Normally the Class A outdoor track and field state title comes down to a two- or three-team contest. This year the boys’ meet could have five or six teams in the mix, all from southern Maine.

The Southern Maine Activities Association is packed with teams returning a slew of scoring athletes from last year’s outdoor state meet.

The packed field is particularly surprising given the top athletes returning for the defending state championship team.

Bonny Eagle has three state champions from last year’s team: triple jump champion Tyson Goodale, discus winner Shane Corbett and Jeremy Collins, the winner in the 300-meter hurdles.

The Scots also have three members of their third-place 400 relay team back, as well as Kyle Bailey, who scored in two events. And the versatile Goodale could win two events this year.

“It will be great to have a league that’s so good. When you get to states, you’re already prepared. It goes through cycles. Some years central Maine is strong, some years the (Penobscot Valley Conference). This year I think it’s our league,” said Scots Coach Greg Wilkinson.

Bonny Eagle has 34 out this spring, not a big Class A team, so Wilkinson is hoping to develop depth. He’s got reason to hope with up-and-coming high jumper Jon Thomas out for the second year after playing basketball in the winter.

But a title repeat won’t be easy, Wilkinson said. And that’s more than lip service.

Gorham has as many as eight returning athletes who scored in the state meet last year, including Jesse Orach, who took third and fourth in the 3,200 and 1,600 meters.

And then there’s Scarborough, which just won the indoor Class A state title, and has four athletes who scored in individual events outdoors last year. The Red Storm also return three members of their winning 3,200-meter relay.

“It’s a tough meet to win. It’s harder than indoors. There are more athletes to compete against. It won’t be a runaway win for anyone,” said Scarborough Coach Derek Veilleux.

Cheverus also has four returning scorers from last year’s team and all four of its fourth-place 400 relay unit.

Also, Brunswick has just two returning scorers back, but is a talented young team that placed in eight of the 14 events at the indoor state meet, where it took third.

“There’s a lot of strength in Class A in the SMAA this year, a lot of good athletes,” Veilleux said. “There are some teams in the (Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference) that are pretty decent, but for the most part the strength in Class A is in the SMAA. And usually there are two or three teams, this year there are more teams in the mix.”

 

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: [email protected]

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