Lessons learned at N.E. track finals

STRONG FINAL SHOWING — Members of the Fryeburg Academy track and field team — left to right, Jamie Gullikson, Laura Pulito, Sage Hennessy, Christina DiPietro and Corinn Bedell — made a strong showing at the New England Championships held last Saturday in Vermont.

BURLINGTON, VT. — Facing some nationally-ranked athletes, the Fryeburg Academy girls gained some valuable experience at the New England Track & Field Championships held last Saturday in Burlington, Vt.

The Fryeburg girls competed against the best athletes from schools in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The weather for the day began on a gray and chilly note and went downhill from there to a slow cold rain. Yet, the track was an all-weather track and the competition continued.

Sophomore Jamie Gullikson had the first event of the day in the pole vault at 10 a.m. This event is the only rain sensitive event, and the start was postponed several times.

Finally at 1 p.m., the event began. Unfortunately, many girls were unable to clear the opening height of 9 feet due to the long layoffs and loss of rhythm. Jamie was among these, but she is sure to return next year and crack the 10-foot barrier.

Next up was the 400 meters. Junior Sage Hennessy learned an important lesson about not getting a good warm-up before the race and ran 27th out of 34 girls competing with a time of 61.04.

Junior Corinn Bedell ran a great race, beating her own school record with a blistering time of 59.06 to finish 14th overall. She also beat Kristen Saulter of Hermon, who had outrun her the previous week at the Maine State Meet.

Precious Holmes from Connecticut, who is ranked Number 2 in the entire USA, won the race in a time of 55.42. The 4x400 relay team made up of Sage Hennessy, junior Laura Pulito, sophomore Christina DiPietro and Corinn Bedell had a fine race.

Sage learned her lesson about getting a good warm-up and ran a super fast sub 60 to handoff to Laura with the lead. Laura ran tough and gave the baton to Christina who dug in and held the team in a solid fourth. Corinn received the baton for the final lap and made a great surge to fly past Class A Cheverus of Portland and two other schools with a team finish of second in their eight-team heat with a time of 4:16.46.

“It was a great day for the Fryeburg Track & Field girls and they gained valuable experience at a ‘big time meet’ which should serve them well next year as they all return,” FA Coach Bill Reilly said.

A final note: Coach Reilly is calling all girls, all abilities to join the Raider track team next year. A new track surface awaits at FA, and Coach Reilly is hopeful a strong field of girls will take advantage of the upgrade.

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