Senior Adam Bendetson was a key reason why the Scarborough High boys won the 2023 Class A indoor track championship, winning the 2-mile and placing fourth in the mile. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

SCARBOROUGH — You could say Adam Bendetson was short-changed during his high school running career. Competition during his sophomore indoor track season in 2021 was canceled because of the pandemic, and then he struggled with health issues during much of his junior year.

Bendetson more than made up for it this winter as a senior.

Wanting to do all he could to help Scarborough High capture its seventh-straight Class A indoor track state title, Bendetson won the 2-mile and finished fourth in the mile to lift Scarborough to a 22-point victory in what many expected to be a close meet. Then, with no experience at the New England championships, Bendetson was seeded ninth in the 2-mile but ran a textbook strategic race to pull out the victory in 9 minutes, 13.99 seconds and become a New England champion.

“I realized with two laps to go that the final stretch was the best way to win it. I felt strong. I felt I had more speed. If I was able to win it, it would be that last 100 meters,” Bendetson said. “When I did, it was a huge moment for me, to win New Englands, to pull it off at the end and win it at the end of the race. It felt so incredible. It felt so surreal.”

For both his performance at the New England meet and in helping to lead the Red Storm to the state title, Bendetson is the 2023 Varsity Maine boys’ indoor track Athlete of the Year.

He had competition for the award. Two other athletes were runner-up in their events at the New England meet and won two events at the state championships: Skowhegan junior Billy Albertson in the jumps and Mt. Desert Island junior Miles Burr in the sprints. In addition, Reece Perry of Freeport broke a 37-year-old record in the pole vault at the Class B state meet.


Despite lost seasons and a lack of experience, Bendetson made the most of the time he had, trusted the depth of his talent, and won a regional title only a handful of Mainers have achieved. He suffered setbacks as a junior until he was diagnosed with anemia.

“My junior year cross country and indoor (track) didn’t go as well as expected. I was more tired than I should have been. Once we figured (my anemia) out, I felt really good and I was able to improve. Once I started taking iron supplements, I started feeling good pretty quickly,” Bendetson said.

This winter, Bendetson was focused on dropping his time in the 2-mile, but winning the state team title was his primary goal.

Two weeks after the state meet, Bendetson lowered his personal-best in the 2-mile by six seconds at the New England meet. He went through the first mile in what had been his best time in that event a year earlier.

“We always knew he had the ability, but now his workouts are a whole different story,” said Scarborough  Coach Derek Veilleux. “His fastest mile last year was 4:45. Now he’s running faster than that for 2 miles in a race. He’s literally running two 4:36s back to back.”

Twice this winter, Bendetson ran times in the 2-mile that were faster than the Class A state record (9:20.99), which can only be broken during the state meet. He won the 2-mile state title at the University of Southern Maine in 9:31.52, more than 20 seconds ahead of the runner-up.

Veilleux said Bendetson has an extraordinary ability to withstand pain, and he’s grown stronger through harder workouts.

Between last outdoor season – after Bendetson started taking iron supplements for anemia – and this indoor season, Bendetson has developed into a longer, more fluid stride, which helps conserve energy. His newfound strength has allowed him to use his arms more – a tremendous aid when pushing the pace.

“The dream is to run under 9 minutes. That’s a pretty crazy goal, but when someone believes they can do something, it helps a lot. Adam is confident. He just needs the right race and the right day,” Veilleux said. “Adam is very intelligent. He has the ability to push himself to a level most don’t. I think that really benefits him. He’s not afraid. He’s not afraid of the pain.”

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