Last week’s outdoor track schedule marked a change for southern Maine — five meets brought together schools from all three classes in regular-season competition.

Typically, these schools only compete against each other at invitationals or New England championship meets. But for the first time in recent years, schools from the 17-team Southern Maine Activities Association and 16-team Western Maine Conference were grouped together for regular-season meets.

Greely, Thornton Academy, Biddeford and Waynflete met last Tuesday in Cumberland — two Class A schools, a Class B school and a Class C school. A few unexpected turns emerged.

One issue the coaching staffs and meet volunteers ran into was organization. For example, Biddeford and Thornton Academy weren’t aware that Greely was expecting all the teams to bring their own starting blocks. As a result, there weren’t enough blocks for everyone.

“One of the hardest things about this meet was finding out that we have different rules,” Greely assistant coach Kate Getz said.

“Class B teams always bring their blocks with them. We have four sets of blocks, and that’s all we have. It’s something you don’t think about.”

The number of athletes was also exponentially bigger than typical WMC meets.

“Class A schools are much, much bigger than ours,” Getz said. “Our team fared well, but when we put together meets, it’s a lot of work. There were 500 kids there. We’re used to smaller meets.”

In part because of the number of competitors, the meet ran longer than usual.

“The only other thing the kids noticed was how long the meet was,” Greely Coach John Folan said. “Part of that was just that the teams were very big. It was a long meet, and I’ve never finished a track meet at Greely at just about dusk. The last relay, we got that in at 8:03 p.m., and it was kind of fun running in the dark.”

Athletes and coaches from the four teams had to wait through a 50-minute rain delay.

“If we’d had another (rain delay), the kids would have had to run in the dark,” said Folan, noting that Greely’s track does not have lights.

Folan said that no decision has been made regarding crossover meets in the future. Scheduling decisions are ultimately made by athletic directors.

 

IN A FOUR-TEAM Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet Thursday at Oxford Hills, the Brunswick boys proved their depth, winning with 101 points. The Dragons had nine individual first-place finishes and three relay victories, and 11 Brunswick athletes scored as individuals. Don Benbow finished third in the 400 and second in the high jump, while Mike Slovenski won the pole vault and finished fourth in the long jump.

 

MANY MAINE teams are focusing on qualifying times for the state championship meets — all scheduled for June 5, Class A at Cony in Augusta, Class B at Windham and Class C at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft. A week later, the New England outdoor championships will be held in New Britain, Conn. Six Maine athletes — the three state champions, and the next three best marks after that — qualify for the New England championships.

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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