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Well-rounded Leavitt just happy to be back in the fold this season

Springfield baseball coach Whitmire back at home after cancer scare

Apr. 22—Well-rounded teams with strong potential in all events means Leavitt coach Will Parkin is confident his Hornets should have a successful season.

“The boys on this team are all fierce competitors,” Parkin said. “Whether they are talented newcomers or returning upperclassmen, everyone gives it their all and pushes those around them. Having so many inconsistencies in the past year in terms of athletics has pushed them even harder, and they’re all ready to perform their best this season.”

Parkin said his girls team is also fortified with talent.

“The girls are a well-rounded team that has talent in all the event areas. We have great senior leadership that should help us do well throughout the season,” he said. “We have some very talented jumpers, throwers, sprinters and distance runners. We will be able to score in almost every event.”

BUCKFIELD BUCKS

It took time, but the Bucks went from a six-person squad to 16 and morphed into a complete team.

“We have a nice mix of seniors to lead the newcomers into our program,” Buckfield coach Annette Caldwell said. “We are new to the MVC and are looking forward to having a chase to compete in the conference.

“It feels special because everyone is feeling good about getting out and having a chance for some type of normalcy again.”

DIRIGO COUGARS

Depth is always a plus for any track team, including the Cougars boys team. Numbers are low on the girls side, but there is plenty of talent to go around this season.

“We have quite a few boys, and they cover the events pretty well,” Dirigo coach Dave Buck said. “We should have a good representation at the MVC meet, and if we’re deep enough, we could make some noise.”

Buck said the girls team is building.

“The numbers are low, but the kids are good athletes and should acquit themselves well,” he said. “There are a few top athletes joining us for the first time, whose skills should fit in nicely, and we’re also seeing some return for the first time in a couple of years.

“The kids have a really positive outlook and lots of desire to learn. They’ve been cooped up for so long. They really want to get out and have some fun and show what they can do.”

EDWARD LITTLE RED EDDIES

Like most teams, the Red Eddies experienced hunger pains after being denied a season last spring due to COVID-19.

“This season will look very different than past years,” EL coach Rebecca Hefty said. “Our team is led by a large group of senior girls that have been a part of the program since their freshmen year. Losing last spring season, our team took a hit with numbers this year.

“(The) most important aspect of this season is staying out of quarantine and taking the entire team to compete at meets.”

Hefty also has high hopes for the boys team, which also felt the sting of no competition.

“The boys team is led by a great group of seniors this year that will mentor and provide directions for the younger athletes,” she said. “Missing a season will affect the freshmen and sophomores this season and both groups will spend the season buying into the program.”

GRAY-NEW GLOUCESTER PATRIOTS

Strong senior leadership and a solid work ethic, coupled with talented boys and girls throwers, all adds up to a promising season for the Patriots.

“The (Western Maine Conference) will have small pods of schools compete over four meets,” Patriots coach Mike Griffin said. “G-NG will meet up with Freeport, Yarmouth, St Dom’s.”

LEWISTON BLUE DEVILS

Blue Devils coach Steve Virgilio knows his team is facing uncertainty with the coronavirus still hanging in the air, but he takes pride in his athletes’ dedication.

“It’s been two years since this team has competed outdoors — and the world is a different place,” he said. “The strength of this team lies in the commitment, character and courage of those who have stood by through the winter and spring seasons, remaining steadfast in their conviction and purpose.

“Whoever is still standing as a member of this team, is literally its strength. The team is far smaller than hoped or anticipated, but the magnitude of its strength may manifest beyond its small numbers.”

LISBON/OAK HILL

After a yearlong layoff, the Greyhounds will try to make up for lost time due to COVID-19 — and Lisbon is not alone.

“This is their first track meet for a lot of them,” longtime Lisbon coach Dean Hall said during a home meet Tuesday. “The problem is the senior class of 2020 didn’t have a season and so now there are a bunch of sophomores that are now seniors that were never given the opportunity to see how the program works.

“Now you have sophomores who become seniors and never were in the leadership role. A lot of track is repeating and seeing how you do things. It’s been a learning process. We just want to be competitive. We want them to be ready to go and get to that next level. That next level is always the hardest part because you can have a meet and you’re comfortable because you’re home, then go to a state meet and be uncomfortable and you have to be ready. Much like life, you have to be ready to adapt.”

MT. ABRAM ROADRUNNERS

Despite the heartache of missing an entire season, Mt. Abram coach James Danala said his Roadrunners are ready to go the distance.

“We are excited to be coming back into competition after a tough year of watching our seniors graduate without the chance to compete,” Danala said. “Obviously we will be feeling the loss of some very strong athletes, but we are looking forward to seeing the potential of some of those athletes — who were either very young in the sport or who have just now joined us to fill the roles of those who have graduated.

