Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk ran the first official two-mile race of her career over the weekend in Greensboro, N.C.

She placed fourth at the New Balance Nationals in Track and Field to earn all-America status and record the fastest time in the event by a Maine schoolgirl with a time of 10 minutes, 26.59 seconds.

The state mark for the rarely competed distance — 3,200 meters is more common — had been held by Michelle Hallett of Central Aroostook High since the 1981 Class C state championship meet. Her time was 10:42.8.

“It was fun,” Leonardi said. “I thought maybe I could sneak into the top six for the two-mile. I didn’t think I could get fourth.”

Leonardi, who recently completed her sophomore year, also placed 11th in the mile with a time of 4:56.22 — about five seconds slower than her personal best.

“There were so many girls (with times) under 4:50 that I thought the race was going to be really fast,” she said. “But no one wanted to take it out so it was a huge pack.”

Four girls from a supposedly slower heat finished among the top 10.

“I was hoping to run under 4:50, but my legs really didn’t have the same pop as they did in the two-mile,” Leonardi said. “Maybe they were sluggish from the night before.”

Other Maine high school athletes who made their mark in North Carolina included Biddeford junior Keila Grigware, who earned all-America status by placing sixth in the javelin with a throw of 135 feet, 9 inches; Brunswick senior Will Geoghegan, who placed ninth in the mile with a time of 4:12.76; and Maranacook junior Evan Vincent, who won the mile racewalk in 7:10.50.

In the boys’ racewalk, Bonny Eagle junior Christian Malarsie was third in 7:52.59 and Hampden Academy sophomore Austin Michaud was fourth in 8:14.14 in a field of six.

In a girls’ final that featured 18 racewalkers, Edward Little senior Abby Dunn was second in 7:38.18 and Gorham junior Jennifer Thuotte was fifth in 7:48.08.

Cheverus junior Jack Terwilliger placed 36th in the mile (4:27.10) and won the emerging elite two-mile race in 9:22.99. Geoghegan placed 20th in the championship two-mile run with a time of 9:22.71.

Henry Sterling, a North Yarmouth Academy senior, placed 10th in the 5,000-meter run in 15:17.77.

Both Sterling and Geoghegan plan to continue their running careers at Dartmouth College.


Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: [email protected]