SCARBOROUGH — At long last, the sun finally shined for an outdoor track and field meet Saturday.

That worked right into the hands of Thornton Academy’s jumpers as they took advantage of the perfect conditions to once again lift the Golden Trojans to a big-meet victory, scoring nearly half of Thornton’s points in the long jump and triple jump alone as the Trojans ran away with the girls title at the SMAA Southwesterns league championship meet on Saturday at Scarborough High School.

The Trojans finished 1-2-4-5 in the long jump ”“ led by junior Tori Daigle’s league-record 18-foot leap ”“ and 1-2-5-6 in the triple jump for 45 big points, helping the Trojans pull away midway through the meet and finish with 97 total points, 30 ahead of runner-up Massabesic.

The Golden Trojans add the outdoor league title to their indoor league and state titles from this winter, and will look to make it a clean sweep next Saturday at the Class A state meet at Windham High School.

“Championship meets represent a lot of things and it usually comes down to big moments in track and field, but sometimes just a good, warm day helps so much,” Thornton coach Lisa Huntress said. “That was the biggest factor.

“Because of the weather we didn’t really have a great meet during the regular season, and things that we were hoping to see for performances during regular season meets we saw today.”

Daigle was the top individual points scorer of the meet on the girls side, winning the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 16.28 seconds and finishing third in the 200-meter dash in 27.63.

But Daigle’s biggest contribution came early in the day, when her 18-foot leap broke Maria Curit of Biddeford’s three-year-old league record by one and three-quarters inches and earned her the field event performer of the meet award.

“I was ready and prepared this weekend,” said Daigle, who also broke the all-time Class A indoor record in the long jump with an 18-00.25-foot jump at this year’s state meet. “When I got on the runway I just kind of pictured myself jumping like I did in the indoor state meet. It kind of just happened.”

That gave everyone a lot of confidence,” Thornton’s Allie Pettaway said of Daigle’s jump. “I knew I would do well after that.”

Pettaway did, finishing second in the long jump with a personal best of 16-8, while Thornton teammates Anna Mehlinger (16-2.75) and Amanda Arnold (16 feet) finished fourth and fifth.

Pettaway then went on to win the triple jump at 34-2, with Brayden Costa taking second (33-01.25), Arnold fifth (32-5) and Olivia Libby sixth (32-5).

It was a strong comeback after the day started disastrously for Pettaway, who was seeded second in the 100-meter dash only to false start in her heat. But the junior shook it off, and after scoring 18 points in the jumps, anchored the Trojans’ third-placed 4×100-meter relay team with Alexis Nason, Costa and Mehlinger.

“It was interesting. I’ve never false started before, and I’m usually one of those people who get really down on myself,” Pettaway said. “But my jumps coach (Carl Smith) told me not to put pressure on myself, so I just let that go. I just focused one event at a time and this was the best jumping day I’ve ever had. Something clicked.”

Thornton also received contributions in the pole vault as Kaitlin Hilton finished second with a height of nine feet, while Samantha Curran and Kaeleigh Harrison took third and fifth in the shot put and Libby and Arnold were third and sixth in the 300-meter hurdles.

Overall, it was the type of performance Huntress hopes her team can replicate at the state meet, when Eastern teams ”“ including Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference champion Edward Little and Penobscot Valley Conference champion Hampden Academy ”“ will be thrown into the mix.

“Our hope was obviously to win today, but we also wanted to tighten up for the state meet in terms of getting better times and better qualifying,” Huntress said. “I’m thrilled, I think we’re in a good position for next week.”

Massabesic finished a surprise second in the girls standings with 67 points, two ahead of South Portland. The Mustangs were led by 14 points from Kym Hendrix and 12 from Haley Bantz, who also ran the anchor leg for the Mustangs’ winning 4×400-meter relay team with Morgan Farina, Mariah Biener and Karisa Lambertson.

On the boys side, Cheverus cemented itself as the state title favorites with a dominating 116.25-point performance, finishing 36.25 points ahead of second-placed Scarborough thanks to wins in nine of the 19 events.

The Thornton Academy boys finished fourth in the boys standings, getting second-place finishes from Dan Marsh in the 400-meter dash and Tyler Lebel in the 800-meter run. That pair also teamed with twins Dylan and Andrew Smith to finish second in the 4×400-meter relay.

Ryan Cadorette was another second-placed finisher for the Trojans in what was the most-exciting race of the day in the 3,200 meters.

Cadorette, the top seed, took the lead from the start and set the pace for the opening six laps before being passed by Deering’s Iid Sheikh-Yusef on the penultimate lap. Cadorette attempted to retake the lead on the backstretch of the final lap but was unable to, and made one last effort in the last 100 meters, catching Sheikh-Yusef but finishing a meager 0.05 of a second behind the Deering runner in a time of 9:57.64.

“Coming down the straightaway I decided to give it whatever little last gear I had,” Cadorette said. “I didn’t think I had that much and I surprised myself. I just ran out of real estate. I wish I’d gone a few meters sooner, but it was a great race.”

Cadorette had also finished third in the 1,600-meter race earlier in the day, an event he admitted took a lot out of him before his bread-and-butter race in the 3,200 meter. That leaves the senior with an interesting choice ahead of the state meet ”“ to again attempt the double, or just focus on the longer of the two races.

“I think I could have been sub 9:50 if I could have just done the 2-mile,” Cadorette said. “I really want to go after my state title next week. Part of me wants to go after it and do the double, but part of me wonders if I don’t do so well in the mile, will it ruin my chances in the 2-mile? It’s something I need to think about.”

Sanford also finished a strong seventh on the boys side with 30.25 points, 10 of which came from sophomore Pete Hegarty’s win in the long jump.

The co-top seed with Scarborough’s Edward James at 12 feet going in, Hegarty went over the bar on each of his first three vaults at 10-6, 11 feet and 11-6 before falling on his first two tries at 12 feet. But Hegarty got over on his third attempt, a feat James couldn’t match, and nearly went over at 12-6 before settling for a tie of his personal best, and the win.

“I was kind of nervous. I was hoping to do well and match my (personal record) and at least come in top three, but the odds were in my favor,” Hegarty said. “I’m proud of myself. Next week I’m hoping to clear 12-6.”

— Staff Writer Cameron Dunbar can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected]



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