February 14, 2013

Small College Notebook: Dostie keeps USM's amazing streak going

By Steve Solloway ssolloway@pressherald.com

If Peyton Dostie heard the whispers of fatigue urging her to slow down, she ignored them. As she went from her fifth event of Sunday's New England Alliance/Little East Conference championship meet to her sixth event, she tried to sort out the University of Southern Maine's points totals.

How many more points did her team need to sweep the dual championships for an astonishing 13th straight year?

"I'm new to the team," said the sophomore transfer student from neighboring St. Joseph's College. "I know how much this meant to the seniors who have never lost."

If Dostie felt the weight of tradition when hours of competition came down to the last relays, she ignored that, too. "It felt so cool when we won. Thirteen years is a long time."

The USM women beat Keene State College 138-135 to win the Alliance title, which features teams from its Little East Conference and the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference. USM beat Keene State 172-168 to win the LEC championship.

The USM men, led by runners Julian Gazzelloni (Windham) and Parker Chipman (Freeport) split, winning the LEC title, beating five conference schools by scoring 213 points. Rhode Island College was second with 133. Bridgewater State won the 10-team Alliance meet with 143 points. USM was second with 129.50.

Dostie, who grew up in Standish and graduated from Bonny Eagle, asks a lot of herself. "I think I'm organized, but why do you ask?"

She throws herself into field hockey during the late summer and fall and with little downtime, moves over to indoor track. She's a business management major, which somehow makes sense.

Sunday, she placed second in the long jump, third in the triple jump and 600-meter run and 55-meter hurdles, fifth in the high jump and seventh in the 200 meters, scoring 32 of the team's 138 points. "I train for the (five-event) pentathlon so I'm used to doing a lot of events."

Other teammates, including thrower Jen Durham, a senior from Doylestown, Pa., and sprinter Nicole Kirk, a freshman from Scarborough, also scored in more than one event.

Gazzelloni, a junior, won the mile run, placed second in the 1,000 meters and anchored the 4-by-800 relay team. He's a relative newcomer to distance running. He was a sprinter at Windham High.

For Gazzelloni, Sunday's meet was important because it was the last time this season everyone on the squad competed together. That thought drew the USM women together as well.

This weekend, individuals begin competition in the bigger meets where qualifying standards had to be met. The New England Division III championships will be held at Bates College on Friday and Saturday for the men and women.

"Hutch (Coach Scott Hutchinson) told us to be smart," said Gazzelloni. "You want to do your best, but you compete knowing what's coming up. It's not just about time and distance."

This season, the USM men had about three dozen competitors, down about a dozen or so from recent squads. The talented core includes Chipman, who won Sunday's 600-meter run, junior hurdler Sheldon Allen from Charlestown, Mass., senior pole vaulter Orion Winkler from Brownfield and sophomore jumper Jamie Ruginski of Buxton.

The 4-by-400 meter relay of freshmen Jeremy Collins (Standish), Dan Webb (Acton), senior Codey Rich (Wells) and Chipman won the LEC title and has been very competitive.

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