The Glenn D. Loucks Games in White Plains, N.Y. has been the showplace of future world-class track and field athletes such as Alberto Salazar. This weekend at the 45th running of the event, it will be the training ground for 11 Mt. Ararat athletes, including one who could score.
The prestigious event brings together athletes who have qualified from across the eastern United States and from as far away as Manitoba and Bermuda. Last year, 2,957 high school athletes competed in the three-day meet.
Mt. Ararat sophomore Olivia Swan stands a good chance of placing in the high jump, said Mt. Ararat girls’ coach Diane Fournier.
Mt. Ararat has enjoyed having a multi-event star in Swan, who won the high jump last Thursday in a meet at Brunswick High. As a freshman, Swan finished second in the Class A state meet, jumping 5-2.
Swan also competes in the 300-meter hurdles, 800 and triple jump. And after practicing the tricky handoff on the 4×100 relay for the first time two weeks ago, Swan helped anchor the relay to the fastest time in the state at the May 2 meet (52.04).
Fournier, who has taken her team to the New York meet since 1992, won’t have an opportunity to coach Swan much longer.
“She’s moving next year. Her dad got a job in Alabama,” said Fournier.
“Olivia is a real boost to the 400 relay. And we think she can (eventually) go 37 feet in the triple jump, although we won’t reap those benefits.”
Swan is one reason why Fournier thinks Mt. Ararat could be in the thick of the battle for the state championship.
Senior Madison Prescott, who is skipping the jumps this year and focusing only on the sprints, is another reason. Prescott won the 100 (13.12) at the May 2 meet.
“We have quite a bit of versatility this year that hasn’t been there,” said Fournier. “Maddy is doing much better in the 100. She was pulling her hamstring all the time, but she is a heck of a lot better. She’s rusty, and needs more work, but she’s healthy.”
ALEX NICHOLS is ready to excel in a new sprint event. After finishing second in the 200 and 400 at last year’s Class A state meet and winning the 400 at the Class A indoor state meet in record-setting time (49.93), the Brunswick senior is now running the 100.
He won the event in 11.50 and also took first place in the 200 (23.00) at a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet May 2 in Brunswick.
“It was his debut (in the 100). That’s a pretty good time. We’re looking at that for the KVAC meet,” said Brunswick Coach Dave DeLois.
DeLois said Nichols’ 200 pace is a bit faster than at this point last year.
“The 100 might help. It can’t hurt,” DeLois said.
THE BRUNSWICK girls are getting an unexpected lift from two freshman.
In addition to high hurdler Allison Hill, a leader on the team who finished second at the Class A state meet last year, the Dragons could get big contributions at the conference and state championship meets from Tiffany Tanner, who runs the half mile, and Tessa Cassidy, a two-miler.
“Tiffany is pretty versatile, and Tessa (finished eighth running) the two mile at the Class A state meet indoors,” DeLois said.
Meanwhile, Hill is also competing now in the 300 hurdles.
Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: