For some high school track and field athletes, New England competition can be a bit anticlimactic, representing a final chance to compete on a big state against the best from the region.
But there will be a throng of Maine high school stars vying for podium spots in Saturday’s meet in Norwell, Massachusetts, among them a few local throwers who will be in contention for gold medals.
One of them is Brewer senior Austin Lufkin, the reigning meet champion in the shot put who also holds an indoor New England championship to his credit.
Lufkin, who broke the 60-foot barrier over the winter, is the top seed in the shot put while fellow Mainers Matt Brady of Biddeford and Jake Koffman of Orono occupy the second and third seeds.
Lufkin claimed the Class A state title last weekend with a heave of 59 feet, 4.50 inches.
Lufkin and Koffman will also be duking it out in the discus, where the Wofford College-bound Lufkin is the No. 1 seed, with Koffman right behind in second.
In fact, Maine boasts the top four seeds in the discus, with Jake McCluskey of Brewer and Brady also among the top four men.
While Lufkin’s state-meet throw of 175-2 bested the 173-6 heaved by Koffman, Koffman has thrown 191-11 this spring, so the future Stanford University thrower will have a chance to best the meet record of 190-2, which has stood up since 1979.
The boys’ meet features another top seed from Maine in Mattanawcook Academy sophomore Cayden Spencer-Thompson, who has blossomed into one of the nation’s top young jumpers.
Spencer-Thompson blew away the field at the Class C state meet, setting a state record at 47-3, while his 47-6.50 recorded in April is the best triple jump ever put down by a Maine athlete.
Spencer-Thompson’s 47-3 recorded last weekend goes into the books as the state record because state records can only be set in state-meet competition.
The Lynx’ sophomore will also compete in the long jump, where he is ranked seventh.
Spencer-Thompson’s cousin, MDI senior Tia Tardy, has a great chance to podium in a wide-open girls 800.
Tardy is ranked eighth at 2:14.76, but only five seconds separate her from No. 1 seed Kristine Schoffield of New Hampshire, who has run 2:09.30.
Tardy will also compete in the 4×800 relay.
The other local athlete who has a chance to podium in the girls’ meet is Daija Misler of Hampden, Tardy’s future Bucknell University teammate.
The Broncos’ senior, the Class A state champion in the shot put, throw 41-7.50 in earning first-place honors last weekend and is ranked third among New England competitors.
Orono senior Hannah Steelman, the Class C state champ in the 1,600 and 3,200, will be seeking personal-bests in both of those events while classmate Kassidy Dill will be looking for the same in the 800. Both Steelman and Dill are also expected to run on the Riots’ 4×800 relay.