FRYEBURG — Coach Kevin McDonald summed up the fortunes of the Fryeburg Academy boys’ and girls ‘ track teams after competing in the Class B State Championships at Morse High School in Bath, Maine, on Saturday perfectly, saying his squads “rocked it!”
The Fryeburg boys finished fifth overall, while the girls were eighth out of 41 teams.
“We loaded the bus at 7 a.m. with me behind the wheel,” McDonald said. “At 8 p.m., we unloaded the bus, with me behind the wheel. A long day but every second was worth it.”
Highlights on the day included senior Armel Maloji becoming the 200 meters state champion with a new PR and finished second in the 100 meters, breaking the school record, while teammate Jacob Adams, just a sophomore, broke the previously longest-standing school record in the long jump, which had been set by Steve Graustein in 1980.
Maloji beat many schools by himself, winning the 200 meters, finishing second in the 100-meter dash, placing fifth in the triple jump and anchored the 4X100-meter relay to a season-best time and a third-place finish overall.
“Armel just kept competing,” McDonald said, smiling. “From one event to another, this young man embodies a true athlete. Talent yes, work ethic yes, humble yes, team-first yes. A fine young man to say the least. It has been my pleasure to work with Armel this season and I am so happy to see him succeed at the end of his senior year.”
Maloji set a new PR and took hold of the school record in the 100-meter dash, finishing second in 11.24 seconds to Cole Martin, a senior at Belfast Area High School, who crossed the line in 11.21.
In the 200 meters, Maloji flew around the final turn to win going away in 23.03, while the runner-up finished in 23.44.
In the triple jump, won by Ellsworth senior Beck Denny with a leap of 42’, Maloji was fifth with a jump of 39’11”.
In the 4X100-meter relay, Adams, Jojo Jensen and Ricky DeMaria passed the baton to Maloji for the final leg and the Raiders posted their best time of the season, finishing in 45.78, good for third overall out of 20 teams. Mt. Desert Island won the race in 44.69, while Leavitt was second in 45.16.
In the long jump, Adams soared to this place with a jump of 21’10”. Junior Andrew Abelon of Belfast, won the event with a jump of 22’9.5”.
“Jacob was seeded and struggled early,” McDonald said “Jacob had tied the school record, held by Steve Graustien of 21’1.5” at Western Maine Conference Championships and was looking for a big jump. Jacob found that jump but left his left leg behind and that hurt the effort. He qualified for finals and that's where the jump came, 21’10” — a new school record and good for third place as only a sophomore. Wow! So happy for this young man. He has talent that has not even been tapped. He’s a very promising sprinter with a very bright future.”
Fryeburg’s 4X800-meter relay team of Arkie Baptista, Sam Johnson, Hogan Bemis and Luke Dupuis set a new PR while finishing 19th in 10:05.66. Mt. Desert Island won the event in 8:31.71.
“These young men got a taste of States and they all will be back next year,” said McDonald.
For the girls, sophomore Eliza Thorne competed in three events and did well in all three. She finished second in the 400 meters in 1:00.47, behind only Mt. Desert Island sophomore Callan Eason, 59.57.
“Eliza started the season with a 1:08.00 in the 400, and finished the season with a 1:00.47, good for second place at States,” said McDonald. “Only a sophomore, this young lady can rip it! Strong, solid and a focused athlete, we are so happy to have Eliza on the team. If Eliza sticks with track and field there is no limit to the success she will experience.”
Teammate Isabel Macht was eighth overall in the 400 in 1:02.64.
“The 400 meters was a very exciting race,” McDonald said. “Isabel took 2 seconds off her best time, only a couple of thousands of a second out of seventh. Only a freshman this girl can rock it. We are so excited for Isabel's future in track and field. Not only a talented athlete, she’s also an incredible young lady.”
Thorne finished eighth out of a field of 24 runners in the 200 meters, finishing in 27.58. Gardiner junior Alayna Blier won the race in 26.06.
the 4X400-meter relay team of Macht, Thorne, Livia DeVires and Alana Natuluk set a new PR while finishing ninth overall out of 23 schools in 4:27.40. Cony High School won the race by almost 5 seconds in 4:13.22.
Nataluk, only a junior, finished ninth out of 24 girls in the 1,600 meters in 5:41.07. The race was won by Cape Elizabeth freshman Hadley Mahoney in 5:20.22.
“Alana has been running very well and finished the season with a very nice race,” said McDonald.
Senior Sam Carus set a PR in finishing the 3,200 meters in 12:41.83, good for fourth overall out of a field of 17.
“When Sam Carus was entered with a best of 12:58.23 I felt there was a chance of a podium,” McDonald said. “Sam had a huge PR at our last meet but could not race at conference championships because of graduation. If Sam could race well the podium was in sight and boy did this young lady race. Sam hung tough with a group of four as the two leaders separated. With three laps to go, it was gut-check time and Sam hung in there. She held her pace and things started to look good. She ran just an unbelievable race. This young lady never broke — she stayed in the race and worked it all the way to the finish. I am so proud of Sam. A smile broke on her face that would have gone all the way around her head if she did not have ears. Yahoo!”
Track is a team sport and McDonald praised his assistants.
“I must congratulate the assistant coaches Trevor and Corinn Hope,” he said. “This season would not have been near as successful without these two. To say that I appreciate these two would be an understatement. These young coaches are the future of the sport and I am so grateful to have them on board.”