WINDHAM — There was a look of defeat on the faces of members of the Thornton Academy girls track team as they watched Bonny Eagle cross the finish line first in the final event of Saturday’s Class A track and field state championships at Windham High School.

A win by the Scots in the 1,600-meter relay would give them enough points to overtake the Trojans, and members of the Thornton team knew it. But those sad faces soon turned to joy, as the Bonny Eagle relay team was ruled to have committed a hand-off zone violation, erasing the 10 points the Scots would have earned, giving the Trojans the team title.

Thornton finished with a meet-high 65 points, followed by Bonny Eagle with 58. Massabesic tied for eighth, with 29 points, while Kennebunk scored 12 to finish 20th.

“We were all like ”˜ugh.’ It was only going to be by (a couple of points), and we’ve already been beaten by a half a point, so at the moment it was like ”˜dang it,’” Thornton senior thrower Kaeleigh Harrison said of her team’s initial despair. “We all worked pretty hard, so I think we deserve it.”

“The position I took with the kids was ”“ even in that position that we were in, state runners-up is awesome ”“ we said today on the bus there’s two things we wanted to do: We wanted to come to compete, and we wanted to PR, and we had a ton of PRs today,” said Thornton head coach Lisa Huntress. “So I would have been thrilled either way. Of course, it’s a lot sweeter when you get a title.”

Bonny Eagle head coach Chris Strout tried to appeal the decision to the games committee, but the ruling that the second runner in the relay started outside of her lane before receiving the hand-off was upheld.

“That is always a tough break, it is. I certainly as a coach don’t like seeing that either,” said Huntress. “I think (Strout) did exactly what we would have done; we would have gone to the jury of appeal, too. But I guess the decision was made.”

The Trojans got their biggest points output in the long jump, as they took the first four spots to earn 28 points. Tori Daigle won the even with a jump of 17-feet, 8-inches, followed by Amanda Arnold, Anna Mehlinger and Allie Pettaway. Massabesic’s Kym Hendrix, who scored in three different events, finished sixth.

Thornton also got 14 points out of the shot put, as Harrison won the event and freshman Samantha Curran took fourth place. Harrison entered the event ranked seventh, with a season-best throw of 33-feet, 10.25-inches, but she threw 36-feet, 8.5-inches to beat Brewer’s Candace Doughty by over seven inches.

“I hadn’t thrown that far in shot put all season, so it was a pretty big day for myself,” said Harrison.

“She’s been having a ”¦ she couldn’t get it going this season,” Huntress said of Harrison. “I just had this feeling this morning. People weren’t counting on her ”¦ and she made this great appearance.”

Kennebunk’s Shelby Strickland won the high jump with a leap of 5-feet, 6-inches.

The Rams swept the event in both girls and boys, as Kennebunk senior Austin Weigle also finished first. Weigle had a meet-high leap jump of 6-feet, 4-inches to beat a trio of jumpers who couldn’t clear the height.

“It feels great. I was in a really good groove in indoor, but this season was so slow to start, so I was unsure of it at the beginning. But I had a feeling, even though I wasn’t seeded first, that I would get (first place),” said Weigle. “My approach was totally off today, but I had a lot of height and I was really determined.”

Weigle then tried to clear 6-feet, 6.25-inches to try and break his school record, but clipped the bar with his feet on his third and final attempt.

Massabesic’s Stephen Duffy was also a state champion in an individual event, as he narrowly won the 1,600-meter racewalk.

“I was actually thinking of shooting for second, because I was ranked third. But then when we came down that final stretch, I really felt like I could beat (Gorham’s Drew York), and I did,” said Duffy. “It was pretty amazing to cross the finish line in first place.”

Duffy got near the front of the pack right from the start, then pulled away from York at the end to win by 1.17 seconds.

The Thornton Academy boys finished fourth in the team total, with 45.5 points. Cheverus won with a score of 99 points ”“ thanks in large part to twins Isaac and Elijah Yeboah and junior runner Jake Dixon, followed by Lewiston and Scarborough. The Trojans scored in 11 different events.

Sanford, Kennebunk, Biddeford and Massabesic all finished in the top 20. The Spartans got a big day from thrower Nick Love (second place in discus), while Biddeford’s Justin Gagnon took third place in both the 110-meter hurdles and triple jump.

Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 323 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.



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