ORONO – The truly frightening part about Louie Luchini’s latest record run wasn’t the fact that the Ellsworth distance ace erased an Eastern Maine Indoor Track League standard that had withstood the test of 21 years of challenges.
It wasn’t that the 5-foot-4 junior scalded the University of Maine track for seven-plus laps and lopped a gaudy 2.4 seconds off one of the league’s oldest marks at the magical mile distance.
It wasn’t even that he did it while having company – from a couple of brave souls who would finish more than 40 seconds behind him – for barely a quarter of the way.
Nor that he followed up that race with another league mark at an 800-meter distance (2:01.70) that has been contested for all of two weeks.
The truly chilling part of Luchini’s 4:18.9 was that he ran a mile faster than either existing indoor state meet record so early in the season that some athletes are still trying to learn which end of the vaulting pole to grab onto.
And he did it without any speedwork at all.
In other words, just wait ’til he gets in shape. Gulp.
Next up: Gerry Clapper’s 1979 two-mile standard of 9:31.8, sometime in the next few weeks.
“I’m real pleased with where he is at this point,” Ellsworth coach Andy Beardsley admitted. “He’s been doing more strength, hills, and no real sharpening speed[work], because state meet’s what, six weeks away?”
The Bangor boys won their half of the split meet with 105 points behind the two-win effort of Matt Soucie (60, long jump). Ellsworth and resurgent Bucksport tied for second with 85, while Hampden scored 77. Belfast (22) and John Bapst (20) rounded out the pack.
In the girls meet, Hampden received three wins from sophomore speedster Danielle McCabe and turned that into a 117-99 victory over Bangor. Ellsworth tallied 89 1/2 and Bucksport had 56 1/2, while Belfast and John Bapst scored 16 apiece.
The story of the day was Luchini, though it nearly wasn’t. A finish-line mixup meant his mile mark wasn’t captured by the automatic timer, but two coaches offered identical clockings from their watches.
The coaches’ times were accepted in part because Luchini’s time was so far superior to the 4:21.3 turned in by Orono’s Steve Dexter in 1976 and matched by Mattanawcook Academy’s Sam Wilbur in 1990.
Luchini, who finished 11th at the FootLocker national cross country championships, said he was surprised to run so fast early in the year because of the differences between 3-mile outdoor races and shorter indoor contests.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going too slow or too fast or what,” Luchini said. “It’s hard to tell coming from cross country. It’s a different race pace and everything.”
In the girls meet, the Broncos were missing two top scorers who had family obligations over the holidays, but still had enough to outdistance the Rams.
Sophomore McCabe was the catalyst, winning the 60 (7.93), 200 (28.31) and 400 (1:04.18). McCabe was pleased with two of her races, but admitted she’s still getting used to the new 400-meter distance.
“I started out too slow, and after a lap [coach Dave] King told me that I had to go faster,” she said. “It was too late.”
Hampden also got wins from Amanda Burrill in the triple jump and Jen Fraunhofer in the pole vault.
King was pleased by a Broncos performance that proves they’re among the top teams in the league.
“I feel that in the girls [championship] meet, Brewer is probably going to outmatch people,” King said. “And it’s going to be a dogfight after that.”