March 26, 2012

Girls' Track: The wins and the times set Gorham's Perkins apart

By Deirdre Fleming
Staff Writer

At the end of a season of multi-event stars and record-setters, Sarah Perkins of Gorham stood out for her consistency, dominance and more than that, her ability to turn in three outstanding performances at crunch time.

click image to enlarge

Sarah Perkins of Gorham captured the 55 hurdles at the Class A state meet, then added victories in the 200 and 400 to earn her award as the MVP in girls’ indoor track.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer


Corinn Bedell, Fryeburg Academy

At big meets the sprints should be won at the tape. Bedell showed how it's done, holding off Olivia Thurston of Waterville by two-hundredths of a second - and a deeper lean -- to take the 40 at the Class B meet.

Georgia Bolduc, Waterville junior

Most of the time pole vaulters just vault. We like Bolduc's versatility. At the Class B meet she was the runner-up in the 55 hurdles (7.39), and the third-place finisher in the pole vault (6 feet).

Bethanie Brown, Waterville junior

At the Class B state meet, Brown took first in the mile in 5:02.15, beating the 5-year-old record of 5:03.47 set by Abby Iselborn of McAuley. Then she won the 800 in 2:19.09, and the 2-mile in 10:59.68.

Alexis Dickinson, Brunswick senior

In the 55, Dickinson erased a 16-year-old state record with a time of 7.22. Her split bettered the 7.25 set by Jill Corey of Portland in 1996.

Kate Hall, Lake Region freshman

Hall won the long jump at the Class B meet with a jump of 17 feet, 1.50 inches, the 200 (26.33) and 55 (7.27).

Fiona Hendry, Cheverus senior

Hendry took the mile (5:16.20) and 2-mile (11:31.73) at the Class A state meet.

Nicole Kirk, Scarborough senior

Kirk was second in the 200 (26.03), third in the 55 (7.40) and anchored the Red Storm's winning 800 relay to a state record (1:48.13) at the Class A meet.

Grace MacLean, Bangor junior

MacLean took third in the 55 hurdles in 8.65, a hundredth of a second behind second; and third in the high jump with the same height as second place (5-0). She also brought home bronze again in the long jump, where she was just a quarter of an inch shy of second place (17-02.25).

Sarah Perkins, Gorham senior

Perkins was the only athlete at the girls' track Class A state championship to collect gold three times, winning the 55 hurdles in 8.55 before bettering an impressive field of quartermilers with her winning 58.23 split, and then took first in the 200 in a rocking 25.82.

Kirstin Sandreuter, Greely sophomore

Sandreuter finished second in the mile (5:10.23) and 2-mile (11:10.92) at the Class B meet.

Olivia Thurston, Waterville senior

After winning the 55 hurdles by three-tenths of a second at the Class B meet (8.68), Thurston took second in the 400 in an impressive 59.97.

Emily Tolman, Scarborough senior

Tolman took second in the long jump (17-2.50) and third in a blistering 400 (58.47) at the Class A meet.

Coach of the Year

Ian Wilson, Waterville

The Purple Panthers took home their fourth girls' Class B state title in seven years by turning in nine first- and second-place performances. And while Ian Wilson's girls' team dominated the sprints as expected, he also made sure Bethanie Brown brought her A-game to take three of the distance events. Coaching doesn't get much better than that.

And that made her the Maine Sunday Telegram girls' indoor track MVP.

Perkins, a senior, didn't break any records at the Class A state meet, but her trio of times was one for the books.

Perkins was the only athlete at the meet to collect gold three times, but her times are what set her apart.

She started the day with a winning 55 hurdle time of 8.55 seconds before bettering an impressive field of quarter- milers with her winning 58.23. Then she took first in the 200 in 25.82, just two-hundredths of a second shy of a very fast 5-year-old state record.

Now, 58 seconds wouldn't crack the top 20 in the 400 at the national indoor meet. And the 25.80, impressive in New England, would have put her just 46th at the national meet.

But in Maine, a budding sprinter is a fun thing.

"Last year she won the hurdles indoors and outdoors. She's the defending champion," said Gorham girls' coach John Caterina. "We were working on that. She's a fast girl. But this year she did more, running between soccer and track."

In fact, the work that went into Perkins' 200 and 400 times were all about helping her 300-meter hurdle race outdoors. So she wasn't even training exclusively for these events.

At the Southern Maine Activities Association title meet Feb. 4, Perkins won the 55 hurdles and 200, both by a full half-second. But rather than run the 400, she competed in the high jump, which she also led in Class A throughout the regular season.

And she won that with a jump of 5 feet, 2 inches.

"We didn't run her in the 200 at every meet. We tried to vary her events, to see what would be the best combination for her at states. We could have put her in the high jump and I think she would have won it. But the high jump can be a crapshoot," Caterina said.

But while varying her events, Perkins always was focused on the sprints.

She worked on flexibility to strengthen her muscles for the 300 hurdles outside. And the stretching and yoga regimen undoubtedly gave her an edge in the sprint events this indoor season.

"In the past she's had ankle issues, probably from when she played basketball. It slowed her down outdoors. She's a lot better. They don't act up on her now," Caterina said.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: FlemingPph

Correction: This story was revised at 10:40 a.m., March 26, 2012, to correct the spelling of Gorham Coach John Caterina's name.

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