LEWISTON — Senior Ryan Bender helped propel the Mount Desert Island High School indoor track team to a third-place finish in the Class B indoor meet at Bates College on Saturday, Feb. 13. The Trojan girls finished 11th of 28 teams.
“Being that high up there in the state means a lot to me,” MDI Coach Brad Witham said. “Southern Maine has more opportunities for track, and those teams have been tough to compete against. But I’m happy with the placement.”
Bender won the 400-meter with a time of 51.64 seconds as well as the 200-meter dash in 23 seconds. He placed second in the 55-meter dash with 6.71 seconds.
Bender scored 29 of the 33 points from the individual track events, which according to Witham, was a major factor in their third-place finish. “He is our star athlete. We decided for him to concentrate more on the individual events, just because there are more point opportunities in those versus the relays. He’s been flexible to run whichever event I’ve needed him,” added Witham. “I’m just impressed that his overall athleticism has increased this year.”
Chance Closson, Giovanni McKenzie, Josh Bloom and Jose Chumbe were 12th in the 4×200-meter relay with 1:43.43.
Bloom was seventh in the 800-meter run with 2:12.51, and Chumbe took 11th with 2:16.83.
In the shot put, sophomore Croix Albee was third with a toss of 46 feet. Evan Jeanotte was sixth with a throw of 41 feet, 5.5 inches, and Micah Hallett was 13th with a distance of 35 feet, 10.5 inches.
Chumbe placed seventh in long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 1.5 inches. McKenzie was 12th in triple jump with a distance of 35 feet, 1.75 inches.
On the girls’ side, sophomore Ashley Anderson was the runner-up in the 200-meter dash with her time of 27.17 seconds. Anderson placed fourth in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.65 seconds and fifth in the 400-meter dash with a 1:03.31.
“In her junior and senior years, [Anderson] could be one of those people who are a top performer in the state across the board,” said Witham. “That’s what I’m looking forward to for her – a strong point placement.”
The relay team of Allyson Bender, Sydney Kachmar, McKenzie Hanna and Adriana Novella was 13th in the 4×200-meter relay with a time of 1:59.83.
Hanna took 10th place in shot put with her throw of 30 feet, 8.75 inches. Riley Mooers was 13th with a toss of 29 feet, one-half inch. Dorothy LeMoine was 15th with a distance of 28 feet, 7 inches.
Although Witham considers sprinting to be the team’s specialty, he prefers to picture his squad as well rounded. “It’s good to see points coming in from shot put as well; it is an equally important part in overall point scoring.”
Overall, said Witham, “it’s been a wonderful season,” albeit a little different because of the number of “younger people on the team.”
This year, he focused on building the overall athleticism of the younger players and for the experienced members of his squad, his goal was on “being competitive and scoring more points.”
Team members set individual goals as well.
Anderson set out to achieve the honor of being the Performer of the Meet this season, a target she was able to fulfill at the PVC meet.
“Everyone works at a different level, and everyone’s progression is different,” said Witham. For him, a collective goal has been to “getting everyone on the same level.” That has worked in their favor in relay events.
“It’s really about everyone succeeding on the same level, versus everyone succeeding individually,” he said. “I think everyone’s personalities need to mesh well, otherwise it’s sort of power heavy on one side.”