Over the last two winters, Brewer High School shot putter Austin Lufkin and Mount Desert Island distance runner Tia Tardy have made history in their respective events.
This season, Lufkin became the first shot putter in the history of the PVC-Eastern Maine Indoor Track League to break 60 feet, while Tardy became the league’s first schoolgirl miler to crack the illusive 5-minute barrier during the 2015-16 season.
On Saturday, both athletes will be looking to bring home gold medals from the New England Championships in their respective events as they and Maine’s best track athletes will compete with their New England brethren at Boston’s Reggie Lewis Center.
Tardy, the Class B state champion in the mile and the 800 meters, will be singling in the mile on Saturday and will compete at Reggie Lewis for the second time this winter after running in the New Balance Grand Prix Junior Mile in January.
Tardy is the fourth seed in a tightly-bunched field, having run 5 minutes, 4.95 seconds this year.
The top seed, Grace Connolly of Natick, Massachusetts, has clocked in at 5:03.92. Tardy’s all-time personal best is 4:55.23, which is also her EMITL record.
Lufkin is the favorite in the boys’ shot put by nearly six feet and is the only man in the field to have uncorked a throw beyond 60 feet this winter.
At the Class A state meet last month, Lufkin shattered a state record that was four decades old in unleashing a throw of 61-2.
He’ll have a shot at breaking the New England championship meet record, which stands at 62-2.75 and has held up since 2002.
Lufkin’s Brewer teammate, Jacob McCluskey, will have a great chance to medal as he is seeded sixth in the 36-man field.
Other local competitors to watch out for in the boys competition include Washington Academy of East Machias sprinter Michaiah Robinson, who will participate in both the 300 and 600-meter dashes.
Robinson will be in the mix to place in the 300 as he is seeded eighth. Griffin Maristany, who helped lead MDI to a Class B team championship, will also participate in the 300.
Messalonskee of Oakland junior Zach Hoyle is the top seed in the 1,000 meters, while Hampden Academy’s Paul Casavant is ranked seventh in the 2 mile and will have a shot at making the podium. George Stevens of Blue Hill’s John Hassett and Jacob Fandel of Orono are also in the 1,000-meter field.
MDI’s Noah Hutchinson will compete in the high jump and Messalonskee’s Tanner Burton in the 55 hurdles.
For the girls, Hampden shot putter Daija Misler joins Tardy as the only other EMITL athlete seeded among the top six in her event.
The two will be teammates at Bucknell University next season.
Misler, the Class A state champ in the shot put, is the third seed at 40-9, while top-ranked Brittany Jones of Connecticut has thrown 44-11.25 this year.
The long jump will feature two Eastern Maine athletes in Christie Woodside of Hampden and Olivia Damboise of Old Town, while Brewer’s Lia Johnson will compete in the 55-meter dash and Ashley Anderson of MDI in the 300 and 600 dashes.