Matt Charpentier throws the discus during practice at York High last week. Charpentier will try to break state records in the shot put and discus at the Class B championships in June. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

York High senior Matt Charpentier wants to eclipse state records in the shot put and discus at the Class B outdoor championships in June. Scarborough senior Adam Bendetson hopes to do the same in Class A in the 3,200 meters. 

Their goals are not unlike those of other top high school track and field athletes – except that Charpentier and Bendetson are aiming to break records that are more than 40 years old. Both already eclipsed those marks during the indoor season.

In track and field, the idea of erasing a record that has stood for more than 30 or 40 years is, to many, a more lustrous achievement than breaking a state record set in the past decade or so. And it’s become more common in recent years for longstanding state records to fall.

Records more than 30 years old have been broken in each of the last two indoor seasons and the last two outdoor seasons, such as in 2021, when Bonny Eagle’s Aidan Walcott erased a 31-year-old record in the 100 meters in Class A (while also breaking a 25-year-old record in the 200). Last June, Orono’s Ruth White eclipsed a 38-year-old Class C record in the 3,200. 

“My goal this season is to smash the shot put record that I was three-fourths of an inch away from last year, to blow it out of the water by three feet,” Charpentier said. “I want to leave my name in the record books for a long time. I want to make sure they’re not touched for a very long time.”

State records in Maine high school track and field can only be set at the state championship meets in Classes A, B and C, scheduled for June 3 this year. That’s just one day, one opportunity each year to break a record in a sport inherent with ever-changing variables, such as weather (like gusty winds or heat) or the need to compete in multiple events to help a team win a state title. 


George Mendros, the track and field coach at Thornton Academy for 30 years, said state records have been in greater jeopardy in recent years because today there are more talented athletes competing, and because more athletes specialize in track and field – or even in a single event.

“Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason as to why a record has held for 20 years or more. But in track and field in Maine, the depth (of talent) is definitely much better than it used to be. Today, what you once thought was an unreachable record will be broken three or four or five times,” Mendros said.

Mendros points to the 2023 New England indoor track and field championships, where three Maine boys made the podium in the long jump. In addition, more Maine high school athletes are going on to compete at top Division I programs than ever before, he said.

“Someone tweeted a photo the other day from the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina and there were four Division I athletes from Maine in it. You look at (the University of Connecticut), there are five kids from Maine competing there, and two of them have Big East Conference titles in their respective events: Travis Snyder in the pole vault and Matt Brady in the shot put,” Mendros said. 

Senior Adam Bendetson warms up on the Scarborough High track before going on a long-distance run off campus. Bendetson hopes to break the Class A state record in the 3,200 meters, a mark that has stood since 1982. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Among the 96 individual outdoor state records – 16 in each class for boys and girls – 23 are at least 25 years old, including the three records that Charpentier and Bendetson hope to better. 

This spring, other athletes could break state records that are not as old.


In Class A, Edward Little junior Makenna Drouin has come close to the girls’ 300 hurdle record of 44.67 seconds set in 2011, having run 44.95 last spring. In Class B, Miles Burr of Mount Desert Island could eclipse the boys’ 200 record of 22.22 set in 2007; he ran 22.41 last year to win the event. And in Class C, Orono’s Ruth White could improve her state record in the 3,200 – set last year when she crushed a 38-year-old record of 10:53.4 with her winning time of 10:46.38. 

Among the other records that have stood for at least a quarter century, only two are older than the Class B shot put record that Charpentier is seeking. Jim Dawson of Lawrence set the record of 59 feet, 1 3/4 inches in 1979. Charpentier also hopes to break the Class B discus record of 177-8, set in 1980 by Steve Mason of Lawrence.

Charpentier already took down a 43-year-old indoor record when he threw 56-6 1/4 to win the Class B title in 2022. He improved that record to 57-10 1/2 at this year’s indoor meet, then set a personal best of 59-8 3/4 at the New England championships.

Last year at the outdoor state meet, Charpentier threw 59-1 in the shot put and 162-11 in the discus to win both events. He then surpassed 170 feet in the discus at both the New England championships (170-5) and the New Balance Nationals (173-0).

“My progression in the discus has gone up 20 feet every season,” said Charpentier, who will compete for Bates College next year.

Charpentier said one reason why he has chance at the two records is because he is disciplined in his training. He practices more than four hours a day, a workout regime that includes stretching, working on his technique, lifting, and taking ice baths.


“Honestly, I was very proud of myself this indoor season because I was consistently beating my own (state) record,” Charpentier said. 

Bendetson also believes that the fact he doubled down on hard training this year after being diagnosed with anemia last spring has increased his chances of erasing the 41-year-old Class A record in the 3,200 meters.

That mark, 9:18.2 set by Tom Briggs of Cheverus in 1982, is well within Bendetson’s reach. While he ran 9:42.65 last year at the Class A outdoor meet to take third in the event, he ran 9:13.99 indoors in the 2-mile, which is slightly longer, to win the New England title. 

“I know I can run quicker. I’ve been getting stronger. I want to run 9-flat or in the sub-9 range. This is my last season of high school,” said Bendetson, who will compete at the University of Maine next year. “I think that makes it more special, the fact the record is 40 years old.”

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