Two Maine high school athletes head to the New Balance national indoor track championships this weekend with hopes of earning All-America by finishing in the top six in an event.

Westbrook freshman high jumper Nyagoa Bayak was ranked sixth in the country (and the top freshman) for much of the season with a personal best of 5 feet, 7 inches but is no longer on the Top 10 list.

What she has in her favor is the big-meet experience of the New England championship behind her. Bayak went into the meet two weeks ago as the top seed and won by clearing 5-7.

“She’s certainly capable of going out there and jumping over 5-8 or 5-9,” said Westbrook Coach Tim Even. “I think the reason it didn’t happen at New Englands was it was her first time jumping in a championships meet. It’s typical 14-year-old nerves. She could be right inside of All-American or right outside of it.”

Even said after Bayak won the New England title, she tried for 5-8 and cleared the bar but was shaking from excitement and nicked it. He believes she’ll be more focused at the nationals.

“She does have a really good chance to make the podium,” Even said of Bayak, who’ll also aim for the all-time Maine best of 5-9, set by Jesse Labreck of Messalonskee in 2008. The high jump will be held Friday night.

Orono junior Tia Tardy enters the 800 meters with a best of 2 minutes, 14.11 seconds. Athletes aren’t seeded at the nationals but her coach, Paul Nantkes, estimates her time places her 14th in the field.

Tardy is due for another big drop in her 800 time, said Orono distance coach Tyler White. She will attempt to break the all-time Maine record of 2:11.58 set by Aleta Looker of Ellsworth in 2014.

Tardy first will run the mile in the emerging elite division Friday, then the 400 in the emerging elite division Saturday, before running in the championship 800 on Sunday.

White said Tardy has the fitness to do the triple.

“I think she’s in a really strong place,” White said. “I think she is capable of running 2:12 or lower. That’s kind of been the goal all year.”

Both Tardy and Bayak used online fundraising campaigns to make the trip to New York this weekend. The Maine Principals’ Association doesn’t allow schools to pay for athletes’ competition costs for the nationals. Tardy raised $845 on and Bayak raised $1,480 on

Other athletes competing at the nationals include Yarmouth senior Emma Egan in the high jump and Fryeburg Academy senior Anna Lastra in the 5,000. Bonny Eagle senior Elisabeth Redwood heads into the 400 with her Maine all-time best mark of 57.52. And Scarborough junior Sam Rusak enters the pole vault with his mark of 15-9.

Spencer Dunn of Edward Little is the No. 3 seed in the 1-mile boys’ race walk, and Kayla Allen of Lewiston and Sydney Sirois of St. Dominic Academy are entered in the girls’ race walk.

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or:

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Twitter: FlemingPph