After a strong showing at the 2017 Maine State Intercollegiate Championships this past weekend, Southern Maine indoor track and field will look to add another collection of trophies this weekend as the host institution of the 2017 Little East Conference/New England Alliance Indoor Track and Field Championship this Saturday (11:00 a.m.) at the Costello Sports Complex on the Gorham campus of the University of Southern Maine.
The Huskies' men's indoor track and field team, the two-time defending Little East Conference champions, will look to make it three in a row, and seventh in the last nine seasons. Coming off of strong individual performances last weekend, junior Ron Helderman (Madison, Maine), sophomore Hany Ramadan (Lewiston, Maine) and rookie Jared Marshall (Gloucester, Mass.) will look to lead the Huskies' as they build momentum heading into the conference championship meet.
Helderman is fresh off of a win in the pole vault at the Maine State Championship, clearing a height of 14-11, while Ramadan flashed his speed winning the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.74. Marshall, the three-time LEC Rookie Track Athlete of the Week, continued his outstanding performances in the oval claiming victory in 60-meter dash (7.04) and finishing as the runner-up in the 200 (22.25).
In 2016, Southern Maine claimed the LEC title with a 90-point margin, and will continue to look for ways to score points and win events. The Huskies' 4 x 400 relay team of Marshall, Ramadan, junior Justin Pierce (Standish, Maine), and senior Roger Charest (Auburn, Maine) has had tremendous success this season, and were ranked 10th in the NCAA Division III performance list in late January. The Huskies will also be looking to add points in the throwing events with new edition freshman Ben Carey (Middleboro, Mass.) in the mix. Carey has had a strong rookie campaign winning the shot put at the Reggie Poyau Invitational (January 14), USM Invitiational II (1/7/17) and the USM Open (12/10/16) and was named the LEC Field Rookie of the Week in December. Husky senior Connor Harris (Auburn, Maine/Edward Little) is having a strong season in the jumping events consistently placing in the long jump and triple jump in multiple events this season.
With strong performers in nearly every category, the Huskies' will be in contention for another LEC title and go head-to-head with the tough competition in the Little East.
The defending Little East Conference champions since 2001, the Huskies' women's indoor track and field team is in search of its 17th consecutive title, adding to one of the longest running dynasties in Division III Athletics. While the graduation of four-time All-American and National Champion (pentathlon) Peyton Dostie and multiple NCAA Championship qualifier Nicole Kirk has changed the make-up of the Huskies' roster, their talent and depth has not. With key performers emerging and newcomers making significant contributions, the Huskies' remain favorites to add another year to their banner. In four scored team meets, Southern Maine has shown its talent and depth and has not finished work than second.
With outstanding individual performances, numerous Huskies' have received weekly accolades from the Little East Conference office. Leading the way is four-time Little East Conference Field Athlete of the Week senior Molly Gibeault (Brooklyn, Conn.). Gilbeault recently won the pole vault at the 2017 Maine State Intercollegiate Championship, the first state title of her career, by setting a new meet record of 3.65 meters (11-11 ¾). Poised for selection to the 2017 NCAA National Championship, Gibeault is presently ranked No. 1 in New England in her event. A pair of Gibeault's teammates freshmen Katie Ferrara (Auburn, Maine) and Allison Pickering (Orono, Maine) are also in the top 20 of the region hopefully assuring the Huskies' of significant points in the event.
In her second season with the Huskies, senior Neka Dias (San Antonio, Texas) has been turning in strong performances this season. At the Maine State Championship, Dias won the 55-meter dash in 7.42 seconds, and then went on to establish a USM record in the 55-hurdles with a time of 8.29 seconds to place second. Dias' dash time moved her up to eighth, while her hurdles time moved her into second in the lasts New England Division III performance list.
Freshman Adela Kalilwa (Lewiston, Maine), also a member of the Huskies' women's soccer team, has made an immediate impact in her first season and has twice been named the LEC Rookie Field Athlete of the Week and has earned Rookie Track Athlete of the Week. A versatile student-athlete, Kalilwa has also been a member of several Relay Team of the Week honors for USM. At the Maine State Championship, Kalilwa posted top-three finishes in the long jump and triple jump. She finished third in the long jump with a season-best jump of 5.26 meters (17-31/4), and was second in the triple jump with a mark of 11.13 meters (36-6 ¼). Kalilwa's long jump distance moved her to tie for 14th on the latest New England Division III performance list.
The Huskies' 4 x 200 relay team is also coming off of a successful week, earning conference weekly recognition. Comprised of freshman Jhanel Potts (Boston, Mass.), senior Liz O'Neal (Brunswick, Maine), sophomore Penny Maimone (Stoneham, Mass.) and sophomore Heather Kendall (Lewiston, Maine), the Huskies' raced their way to their fastest time of the season, 1:45.75, to finish second. They are presently ranked third on the latest New England Division III performance list.
With a strong group of veterans and talented freshman, Huskies' women's track and field will look to lead the pack at the championship meet.