Henry Sterling already knows the environment well.

When he arrives at Saturday’s New England outdoor track and field championships, Sterling, a senior distance runner at North Yarmouth Academy, will join a cadre of athletes from six states vying for regional titles.

“It’s a whole different thing,” Sterling said. “Kids are very serious about track and they’re all exceptional runners. They meet their splits and know exactly what they need to focus on. I was in a slow heat (of the 1,600) last year, and even that was a nail-biter down to the finish.”

Sterling will compete in the boys’ 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at this year’s regional championships, which will begin at 10 a.m. at Willow Brook Park in New Britain, Conn. He qualified for both events after winning Class C titles Wednesday at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, earning an 11th-hour berth at the New Englands.

The New England Council earlier this week ruled in favor of allowing Class C athletes to compete at the New Englands despite the fact the Class C meet was not run until Wednesday afternoon, two days after the deadline for entrants. The Class C meets originally were scheduled for last Saturday but were postponed because of inclement weather. The meet was rescheduled after the deadline of Monday afternoon for New England meet entries.

But the council ultimately allowed entrants from Class C on the basis of qualifying times.

“We worked all day (Monday) to get those kids included,” said Mike Burnham, a Maine Principals’ Association assistant director. “Kids who have qualifying times are eligible for New Englands.”

Maine will have entrants from its three classifications at the New England meet, and NYA Coach Chris Mazzurco considers it advantageous for track athletes from Maine to compete at the New Englands.

“For a lot of these kids who are considering competing in college, it’s a wonderful showcase for them to focus on one event and think more about their race personally, rather than run a whole number of events,” Mazzurco said. “It allows them to see how they stack up against competition from around New England and to get that kind of exposure.”

Kennebunk’s Abbey Leonardi enters with the third-best time in the girls’ 3,200 (10:42.32), behind Lindsay Crevoiserat of Glastonbury, Conn., (10:37.83) and Jacy Christiansen of Mascenic Regional in New Hampshire (10:41.70).

Leavitt’s Allison Fereshetian is seeded fourth in the 100 hurdles, and Cheverus is seeded third in the boys’ 3,200 relay.

Biddeford’s Keila Grigware is seeded fourth in the javelin and sixth in the shot put, and Mt. Ararat’s Randi London is seeded sixth in the discus. Sterling will run the 1,600 and 3,200. The boys’ 1,600 field is led by Brunswick’s Will Geoghegan, who enters the meet with the top qualifying time of 4:12.57.

Sterling and Geoghegan are among six Maine athletes to compete in the event, joining Cheverus’ Jack Terwilliger, York’s Alex Moser, Falmouth’s Tim Follo and Waynflete’s Abshir Horor.

“I’m very excited,” said Sterling, who plans to compete in track and field at Dartmouth. “I got to run there last year in one event, and during the indoor season I ran against some of the Class A and Class B runners and we’ve been following each other’s progress through the outdoor season.

“We don’t run against those teams, so it will be exciting.”

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

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