January 8

High School Indoor Track Notebook: Biddeford’s Ociti eyes titles, New England podium

Ociti, a senior, lost to the record-holder in a photo finish in the 400 meters in the Class A state meet last year.

By Deirdre Fleming dfleming@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

James Ociti has good reason to be aiming for a state record. He lost to the record-holder in a photo finish in the 400 meters in the Class A state meet last year.

TOP PERFORMERS

GIRLS

Kate Hall, Lake Region junior, sprints/jumps: Leads the state in two events. Hall soared to 19 feet, 11 inches at the Rhode Island Classic to rank first among all girl long jumpers in the state. She also won the 55 meters in 7.01.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Tori Daigle, Thornton Academy junior, sprints/hurdles: Leads Class A girls in the state with her 55 hurdle time of 8.78, which she ran at the USM Relays. She also ranks second in the state in the long jump, 16-8.75 set at the USM Relays.

Kaeleigh Harrison, Thornton Academy senior, throws: Leads girl throwers in the state in the shot put with her mark of 34-7 set at the USM Relays.

Edie Pallozzi, Deering senior, middle distance: Ranks second in the state in the mile after running a 5:24.99 at an SMAA meet at Gorham.

BOYS

James Ociti, Biddeford senior, sprints: Leads the state in two events. Ociti clocked a 50.89 in the 400 at the SMAA meet in Gorham on Dec. 21. He also ran 1:16.47 in the 600 at the SMAA meet on Jan. 4 in Gorham, a mark that leads all runners in Maine as well as the nation.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Jake Dixon, Cheverus junior, sprints: Leads the state at 200 meters after running 23.48 at the SMAA meet Jan. 4 in Gorham.

James Schott, Cheverus junior, jumps: Leads the state in the high jump after soaring to 6-2 at the SMAA meet on Dec. 14 in Gorham.

Isaac Yeboah, Cheverus senior, hurdles: Leads the state in the 55 hurdles with his mark of 8.15 that he clocked at the USM Relays on Dec. 28 in Gorham.

And the Biddeford senior has more reasons than that.

Ociti is leading the state in the 400 with his time of 50.89 seconds and in the 600 (1:16.47) this indoor track season, and his 400 time is ranked 18th in the nation.

Coach Ron Ouellette said in his 40 years coaching track at the school, Ociti is among the top athletes he’s coached, and many went on to excel in Division I. A state record is well within Ociti’s grasp, Ouellette said.

Last year Ociti finished second in the 400 at the Class A state meet behind Alex Nichols of Brunswick in a photo finish that gave Nichols the win and the record of 49.93 seconds.

“He probably was at this point last year, but his performance now is the result of inconsistent training, with the weird days off and snow days,” Ouellette said of Ociti.

“So we’re (racing) him in different events, getting him stronger. We want him to peak at the end of the season.”

And the Class A record and title is not Ociti’s only goal.

After finishing fourth in the 600 at the New Englands, Ouellette said he wants to move higher on that podium.

“At that level they’re so good,” Ouellette said.

“But he competed there last year. It was his first time. That’s overwhelming. This time he’ll know the track, the facility. It will be a big advantage.”

 

THE SCARBOROUGH boys graduated 10 seniors, including nine who scored at the Class A state championships that the Red Storm won last year, but remain a top favorite for the title.

“We would win by 40 or 50 points based on performances if it was scored now,” said Scarborough Coach Derek Veilleux.

It’s more than speculation. Scarborough brings back a loaded underclassmen field that’s out to a fast start.

Scarborough boasts freshman pole vaulter Sam Rusak, who is ranked fourth in the state in the event (12-0); sophomore distance runner Colin Tardiff, who is ranked fourth in the state in the mile (4:37.64); and an underclassmen corps of sprinters that helped put their 800-meter relay squads second and fifth out of 24 teams at the league meet Dec. 28 in Gorham.

The Red Storm, who won four of the last five Class A indoor state titles, are well positioned to win another.

“I didn’t look at this as a down year. We lost talent but we have a strong core coming back,” Veilleux said.

“Our freshmen make progress every year. Colin did it last year. And we have a lot of good young freshmen other than Sam. Tradition helps but we don’t do a formal thing in the summer. It’s just the kids want to do well, and they work in the weight room during their other sports.”

 

LAKE REGION junior Kate Hall’s jump of 19-11 at the Rhode Island Classic on Dec. 28 not only leads Maine for girl jumpers, it ranks fifth among all high school boys in Maine.

And Hall said it was the announcer and big crowd at the big multistate meet that gave her the extra boost to improve her personal best by 9 inches.

At the Rhode Island Classic, Hall ran 7.01 in the 55 to win that event before she soared to 19-11 to win the long jump.

Both marks bettered the Maine girl’s Class A and B records.

The Class A record for the 55 of 7.22 was set by Alexis Dickinson of Brunswick in 2012 and the Class B record of 7.13 was set by Logan Crane of Freeport in 2004 at the state meet.

(Continued on page 2)

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