Maine has been known as a hotbed of distance-running talent. At this year’s New England outdoor track and field championships Saturday in Norwell, Massachusetts, the state looks more like a factory of athletes in field events.

Mainers could dominate the podium in a number of the throws, jumps and vaults – and in many instances with underclassmen.

Cheverus sophomore Emma White is the top seed in the girls’ long jump after winning the Class A state title with an outdoor personal-best mark of 18 feet, 2 inches.

Not far behind is Thornton Academy freshman Mia Taranko seeded fourth at 17-11.25. Hampden Academy junior Christie Woodside is seeded fifth (17-11.25).

“Going into the final round on Saturday, Emma was in second place with a jump of 17-8.5. She put 5.5 inches on her final jump to take the lead from Taranko,” said Cheverus Coach Steve Virgilio, whose girls’ team won the Class A state title last Saturday.

“She came into the indoor New England championships ranked 10th and finished third at 18-1 with almost a foot (improvement). Now in the outdoor (championships) she comes in ranked first. She’s never been here before. But she can improve when it counts.”

In the shot put, Hampden senior Daija Misler is ranked third at 41-7.5, and Thornton senior Samantha Curran is seeded fourth (40-7).

In the boys’ meet, Maine has another top-seeded sophomore in the boys’ triple jump. Cayden Spencer-Thompson of Mattanawcook Academy (47-3) leads the field.

And in the pole vault, Thornton Academy sophomore Travis Synder is seeded second (15-6). Sam Rusak of Scarborough, a two-time Maine pole vault champion and state record holder, won’t compete because of a hamstring injury he sustained at the Class A state meet.

Finally, Maine brings a squad of throwers who could go three and four deep on the podium in the shot put and discus.

Two-time Class A state shot put champion Austin Lufkin of Brewer, a senior, is the top seed in the event at 59-4.5. Biddeford senior Matt Brady is seeded second (57-0.25) and Orono senior Jake Koffman is third (55-2.75).

Lufkin, the male athlete of the year at the 2017 Varsity Maine Awards, won the New England title last year with a mark of 58-5.25.

In the discus, Lufkin is also seeded first at 175-2. Koffman – who won the event last year (174-10) – is seeded second (173-06), Brewer sophomore Jacob McCluskey is third (163-09) and Brady is fourth (163-04).

In the javelin, Oxford Hills junior Dawson Stevens is seeded third (177-01).

Maine has more than a dozen athletes qualified in running events but no top seeds.

Next year, the New England outdoor meet will be held at Thornton Academy in Saco.

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or

[email protected]

Twitter: FlemingPph

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