The Cheverus High girls have never won an indoor track and field state championship. The Scarborough boys’ program has become a dynasty, winning six indoor state team titles in the past eight years.

While these teams may sound very different, both should contend for titles heading into Monday’s Class A state meet at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham – with a boost from notable freshmen sprinters.

Cheverus freshman Emma Gallant is ranked first in the state in the 200 meters (26.27 seconds) and the 400 (59.38) and she is seeded second in Class A in the 55 meter dash (7.50).

“It’s possible Emma could certainly score the most points on the team and perhaps even score the most points in the meet,” said Cheverus Coach Steve Virgilio.

Scarborough freshman Jarett Flaker is ranked first in Class A in the 55 (6.61) and second in the 200 (23.25). He also runs a leg on Scarborough’s state-leading 800-meter relay team, which is ranked first (1:33.89).

Flaker will run the relay with Ben Hatch, Ben Batoosingh, and Matt Blaisdell.

Both coaches said it’s unusual to have freshmen among the state’s elite sprinters.

“I didn’t expect (Flaker) to be this good,” said Scarborough Coach Derek Veilleux. “I think his progress is due to the training he’s been able to do, and the fact he’s so competitive. He does not like to lose.”

In grade school, Flaker excelled in many sports. He played travel soccer and travel lacrosse – both big youth sports in Scarborough – and loved football. As a result, he struggled choosing his winter and spring sports in high school – but he said running track for a powerhouse team has paid off.

He also qualified for the state meet in the long jump, 400 and the 55 meter hurdles.

The 5-foot-9 Flaker said weight training for football and track has helped him to become much stronger since the start of the school year.

“The practices are quite a bit longer and that took some getting used to,” Flaker said. “At states I just want to be the best I can be to help my team. It feels good to help them and keep (the winning tradition) going.”

Scarborough also will be led by senior Sam Rusak, who is ranked first in the pole vault (15 feet, 10 inches), first in the 200 (23.12) and first in the high jump (6-3).

Virgilio expected Gallant to break 30 seconds in the 200 her freshman year, since she did so when she was 12 years old.

He was not, however, expecting her to break 27 seconds – let alone at the first meet of the season.

Gallant opened the indoor season on Dec. 20 by winning the 200 in 26.95 seconds, the fastest time in the state. She continued to lead the state in the event the entire season – improving her time on Feb. 4 at the SMAA Championships, where she won in 26.27.

“I’ve seen great athletes work their way to 26 seconds, but it took several seasons,” Virgilio said. “Before last year, no one at Cheverus had ever broken 27 until Emily Turner (26.10). I was thinking (Gallant) would be able to break 30 without a problem, but I wasn’t expecting her to break 27.”

Gallant also dominated the 400 this season. She ran a state-leading time of 61.00 at a meet on Jan. 14, and improved the mark on Feb. 4 when she won the 400 in 59.38.

At the state meet Gallant is seeded behind Brewer senior Lia Johnson (7.43). It’s another event Virgilio said she could win.

Gallant said having Turner – a senior who is the defending champion in the 400 and 200 – to train with has helped her improve quickly.

And she’s motivated by Cheverus’ chance at the team title.

“I’ve done a lot of new things, so I don’t know what I expect to do at states,” Gallant said. “I like to do my best every time. I like to win.

“My entire team is working on a state title. I’d like nothing more than at some point in my high school career to help win a soccer and a track banner for the gym, the first for Cheverus.”

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: FlemingPph

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