York’s Hayley Smith, left, Cony’s Anna Reny and Cape Elizabeth’s Dacry Cochran compete in the 100-meter hurdle finals during the Class B state track and field meet last season in Brewer. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

Anna Reny remembers the feeling when she broke the Maine state meet record in the 300-meter hurdles at the Class B championships last season. She was with her twin sister, Julia, when her Cony coaches told her just how fast she had run. And that no one had done it before.

“I didn’t even believe that I did it,” said Reny, whose time of 45.12 seconds beat the old Class B mark of 45.36. “I was just absolutely in shock. … It was absolutely surreal.”

She was hoping to have that feeling again this year. Then the coronavirus put another crack at history on hold.

“It’s probably the coolest thing I’ve done,” she said. “It’s something I was really looking forward to maybe reliving. How much cooler would it be to do it a second time?”

Mt. Ararat High senior Lisandro Berry-Gaviria won Class A championships in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters last year. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Reny, a junior, has it easy. She’ll be back. For many of the dozens of athletes who had realistic shots of setting new Maine Principals’ Association state records this season, those hopes of putting their names in the books were over all too soon.

“It’s pretty hard to tie it, the exact number,” said Winthrop senior Jillian Schmelzer, who matched the Class C mark in the 400 at 58.47 last year, and had an excellent shot at having the mark all to herself this spring. “It would have been nice to actually go out and get the record and have it be under my name and my time. … I’m not super angry about not being able to get it. It’s just kind of like, ‘Dang it.’ It would have been nice to have a season.”

Records were in the crosshairs throughout all classes. Waterville’s Taylor Bielecki ran the 200 last year in 23.64, and had a crack at Justin Vigeant’s Class B record of 22.22 set in 2007. Belfast’s Jack Hanson cleared 14 feet in the pole vault last year and was near Drew Nealey’s Class B mark of 14-7. Thornton Academy’s Max Spaulding ran the 300 hurdles last year in 40.88, and had a chance at former Gardiner sprinter Nate Sergent’s mark of 38.28 from 1998.

Schmelzer was only a heartbeat away from the Class C 400 record, which would have given the University of Maine commit an excellent finishing note.

“I definitely had a goal of running a better time in the 400,” she said. “I knew it was going to be hard to do that, because it was really hard to achieve that last season. I knew I was going to have to work extra hard and really focus this season if I wanted to run a faster time. I had hopes of it. It’s hard to know if you will or you won’t.”

She would have had competition from Maranacook senior Molly McGrail, who worked her way back from a hip injury during cross country season and ran the 400 at 58.79 last year.

“I was hoping to be able to come back and be able to do the same thing I did last year, and hopefully improve,” she said. “I’m in the clear to train and everything, so I’m a little bummed that it got canceled.”

Some athletes had their sights set outside the state meet records. Mt. Ararat’s Lisandro Berry-Gaviria has already beaten the 3,200 Class A championship record of 9:18.2 set by Cheverus’ Tom Briggs in 1982, but knows that breaking the record in the actual state meet is a tall order since he is typically asked to run the 1,600 and two other events as well.

Instead, the Notre Dame commit had his sights set on beating the fastest-ever Maine time in the 3,200, a mark of 8:51 set by Ellsworth’s Dan Curts. Berry-Gaviria had the Glenn D. Loucks Memorial Games in New York tabbed as his best shot.

“I had it written on the wall next to my bed and everything,” Berry-Gaviria said. “I was trying to devote everything I could to just getting in the best possible shape for outdoor so I could run that time. … I was living for it. And that’s why it’s so crushing the season had to be canceled. … This was supposed to be the capstone of my high school running career. I had invested so much.”

Other athletes had already made it into the books, but were looking to add more records to their collection or push their numbers out of reach. Scarborough’s Jarett Flaker set the Class A state meet record in the 200 last year at 22.49, but had a good chance at both the 100 record of 10.7 and 400 mark of 48.45. Flaker’s times last year were 10.92 and 49.64, respectively, but he reached 10.7 in the 100 in an earlier meet last year and had a target of 47 seconds in the 400 entering this spring.

“It would have been really nice, because that would mean I was the fastest person ever to run for all the Maine sprint events,” he said. “I don’t really run just to set records. I run to improve more. That’s what I like about track so much. Your times can show you the results of your hard work. Records come with getting faster, but it’s more the hard work paying off that I enjoy.”

Cheverus junior Victoria Bossong set Class A records in the 200 (24.8) and 400 (55.54) last year, and already had the 100 mark at 12.18 from her freshman year in 2018. Neither time is a personal record for her, however, so she was looking forward to a potential hat trick of setting three records in one meet.

“If anything, I was more motivated,” she said. “I have to keep focusing on myself and just breaking my old records. It still gives me, maybe not as much satisfaction, but it definitely feels really good to know I can keep getting better.”

Bossong’s biggest rival was on her team. Cheverus senior Emma Gallant had the record in the 200 going into last year, and ran well enough to set a new record last year, if not for Bossong clipping her by less than three-tenths of a second.

The two have battled over the years. But there’s no jealousy.

“For us, that’s not really the way we function,” Gallant said. “She is one of the best athletes I have ever seen. … Even being in the same race, yeah, she beat my record, but that’s one of my best friends. I love watching her succeed, and I think she would say the same thing if it was vice versa.”

This was going to be one more year of Gallant and Bossong pushing each other to further heights. Instead, that’s another casualty of the virus, and Bossong said that’s as difficult as losing the chance at another sterling spring.

“We were really looking forward to our last season together,” she said. “It’s a really friendly competition. To be able to be like ‘Maybe I can beat you this meet, I’ll get you back next meet,’ that’s really important. Because without competition, you can’t go anywhere.”

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