’ side, Bucksport’s Rebekah Ireland claimed wins in the 800-meter run (2 minutes, 54.49 seconds) and 1,600-meter run (6:35.53, unopposed). Victoria Watkins added two twins in the field for the Golden Bucks as she placed first in the high jump (4 feet, 11 inches) and pole vault (6 feet, unopposed).
Bucksport also got one win each from Angelina Cotoni (100-meter hurdles, 19.49 seconds), Addie Morrison (400-meter dash, 1:07.70), Alyx Frazell (300-meter hurdles, 54.22 seconds, unopposed), Mercedes Taungatu‘a (javelin, 75-0) and Ava Knowles (shot put, 31-7). The unit of Morrison, Cotoni, Britney Bussey and Johanna Stiles won the 4-by-100 relay with a time of 53.26 seconds.
That 4-by-100 unit is the same one that won the state championship two years ago as a group of freshmen and sophomores. Back as juniors (Cotoni and Stiles) and seniors (Morrison and Bussey), the quartet is currently within a second of breaking a 37-year-old school record in the event.
“That group of girls is special,” Morrison said. “They have a lot of talent, but they’re also committed to themselves and committed to each other. They’re great kids, and they all have a tremendous work ethic and drive to succeed.”
Ellsworth got individual wins from Addi Laslie (100-meter dash, 13.63 seconds; 200-meter dash, 28.34 seconds) and Autumn Paul (discus, 83-9). The Eagles also won the 4-by-400 relay unopposed as Laslie, Abby Mazgaj, Hannah McBreairty-Frye and Logan Williams posted a time of 6:31.20.
William Hileman (1,600-meter run, 4:58.56; 3,200-meter run, 10:59.00, unopposed) and Gavin Billings (discus, 126-0; shot put, 38-0) won two individual events apiece for the Bucksport boys. Hugh Jack (100-meter dash, 12.54 seconds), Nathan Paulauskas (high jump, 5-11) and Colin Simpson (long jump, 19-11 1/2) added one win each for the Golden Bucks.
Aaron Lynch (200-meter dash), Connor Robinson (400-meter dash, 1:14.08), Isaiah Corson (1,600-meter race walk, 10:29.88, unopposed), Beck Deeny (triple jump, 39-4 1/2) and Logan McGowan (pole vault, 7-0) posted wins for the Ellsworth boys. McGowan’s pole vault win came via tiebreaker against teammate Darren Easler, who also cleared 7 feet.
The high wind speeds had a major impact on the afternoon with some events, such as the 100- and 200-meter dashes, forcing competitors to go straight into the currents. Yet that did little to stifle what Morrison called feelings of “excitement and relief” that came with athletes competing in a full meet in front of friends and family members.
“Throughout the day, you’d have athletes who would step out of the athletes-only area for a little bit to see their friends or their parents or their grandparents,” Morrison said. “That’s something we haven’t been able to have for a while, and I think having that back helped the kids a lot.”
On Saturday, athletes from Mount Desert Island, George Stevens Academy, Sumner and Deer Isle-Stonington opened their respective seasons at MDI High School. Competitors from those schools finished at or near the top in every event in the meet, which also included Bangor and Washington Academy.
MDI enjoyed a strong day in the relay events with wins in three of the six races. The boys’ 4-by-100 (Henry Lester, Baylor Landsman, Ieuan Howell, Miles Burr) and 4-by-400 (Howell, Sam York, Ponce Saltysiak, Walker St. Germain) teams won with times of 46.44 seconds and 3:46.82, respectively, and the girls’ 4-by-100 team (Sarah Weaver, Callan Easton, Molly Ritter, Gaia Daul) won with a time of 54.84 seconds.
Individually, Burr (100-meter dash, 11.86 seconds), Landsman (300-meter hurdles, 44.21 seconds), St. Germain (800-meter run, 2:06.67), Saltysiak (3,200-meter run, 10:30.73), Lester (high jump, 5-4) and Jackson Laws (javelin, 139-10) claimed wins for the MDI boys. Eason (800-meter run, 2:35.70), Daul (200-meter dash, 28.99 seconds) and Olivia Joyce (javelin, 92-5) earned victories for the MDI girls.
“Competing once again after 686 days since the last time we competed in outdoor track felt really great,” said MDI head coach Aaron Long. “There was a little bit of rust for everyone, but we got back in the swing of things very quickly.”
Oliver Wilson won the 1,600-meter race walk in 9:19.04 for the GSA boys, which also got a win from Ian Renwick (23.59 seconds) in the 200-meter dash. Maranda Pert recorded a distance of 106-4 for the GSA girls to win the discus throw.
Luna Perry-St. Peter, the lone Deer Isle-Stonington athlete competing, won the girls’ 100-meter hurdles with a time of 18.77 seconds. For Sumner, Logan Carter finished second in the boys’ 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:54.36 and fourth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:15.92.
The track season will continue Thursday, April 29, with Bucksport competing at Hampden Academy at 3:30 p.m. Ellsworth (GSA, Sumner, John Bapst, Washington Academy) and MDI (Calais, Hermon, Narraguagus, Searsport) will host meets at 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 30, and noon Saturday, May 1, respectively.