WINDHAM — For the Cheverus boys’ track and field team and its senior captains, Saturday’s Class A state championship meet at Windham High was like a perfect dream.
For a few brief moments, it also looked like a dream finish for the Bonny Eagle girls, who were attempting to overtake Thornton Academy in the final event – the 1,600-meter relay. Bonny Eagle crossed the finish line first, which would have given the Scots enough points to claim the title, but they were disqualified for a handoff zone violation, enabling Thornton to hold on for its first Class A championship in 10 years.
Cheverus prevailed by 29 points in the boys’ meet, winning two relays and getting four individual titles. The 400-meter relay team, which included two individual state champions, set a state record as the Stags captured their first Class A crown since 1998.
“This is so surreal. It’s so much better than I could have dreamed it for this day to happen like this,” said senior co-captain Elijah Yeboah. “It came through four years of hard work and us coming together.”
Cheverus finished with 99 points, well ahead of Lewiston (70) and defending champion Scarborough (61).
The Stags had top finishes from their sprinters, hurdlers and throwers.
Senior twins Isaac and Elijah Yeboah went 1-2 in both the 110 and 300 hurdles, with Isaac winning both. Their times were 15.08 and 15.12 in the 110 and 39.52 and 39.81 in the 300. They also joined Luke Trickey and Jake Dixon to set a state record of 43.32 in the 400 relay, breaking the mark of 43.35 set by Edward Little in 2007.
“I wanted to win the 300 hurdles today, and I wanted to bring home the team title – that meant more to me than anything. I was worried about Lewiston,” said Isaac Yeboah, the Stags’ other co-captain.
The Yeboahs also teamed with James Hannigan and Dixon to beat Lewiston in the 1,600 relay, finishing in 3:25.98.
Dixon, meanwhile, won the 400 (48.93) and took second in the 200 (22.76), getting nipped at the line by Isaiah Harris of Lewiston. Nick White won the discus (155-2) and took fourth in the shot put (48-5).
“I had teammates at different points on the track to tell me if (Harris) was gaining on me,” Dixon said of the 1,600 relay. “I dug a little deeper.
“This team title means a lot. And for me and the Yeboahs, we’ve been running together since we were 9. But this is our first state title. It’s been taken away from us so many times.”
The girls’ meet was back and forth all day between Thornton and Bonny Eagle. The Trojans led by seven points, 65-58, heading into the 1,600 relay but weren’t entered in that event. That left the door open for Bonny Eagle, but the Scots were disqualified because one of their runners was standing outside the handoff zone before receiving the baton.
Thornton won on the strength of its jumpers, who swept the first four places in the long jump, and Kaeleigh Harrison, who captured the shot put with a throw of 36-81/4 and took fifth in the discus (96-7).
Harrison went into the shot put as the No. 7 seed but improved her season best by almost three feet after working with Coach Lisa Huntress this past week and changing her grip.
“I hadn’t thrown well all season. But Coach called me out of one of my classes and said, ‘I want you to win state.’ I was throwing the shot a lot better after changing the way I was holding it in practice last week,” Harrison said.
Tori Daigle, a junior, won the long jump at 17-81/2. Amanda Arnold was second (16-31/4), Anna Mehlinger placed third (16-21/2) and Alexandra Pettaway was fourth (16-0).
The same four combined to take fifth in the 400 relay (51.12). Daigle also took second in the 100 hurdles (15.46).
Bonny Eagle had first-place finishes from Audrey Weyand in the 400 (57.69) and 200 (26.70), and Kialeigh Marston in the mile (5:07.80), as well as the 3,200 relay (9:36.00). The 3,200 relay team of Kyaunna Libby, Kristen Glennie, Weyand and Marston won by 13 seconds.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Bonny Eagle Coach Chris Strout of his team’s disqualification from the 1,600 relay. “It was nip-and-tuck the whole way. But we had some outstanding performances.”