“I think everyone is going to feel the same that this is a year to test where we are and what we need to build on. They are looking forward to try and make up for lost time and step up to become leaders on the team and make the difference that can help elevate our group. We hope that everyone from all teams will stay healthy and be able to compete.”

MT. BLUE COUGARS

Cougars coach Kelley Cullenberg knows depth will be a problem this year, but she is grateful there is a season.

“We have lost a great deal of athletes on both teams due to graduation and the constraints of living in a world during a pandemic,” the longtime coach said. “This season, it appears that we will be a much smaller squad than usual. That being said, the team that we have is working very hard and improving daily. Our coaching staff is excited to see where we can take these kids!”

She and her staff are also encouraged by their athletes’ diligence and commitment.

“Mt. Blue athletes did not have the chance to compete in the fall,” Cullenberg said. “We are very excited to be given the opportunity to host meets and travel to other schools to participate in away meets, and will make the most of every single day knowing that at any time these opportunities could be taken away.”

MONMOUTH MUSTANGS

There are two concerns that coach Tom Menendez and his Mustangs are facing this season.

“With these small numbers, it’s imperative to avoid injuries and COVID-19 setbacks in order to be competitive at the end of the season,” Menendez said. “Although we are the smallest team ever, there is quality in almost every event. The newcomers bring an ability to cover every event and will be inserted into the event that will provide the team with depth at the meets. “

Veterans Jared Martin, TJ Lewis, Amaya Bauer, Alicen Burnham, Chloe Dwinal, Mya Sirois, Grace Vierling, Alexa Allen and Jacob Umberhind are expected to keep the Mustangs pointed in the right direction.

MOUNTAIN VALLEY FALCONS

Falcons coaches JT Taylor and Adam Curato will be relying on a handful of underclassmen to help Mountain Valley prosper this season.

“After missing out on last season, there are a lot of new faces to the Falcon boys track program,” Taylor said. “While we are light on upperclassmen, there is a lot of enthusiasm and potential with the incoming freshmen and sophomores. Our athletes should be able to compete in most events, with jumps and sprints being our strengths. We have a few surprise throwers this season that could compete in the conference championship.”

The girls team is also relying on the Falcons’ youth movement.

“I am excited to see the growth of the group of newcomers as they have been very active and engaged during practice,” Curato said. “Our leadership of Sophie Ladd, Meadow Wind and Sarah-Jane Koch will provide insight and understanding to this group of newcomers.

“Our depth level in the sprints, hurdles and jumps will be our strength this year. The blend of talented youth in combination with strong leadership (makes this team special).”

OXFORD HILLS VIKINGS

Vikings coaches Luc Roy and Nate Danforth are glimpsing the early stages of Oxford Hills’ competitive edge coming together.

“Our core track and field team for the 2021 season is shaping up to be competitive in many areas,” Roy said. “The team has been working hard to overcome the loss of the 2020 season. We have home meets on May 13 and are hosting the Agricultural Classic on May 21.”

POLAND KNIGHTS

Knights coaches Bonnie Robbins and Laurie Gaudreau don’t have a secret plan to get Poland ready after the long layoff.

“Our outlook is simple: Get our athletes back into their sport of choice and making sure they are ready to compete,” Gaudreau said. “With a focus on conditioning, form and specific drills for each event, we are excited to get back into the competitive arena.

“Our biggest strength is our dedicated athletes. We have some depth in a majority of our running and field events. The athletes are excited and highly motivated to get back to what they enjoy doing in their respective track and field events.”

TELSTAR REBELS

The Rebels’ key to overcoming a lack of depth might just be their desire to finally compete.

“The kids who came out this spring are raring to go after not having the opportunity last year,” Telstar coach Dave Leclerc said. “I have several good athletes who are very coachable and who are willing to work to improve.

“I hope to see both of my seniors compete at states and develop the young talent so that they too qualify for the postseason. My kids should grab a few individual places in each meet, but we lack the numbers to be a competitive team.”

WINTHROP RAMBLERS

Simply having a season is enough to motivate the Ramblers, who are short on numbers but long on enthusiasm.

“We are overjoyed to be back together as a team and training toward team and individual goals,” Winthrop coach Ed Van Tassel said. “We are looking to work hard and get better every day.

“The boys distance squad has the depth and talent to put up a lot of points this season and they are young, enthusiastic and hard-working, which should set the team up well for future seasons.”

About the author

Erin Clark

Erin is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional football matches. She is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. She currently caters her skills for the sports and health section of Report Door.