For the majority of the last decade, the men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams have been a dominant force in the Little East and New England Alliance Conferences.
It wasn’t any different on Saturday as the two teams continued their dominance, both finishing first overall in the LEC/Alliance Championships held at the Costello Sports Complex in Gorham. The women’s team have won a tremendous 11 straight LEC/Alliance Championships, and the men’s team won their third championship in as many seasons.
On the women’s side, things got out to a fast start as they placed four runners in the top six of the 55-hurdles and scored a quick 22 points with a first place finish from freshman Lynn Fleming (Waterville). Sophomore Brooke Madden (Dedham) and senior Carly Dion (Biddeford) teamed up to finish second and third overall in the 800 meters scoring, 14 points combined. Dion also claimed fourth in the mile to complete a solid day on the track.
Sophomore Christina Massey (Winslow) continued her strong season in the long jump with a second place finish. Her classmate, sophomore Jen Durham (Doylestown, PA), launched a throw of 38 feet 4 inches to take third place in the shot put.
Junior Hannah Patterson (Londonderry, N.H.) notched second place in the weight throw with a 50-foot throw, and her teammate, senior Vanessa Baird (Dover-Foxcroft), grabbed fifth.
The men’s team got off to good starts in both the track and field events as well. Sophomore Ryan Storey (Cumberland) lead a talented high jump trio to second, sixth, and seventh place finishes to grab an early lead in points after one event.
Next came the 3,000 meters. USM runners held the first two spots for most of the race until the last 100 meters when a Westfield State runner and a Keene State runner stormed the backstretch to take over the first two spots, leaving sophomore Dylan “Pickles” Lajoie (McFalls) and junior John Vallo (Beacon, NY) in third and sixth place, respectively.
“I decided to go into my kick with 800 meters to go because I knew I wouldn’t have the speed to get him if I left it until 50 or so,” Lajoie said. “It was still a personal record by two seconds for me so I’m happy with it”
Junior Ben Manning (Jericho, VT) barely out-kicked a UMass Dartmouth runner at the finish line in the mile, and junior Tim Even (Stoneham) took third in the race after holding the lead for well over two laps.
Seniors Evan Davis (Fair Haven, VT) and Mason Shepard (Portland) took second and third place in the finals of the 55-meter hurdles. Scoring 18 total points in the 600 meters, seniors Corey Gobbi (Bradford, Mass.) and George Foster (Lewiston) represented USM well, claiming first and second place finishes. The school record in the weight throw was almost topped once again as senior Matt Harmon (Auburn) placed fifth in the event with a toss of 49 feet 4 inches.
Those who qualified will compete in the New England Division III Championships on Feb. 18 and 19.