Ask any middle school track coach about their experience working with the team and you’re likely to hear similar responses.

“The kids have been very dedicated,” Gorham coach John Wilkinson said. “They come every day to practice and they work very hard.”

“Every day at practice was a joy because they want to go out and better themselves,” said Westbrook coach Travis McCutcheon.

Evidence of that enthusiasm and effort was on display over the weekend, filling the Portland Expo with noise and energy as hundreds of youngsters gathered for the Southern Maine Middle School Indoor Track League annual End-of-Season Meet.

Half of the 18 schools competed in the Cumberland County Conference (boys, Friday night; girls, Saturday morning), while the other half participated in the Greater Portland Conference (boys, Saturday afternoon; girls, Saturday evening).

Megan Niehoff, a sixth-grader at Wescott Junior High School, won two individual events, as did Gorham’s Nick Adkins, also in sixth grade. Meanwhile, Bonny Eagle seventh-grader Peyton Dostie took a pair herself and two Scots teammates had record-setting performances.

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Niehoff took the junior shot put by out-throwing her nearest competition by well more than two feet. Her victory in the junior 150-yard dash was much closer, as Niehoff edged Lincoln’s Fiona Densmore by one-tenth of a second and fellow Falcon Haley Berry by two-tenths.

Zach Gardiner took the top spot in the intermediate shot put, while Kyle Gaudreau tied for first in the junior 150

Other top performers for Wescott included Jessica Eastman (2nd, junior shot put), Jessica Harris (5th, junior 600), Emily Grossman (2nd, int. 150; 5th, int. hurdles), Olivia Marsden (3rd, int. 440), Sam Little (5th, int. 240), Karleigh Gaudreau (5th, senior shot put), Ashlyn Bourgeois (5th, 440), Kristle Doughty (4th, senior 440), Ryan Chute (5th, junior 45), Matt Vietze (6th, junior 45), Ryan LeBel (5th, junior 40; 6th, junior shot put), Mitchell Chipman (5th, junior 600), Fred Thompson (2nd, junior 440), Steven Wescott (5th, int. 440), Jake Gardiner (5th, int. shot put), Ellis Oliver (2nd, senior 40; 6th, senior 240), Anthony Ridlon (5th, senior shot put), Kevin Hooke (6th, senior 440), Stephen Burnham (4th, senior 300; 6th, open high jump), Bradley Stiles (3rd, open mile), Mike Vietze (open 1000), TJ Pitas (5th, open 1000) and Brendon Wormell (6th, open 1000).

Adkins shot put toss of 34-feet and one inch was nearly four feet better than his closest opponent, and the Gorham athlete also took first place in the junior 240.

Teammate Cam Stevens won the senior 300 and the Rams’ Sarah Perkins took the junior hurdles. In addition, Gorham foursomes were strong in the relays, winning the girls junior 4 x 140 and senior 4 x 210 as well as the boys junior 4 x 140 and int. 4 x 140.

Despite winning the senior hurdles in all four meets during the season, Gorham’s John Day knew that anything could happen at the season-ending meet.

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“I’m nervous,” said the eighth-grader. “I’ve had butterflies since this afternoon.”

Day’s concerns were well placed, as he was just beat at the wire by Alex Lauzon of St. James. Both had times of 6.6, but the six-foot-plus Day just came up short.

Other top performers for the Rams were Jon Foster (2nd, open mile), Ryan Ballageron (4th, junior hurdles), Nick Chabot (5th, junior 40), Nate Moody (5th, junior 600), Brad Turnbaugh (4th, junior 150), Nick Kilborn (5th, junior shot put), Ben Besanko (2nd, int. 40), Isiah Lapid (2nd, int. 240), Kyle Nielson (5th, int. 240), Greg Gagne (2nd, senior 40), Jeremy Pelkey (2nd, senior shot put), Mark Walrath (3rd, senior shot put), Audrey Adkinson (4th, junior 40), Samantha Grant (2nd, junior 150; 4th, junior shot put), Larissa Worster (junior 240), Mia Rapolla (2nd, int. shot put), Abby Adkinson (6th, senior 40), Hannah Prince (2nd, senior 440), Marissa Owens (4th, senior 240), Annie Mitchell (6th, senior 240) and Emily Southard (5th, senior 300).

Gorham’s Lauren Chouinard ran into a bit of trouble in the senior 40.

“I kind of got tripped up by another girl,” said Chouinard, “so I’ve got a pretty big gash on my hip.”

The eighth-grader still managed to finish in third place in the event, as well as taking fifth in the senior shot put and running the anchor leg in the victorious 4 x 210 relay squad.

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Chouinard uses track to improve her athleticism in another sport.

“It seems like a good way to get in shape for soccer, which I play all year long,” she said.

Bonny Eagle’s Joey Collins broke his own record in the int. 440 with a time of 1:02.5, more than a half-second better than the previous mark. He also finished fourth in the junior 440. The Scots’ Melissa Carrier tied the record in the senior 40 with a 5.3 performance.

During the season, teammate Lauren Dudley broke the record in the open mile, running it in 5:44.6. The eighth-grader was a few seconds off that pace on Saturday, but still more than 10 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.

“It’s hard for me to keep up my pace without someone pushing me,” Dudley said, “but I like to see my time and see how I improve each week.”

Dostie broke the tape in the int. 150, won the open high jump and completed a perfect day as part of a victorious 4 x 140 relay team. Teammate Morgan Costa took the top spot in the int. 40 and Tyler Ruby won the senior 300.

Other top peformers for Bonny Eagle included Ashley Norton (6th, junior hurdles), Nicole Kepron (3rd, junior 40), Emily Durgin (2nd, junior 600), Riley Kirk (5th, junior 150), Lindsey Somerset (4th, int. shot put), Kayla Skurski (6th, int. 240), Katie Kohler (4th, senior 40), Sarah Ferry (4th, senior 300), Amber Dostie (2nd, open 1000), Ashley Cox (3rd, open 1000), Ethan Thorne (2nd, int. hurdles), Ben Thomas (3rd, int. hurdles), Todd Thompson (5th, int. hurdles), Garrett Hubner (4th, int. 150), Kyle Dyer (4th, int. shot put), Lincoln Sanborn (4th, senior hurdles), Dustin Andrews (5th, senior 40; 6th, senior 300), Greg Tanguay (4th, senior shot put), Justin Smith (2nd, senior 440), Caleb Gosselin (3rd, senior 300) and Greg Martin (6th, open mile).


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