The indoor track and field Friday in Topsham included a shot put area for Brunswick and Morse throwers to compete. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

TOPSHAM — Heather Hoisington wasn’t alone in wondering if a high school indoor track meet would be held this winter.

The Brunswick indoor track and field coach said she spent the better part of the last two-plus weeks trying to figure out how her team could experience some sort of competition this season. She got her answer Friday, when Brunswick and Morse got together for a “hybrid type of event.”

“I am unbelievably happy,” she said. “At one point in time we were very unsure if we would be able to hold anything at all. The kids were just so excited, even if it’s not the traditional atmosphere they have come accustomed to.”

Inside the spacious facility, hundreds of cones marked distances for the shorter races. Hurdles were placed on the center of the field, and a shot put floor board rested on a far side. Surrounding the outer edge of the turf field were more cones, outlining the edge of the “track” for the distance races. Triple and long jump areas were also in place, albeit with modifications.

There were timers and judges, but everything was done on turf opposed to a gym floor or a sand pit, so scorers had to keep a sharp eye in events like the long jump, triple jump and shot put. 

The event Friday hardly resembled a typical indoor track and field meet.

Music played on a stereo that echoed throughout the facility and the setting was more relaxed. However, the athletes said they enjoyed themselves.

Kaeden Green of Brunswick competes in the 800-meter run on Friday in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“No matter the circumstances we’re all still having fun out here. You have to give a lot of credit to everyone who set this up,” said Brunswick junior Joey Valliere. “It’s been a while since we’ve had an event like this, so we’re all just trying to soak in the experience.”

Valliere ran cross country in the fall, but was not expecting to have competition in the indoor winter season. The different environment threw him off at first, but he adjusted accordingly.

“Honestly, I liked this sort of surface better than what we are usually on in the winter,” said Valliere. “It had more of a bouncy feel rather than a hard ground.”

The events held Friday included the following: 4×800 relays, 55-meter dash, 55-meter hurdles, 400-meter run, 800-meter run, 1-mile run, shot put, and the standing long and triple jump.

Most races were forced to be staggered into separate heats due to social distancing guidelines. The heats were split up by school, with Brunswick going first and Morse following. Morse senior Liam Scanlon noticed the advantage the Shipbuilders would have right away. 

“We got to watch our competition and have a good idea of their times before we stepped foot on the track,” said Scanlon. “I was definitely keeping that in the back of my mind.”

For the triple and long jump, there were no running starts, something Brunswick junior Kaeden Green wasn’t a fan of.

“I personally like the run-up, it gives me a lot of length and obviously you don’t have as much momentum when you leap,” said Green. “Today, it felt like I jumped a lot farther than I actually did, which is something we have to get used to.”

There was a silver lining, however.

“I did like the fact that there was no sand pit so I don’t get any sand in my shoes,” she added.

Although there were some events that didn’t take place, Scanlon said he felt a sense of normalcy while competing. 

“I’d say this helps make our season as a whole feel more normal,” said Scanlon. “We have some new coaches this year so it’s been fun getting to know them.”

In previous seasons, Morse would practice with Brunswick under Hoisington and co-head coach Dan Dearing, but would participate as their own team during competition. That all changed this year, when Morse athletic director Nathan Priest decided it was time for Morse to hire their own coaches and form their own program. 

Brunswick and Morse held the first of three scheduled indoor track and field meets on Friday in Topsham. Makeshift standing jumping “pits” were part of the norm. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Paige Gallagher, one of the two Morse coaches, was excited to see how the meet would unfold in an environment like the Dome.

“Everyone is excited and feels fortunate to have this opportunity,” said Gallagher, who was the lone coach representing Morse on Friday. “It’s definitely different, but I know the team will adapt like we have been all season.”

Like all athletic events being held this winter, masks were required to be worn at all times and spectators were prohibited.

Friday was the first of three scheduled meets between the two schools, all set to take place in Topsham.

“We learned some things from (Friday) that we will do better next week in terms of getting our ‘track’ ready, but overall, today was a huge success,” Hosington said. 

Comments are not available on this story.