USM’s Men and Women’s Indoor Track & Field team both placed fourth at the 2023 Maine State Championships. This marks the second year in a row that both teams ranked fourth at the state meet. The Husky teams traveled to Bates College for the meet on Feb. 5, in Lewiston, Maine.
The men earned 63 points as a team, fell to the Bates (205.5 pts), Bowdoin (185 pts), and Colby (149.5 pts) all of which belong to the the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Sophomore Jacob Jackson was the lone individual event winner, capturing the high jump state title with a clearance of 1.90m. By the end of the meet, the men’s team had seven top five finishes in individual events. Jackson also had a jump of 12.87m in the men’s triple jump to place third overall in the event.
The men had five other top five individual event finishes with senior Antoine Grace placing fourth in the 200 meter race, and junior Jack Pecoraro placing fifth in the men’s 800 meter run in the track events. In the field events, freshmen Christian Burke and Kaleb Janelle placed third and fifth behind Jacon Jackson’s first place finish.
Similarly to the men, the women’s team secured 104 points, also fell to the three NESCAC schools, Bowdoin (175.33 pts), Bates (162pts), and Colby (159.66pts). Ultimately, the women walked away with 11 top five finishes in individual events, with three of those resulting in three first place finishes. In the 400 meters, sophomore Anna Reny sprinted away with the title win, posting a time of 1:00.66, which also doubled as her best collegiate time in the event on record. The Huskies also earned two wins in the field events with junior Olivia Jalbert clearing her season best of 1.61 in the high jump, and sophomore Zoe Barnes throwing her collegiate PR of 12.52m to secure the win.
The women’s 4×200 meter- relay, composed of freshman Janiah Young, sophomore Anna Reny, sophomore Heaven Conley, and junior Catriona Gould, went on to win the state title with an incredible time of 1:45.53. The women finished the meet with all relays finishing in the top five with the 4×400 meter- relay finishing third (4:22.34) and the 4x 800 meter- relay finishing fourth with a time of 10:57.51.
Other noteworthy event placements for the Huskies on the women’s side include three-time LEC Rookie of the Week recipient, Vermont native Janiah Young. Young, who was a part of the winning Husky relay, would place second in the 200 meters (26.57). Young also placed sixth in the long jump (5.00m) with Olivia Jalbert having the Huskies farthest jump in the event of 5.11m to place third. Senior Sophia Slovenski placed second in the women’s pole vault with a team high of 3.60m. Husky freshman Autumn Gerry and Marie Prock placed third and fifth in the women’s high jump, with Gerry clearing 1.51m and Prock clearing 1.46m, respectively. Zoe Barnes, a top place finisher in the shop put, went on to place fourth in the weight throw with a toss of 13.56m.
After the meet, the Huskies were awarded multiple Little East Conference honors. On the men’s side, reigning indoor pole vault D3 National Champion, junior Ben Drummy earned LEC Field Athlete of the Week. The women won LEC Field Athlete of the Week (senior Sophia Slovenski), Track Rookie of the Week (freshman Janiah Young), and Relay of the Week for the 4×200 meter-relay (Young, Reny, Conley, and Gould).
Both USM’s Men and Women’s Indoor Track & Field teams are known for their greatness. On the women’s side winning 21 LEC championships in the last 24 years, falling short twice to Rhode Island College and once to the global pandemic, with their most recent being last year. The men, who are also familiar with winning, claimed 14 LEC championships in the same time span, their last championship win during the 2019 season.
Coach Rob Whitten joined the program in 2019 before being named head coach of the women’s program during the 2021 season. Fast forward a couple of seasons, and Coach Whitten now heads both programs with assistant coach Andrew Rose. While both inherited an already successful program, Whitten has made it a point with his athletes that there is always more to be achieved.
The Huskies continue to prepare for the 2023 LEC Indoor Track and Field Championship, which is fast approaching on February 18th, hosted by Plymouth State University.