Rashad Zagon of Deering keeps her eyes on the bar, hoping it stays put Saturday while competing in the girls’ high jump at the Southwesterns in Gorham. Zagon finished third in 4 feet, 10 inches. The Scarborough boys and Thornton Academy girls took team titles.
By Deirdre Fleming
GORHAM - The Scarborough boys and Thornton Academy girls, two perennial favorites, won the Southwestern indoor track and field titles Saturday, but not without having to dig deep.
Charlotte Pierce of Thornton and Robert Hall of Scarborough are two good examples. Pierce won two distance events and led two relays to second place. Hall won his two distance events and led the Storm's 2-mile relay to victory.
In the end, the Scarborough boys topped a relentless Cheverus team to take their fourth straight title, scoring 200 points to 165 for the Stags. Thornton Academy was third with 88.
The Thornton girls won their second league title in four years with 159.5 points. Bonny Eagle had 107.5 and South Portland 101.5.
Pierce raced four times -- a total of four miles. She took third in the 800 (2:23.39), first in the mile (5:07.49) and first in the 2-mile (11:29.07), and finished with an anchor leg on the sprint medley as Thornton finished second (4:30.86) behind Bonny Eagle (4:29.09).
Pierce, a senior who has qualified for the indoor national meet, ran a personal best in the mile, beating the time she ran Jan. 10 at the Dartmouth Relays, when she ran it fresh.
"This is my event. I was hitting my splits. With 100 to go I kind of got boxed in, but with 50 to go I took the lead," said Pierce.
"Today I just focused on each event in the meet. I took it one race at a time. That's the only way I ran well."
Coach Lisa Huntress said the work load was a lot for Pierce but she knew she could handle it.
Two other Trojans won two events each. Amanda Arnold captured the triple jump (33 feet, 2¼ inches) and long jump (16-7¼), and placed second in the 55 hurdles (9.11). Carly McKenna won the high jump (5-2) and 55 hurdles (9.09).
"We train them hard, but now they're ready to go. I'm hopeful (for states)," Huntress said of the Class A meet Feb. 18.
In the boys' meet, Hall set the tone early. After leading off the winning 3,200 relay team (8:20.97) to start the meet, Hall won the mile (4:40.10) and 2-mile (10:11.08).
"We're pretty excited. So far we're the best team at states, but it depends on the day. Our relays are stacked with seniors. And we're the two-time defending champion. We're excited," said Hall, who ran negative splits in the 2-mile (5:11 and 4:59).
Scarborough pole vaulter Alec James echoed that after running the 400-meter leg of the sprint medley to the point of exhaustion, helping Scarborough finish third (3:55.46) behind Cheverus (3:47.07) and Gorham (3:51.33).
James also took second in the 600 (1:18.20) and captured his signature event by 6 inches with a vault of 12-6.
The best part of the meet for James, who will defend his state title in the pole vault in two weeks, was seeing teammate Greg Viola take second in the pole vault (12-0) by improving his personal best by a foot and a half.
"We could go 1-2 at states," James said of the vault. "Everyone is really rested and excited. We had a team dinner last night. We were looking forward to today."
Scarborough Coach Derek Veilleux thinks his team could win its third consecutive state championship.
"I thought we did a nice job with a full team effort," Veilleux said.
"Cheverus will give us a run again at states. We PR'd in the (sprint medley), but they still beat us by quite a bit. But my guys know how to get it done and win at states."
Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:
Michael Cuesta of South Portland keeps his focus Saturday in the pole vault in the Southwestern indoor track meet at Gorham. The Scarborough boys and Thornton Academy girls triumphed.
Brady Foshay of Cheverus finishes ahead of his teammate, Colin Grove, to capture the 800 in 2 minutes, 4.24 seconds at the Southwesterns.
Edie Pallozzi of Deering crosses the finish line to set a record in the girls’ 800 at the Southwesterns, capturing the event in 2 minutes, 19.5 seconds.