The Southwestern track and field championship Saturday will be a great tune-up for the state meet, especially given the meet could be decided in the final events on both the boys' and girls' side.
"It could come down to the relays. I'd like to see that. Everybody gathers around and it brings out the team aspect of the sport," said Scarborough boys' coach Derek Veilleux.
On the boys' side, Cheverus and Scarborough will be battling for the title, with the Red Storm striving to win their fourth consecutive conference championship.
On the girls' side it figures to be a contest between Thornton Academy and Bonny Eagle.
The meet will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Southern Maine field house in Gorham.
An added twist this year will be a time limit imposed at the USM field house, which will mean teams can not enter an unlimited number of athletes, and sprints and distance events will have a limited number of heats or runners.
But as the teams stay on a schedule to complete the meet by 3 p.m., it could end up an exciting finish.
"Definitely it will be close," said Cheverus Coach Steve Virgillo. "Scarborough is 20-0 (in regular-season meets) and we are 19-1. They beat us in the one matchup we had. In a meet like this, we will be a little bit more competitive than in a regular meet because it includes every team in the league. When you go to a championship meet, other team's top guys beat them out."
Cheverus is led by Jimmy Campbell, who leads the state in the 600 meters (1 minute, 19.01 seconds) and who has won the 400 and 200 at recent meets.
The Stags also have Jackson McMann, a top contender in the 55 and 200, as well as a member of two relays; and Brady Foshay, who will be key in the 800 as well as three relays.
"Brady could be a four-time SMAA champ," Virgillo said.
Meanwhile, Scarborough has three seniors used to winning: distance ace Robert Hall, sprinter and pole vault state champion Alec James; and sprinter Ryan Jamison.
Hall has dominated the mile and two mile in the SMAA; James not only leads in the pole vault but has won at 600 meters; and Jamison has won in the 55, 200, and 400 the past couple of weeks.
"Robbie Hall has 19 seconds on everyone in the mile, and 37 seconds in the 2-mile," Veilleux said.
On the girls' side, Thornton Academy is led by distance standout Charlotte Pierce; sprinter and state high jumper Carly McKenna; and hurdler and jumper Amanda Arnold.
Bonny Eagle has Samantha Cox an Mary Szatkowski, who could go 1-2 in the 2-mile; and sprinter Audrey Weyand, the league leader in the 200 and 400.
In addition, freshman Kialeigh Marston will help Bonny Eagle collect points in the junior division in the 800.
"I think it will be extremely close. It does come down to which team has enough healthy athletes to spread across all those different events. It should be a fun one, and a close one," said Bonny Eagle Coach Stephanie Beattie.
Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: