Kennedy St. Pierre of Morse, front, and Addy Dolley of Brunswick run during the 1,600-meter race at a meet Saturday in Bath. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

BATH — It’s been a roller coaster of a ride for the Brunswick track and field program for the better part of two seasons. After a new facility was ready to open in spring 2020, the coronavirus pandemic halted high school sports.

Now, just 14 months later, the Dragons will help host the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship meets this week. The KVAC meet is scheduled for two different days in two different locations because of coronavirus safety measures. Teams will be divided based on school populations. 

“Our new facility is awesome, it will be really nice to use it at an event like this considering how last year went,” said Brunswick junior standout Kaeden Green after Brunswick’s final regular season track meet on Saturday. 

Messalonskee High School in Oakland will also host the KVAC championships. 

Though Brunswick and Mt. Ararat will compete on Saturday in the large-school portion of the KVAC meet, Morse will compete in the small-school meet.

Tristan Lavoie of Morse competes in the high jump at track and field meet Saturday in Bath. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“It was rough having the cross country state meet cancelled a week prior to the race,” Morse athlete Liam Scanlon said. “Having that in mind just gives me all the more reason to appreciate having the chance to race hard at a state-level race.”

The Shipbuilders on May 22 hosted their rivals Brunswick and Mt. Ararat in the final regular season meet at the McMann Complex in Bath. For many athletes, the goal on Saturday was to try different things while gearing up for the conference meets.

“I just wanted to get my confidence up and get a good time today,” said Mt. Ararat junior Nathaniel Smith, just after he won his heat in the 100-meter dash on Saturday. “We just need to finalize a few things and make sure we have the right mindset, if we do that we should be all good for what’s coming next.”

Added Green: “I’m testing to see where I could possibly put myself in a position to qualify in different events.” 

With different circumstances this season comes a different number of qualifying spots in both conference and state meets. At the KVAC meets, the top 16 athletes participate in lane events, with just 12 athletes in other events. Each event at the state meet will feature the top 24 athletes, compared to 32 in previous years.

Mt. Ararat sprinter Maddie Young competes during the 100-meter dash at a track and field meet Saturday in Bath. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“You just have to stay optimistic and keep the same goals in mind,” said Joey Valliere of Brunswick. “It’s tougher on everyone else to have less spots up for grabs, so I don’t necessarily think it’s something to worry about.”

Added Morse junior Kennedy St. Pierre: “This was a great opportunity to really push myself and see where I’m at in different events. … I think it’s going to be a lot more competitive, which pushes us as a team to push each other harder knowing in the back of our mind there’s less spots. I think it’s a good thing, and it should be a lot of fun.”

Brunswick standout distance runner Tyler Patterson said he isn’t worried about the difference in qualifying spots.

The field reductions shouldn’t have too much of an impact except for guys who are right on the edge of qualifying,” said Patterson, who will run at Cornell next fall. “For the KVAC meet especially, the biggest goal is to go for the team title.” 

On Saturday, the Mt. Ararat boys and Morse girls came away victorious. The Morse girls edged the Dragons by half a point. The Eagles dominated the boys side, topping second-place Brunswick by 47 points. 

“It’s awesome, it’s been a bumpy season but everything for us has gone well all things considered,” said Morse co-head coach Brent Luchies. “The postseason feeling is a sense of normalcy around this time of year, and you can see the excitement all around.”

“Now we get to the part of the season where the fun really begins,” added Luchies. 

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.