MDI’s Tardy, Brewer’s Lufkin shine at New England track championships

Tia Tardy and Austin Lufkin certainly did the PVC-Eastern Maine Indoor Track League proud on Saturday.

The Mount Desert Island distance runner and the Brewer shot putter enjoyed two of the best performances of the winter at the New England Track and Field championships in Boston, and Tardy qualified for the national championship meet in the process.

The Witches’ senior was victorious in the boys shot put in convincing fashion, while the Trojans’ senior used her outstanding finishing speed to earn a second-place medal in the girls’ mile.

Lufkin’s winning throw was 61 feet, 9.50 inches while Tardy was timed in 4 minutes, 57.18 seconds.

Tardy’s mile effort qualifies her for next weekend’s New Balance Indoor National Championships in New York City.

She will run both the mile and the 800.

“I am really happy with how [Saturday’s] race went,” Tardy said Saturday night. “It really sets me up nicely for next weekend.”

Tardy was able to overcome a somewhat shaky start, as she found herself boxed in at the gun, but managed to work her way back to the front of the pack by the end of the first lap.

Tardy led for much of the race and was in third place at the bell lap, but was able to kick past Connecticut’s Mia Nahom in the final 25 meters.

Nikki Merrill of Rhode Island won the race in 4:56.09.

“I am really happy with it,” Tardy said of her silver-medal effort.

Lufkin was the top seed heading into the shot put, and the Class A state champ showed why.

Lufkin’s winning throw came on his first toss of the competition, and runner-up Manny Teo of Massachusetts was more than eight feet behind Lufkin (53-3.25).

That caps off what has been an outstanding record-breaking season for Lufkin, which saw him become the first schoolboy in EMITL history to break 60 feet in the shot put and break a Class A state record in the event that had stood since 1977.

Lufkin’s Brewer teammate, Jacob McCluskey, also earned a top-10 finish, throwing 49-6 to finish 9th in the 28-man field.

Elsewhere in the boys’ meet, Washington Academy of East Machias sprinter Michaiah Robinson earned a podium spot in the 300 meters, running 35.63 to finish sixth. He was also 10th in the 600, clocking in at 1:24.34.

Hampden senior Paul Casavant ran 9:31.88 to finish 12th in the 2-mile while Orono’s Jacob Fandel and George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill’s John Hassett were 12th and 20th in the 1,000, respectively.

Messalonskee of Oakland hurdler Tanner Burton ran 7.76 in the 55 hurdles to finish third while MDI’s Noah Hutchinson earned eighth place in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 1 inch.

For the girls, Tardy was the lone Eastern Maine runner to make the medal stand, but Christie Woodside of Hampden and Oliviah Damboise of Old Town were 19th and 22nd, respectively, in the long jump.

Daija Misler of Hampden, who will be teammates with Tardy at Bucknell next year, finished a solid eighth in the shot put, throwing 39-4.

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.