Competing against their New England brethren one last time, some of Eastern Maine’s finest senior track and field athletes put down some remarkable performances at the New England championships in Massachusetts on Saturday.
Those efforts were highlighted in the throwing events, where Pine Tree State athletes occupied the top three podium spots in the boys’ discus and shot put.
Leading Maine’s discus charge was Orono senior and Stanford University-bound Jake Koffman.
Koffman, the Class C state champion in the shot put and the discus, uncorked a throw of 190 feet, 1 inch to win the competition by more than six feet. He also claimed second in the shot put at 59 feet even.
Earning second was another Division I bound local athlete in Austin Lufkin, who will participate in track and football at Wofford College.
Lufkin threw 183-8 in the discus, and was also third in the shot put with a mark of 57-5.75.
It was another senior, Matt Brady of Biddeford, who took third in the discus and led Maine’s shot put contingent with a record-setting performance.
Brady threw 64-3.75 in setting a new meet record, besting the 64-2.25 that Dan Guiliani of South Portland established just two springs ago.
Hampden Academy distance runner Paul Casavant (Cornell) earned a podium spot in the 3,200 with a strong 9-minute, 14.76-second finish.
While Brady, Lufkin, Casavant and Koffman polished off their high school careers with outstanding performances, one of the top triple jumpers in the nation, Mattanawcook’s Cayden Spencer-Thompson, continued his remarkable sophomore campaign.
Spencer-Thompson placed second in the triple jump with a leap of 47-8.50, and he also wound up third in the long jump with a mark of 23-0.75. Both of those performances were seasonal-bests.
Spencer-Thompson’s cousin, Mount Desert Island distance runner Tia Tardy, closed her phenomenal high school career with a bang in the girls’ meet.
Tardy, who will attend Bucknell, ran to a strong fourth-place finish in the 800 meters, recording an all-time Maine best of 2:09.64.
Tardy also anchored MDI’s 4×800 relay, which posted the fastest time among Maine squads in running 9:41.74, good for an 11th-place effort.
Maine’s lone gold medalist in the girls’ meet came from Cheverus of Portland freshman Emma Gallant, who ran 24.81 to claim the 200 meter dash.
Elsewhere in the girls’ meet, Daija Misler of Hampden Academy, who will also compete for Bucknell, threw 38-4.75 to finish ninth in the girls’ shot put. Another local star who will compete at the Division I level, Orono distance runner Hannah Steelman, earned a personal-best in the 1,600 by running 5:02.76.
Steelman finished 11th in a very talented field and was first among her Maine contingent in the race.
Other highlights among other local athletes in the boys’ meet included Orono senior Jacob Fandel, who clocked in at 1:58.25 – a seasonal best – to place 20th in the 800.
Noah Hutchinson of MDI cleared 6 feet in the high jump to finish in a tie for ninth place.