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When it comes to state titles, Lions have four of a kind

posted Mar 18, 2020, 5:01 AM by Christine Guerette
Duso, Frazee, Martin, Robertson-McIntire demonstrate lightning speed, impressive ups
By Mark Haskell | Mar 14, 2020

Photo by: Mark Haskell
From left, Belfast's Lia Frazee, Jon Duso, Junne Robertson-McIntire and Cole Martin.

BELFAST — For the Belfast Area High School indoor track team, good things came in fours.

This winter, as usual, the teams strode or leapt their way to topnotch seasons — an annual rite of passage for Lion squads over the years — and were led by a quartet of student-athletes who proved a cut above the rest in their events of choice statewide and also earned the right to compete against New England’s finest.

Seniors Junne Robertson-McIntire and Jon Duso, junior Cole Martin and sophomore Lia Frazee emerged from their frays to collect individual titles at the state Class B championship meet on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Bates College in Lewiston.

Robertson-McIntire — the 2018-19 Courier Publications/VillageSoup schoolgirl athlete of the year — and Martin secured state crowns in 55 meters. Not only did Robertson-McIntire beat 19 other runners and Martin 21 other competitors to win the crowns, but were school records in the events.

In addition to the 55 meters, Robertson-McIntire also has school records in the 200 meters and 4x200-meter relay for indoor, and the 100 meters, 200 meters, 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays for outdoor.

While Robertson-McIntire and Martin proved fleet afoot in their events, Frazee and Duso had extra bounce in their steps as Frazee claimed the state crown in the high jump and Duso in the long jump.

Those performances — along with other strong performances from teammates — helped the Lion boys finish fourth as a team and the girls seventh. The Lion boys also prowled to a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title the previous week and the girls a third-place finish in that league event.

Martin said, “The school record was also a great feeling that I have been waiting for all year.”

“This was definitely one of my most exciting highlights of my career,” said Martin, who clocked in at a lightning-quick 6.67 seconds. “I knew it was my fastest time and the satisfaction of finally achieving my first major milestone was like no other feeling. This was my first state championship but I am going to make sure it is not my last.”

Robertson-McIntire, who also wrestled for the Lions this season, was extra motivated for a topnotch finish at this year’s event. Last year, she was nursing an ankle fracture and a 102-degree fever prior to the event and still managed to finish second and third in the 55 and 200 meters, respectively.

This year, she clocked in with a time of 7.36 to win the state 55 meters crown, which she called an “awesome” feeling.

Frazee used that same adjective to describe her first state crown, which she won with a jump of five feet and four inches.

“Starting the event that day there were quite a few other competitors,” said Frazee. “Some new girls, but most of them I had competed against in past meets. As the bar got higher, many girls got out until it narrowed to just me and one other girl, which happened to be the girl who had beat me by an inch at the state meet last year. With the bar raised to 5-4 my first two jumps were unlucky, but I was just able to make it over on my last.”

Like Frazee, Duso clinched the state title with his final long jump of 20 feet and five inches, which proved just enough to edge Ellsworth’s Beck Denny.

“All 16 kids that make long jump get three jumps in the prelims and then I believe the top eight jump during finals,” he said. “My winning jump was actually the last jump that I had and I managed to jump three quarters of an inch further than Beck's best jump.”

“I've been working super hard for the last couple years just to make finals and get a spot on the podium,” he said. “So winning definitely gives me the best feeling in the world.”

By virtue of their state championship victories, the quality quartet were able to compete at the 33rd annual New England Interscholastic Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston, Mass.

For Martin and Duso, it was their first foray in the event, while for Robertson-McIntire and Frazee, it was their second time.

As a sophomore, Robertson-McIntire competed in the 55 meters, 300 meters and as the fourth leg of the 4x200-meter relay team; while as a freshman, Frazee also qualified in the high jump.

At this year’s New England competition, Duso had the top finish of the quartet with a ninth-place finish in the long jump among 29 participants with a jump of 23-7.5.

Robertson-McIntire finished 15th (7.52) in the 55-meter girls race, Martin 27th (6.81) in the 55-meter boys race and Frazee 16th in the high jump at 5-1.

All four were impressed with the level of competition.

“New Englands was a great experience for me getting my first look at some of the best athletes in the country,” said Martin. “And seeing that I can compete with them was a great feeling and a very important first step to success in the future. I did not have my best performance most likely because of my mindset going in but going there this year gets me ready, and I learned what to do and what not to do next year where I plan to be much more successful.”

“New England’s was very fun, but I didn't have the best jumping day,” said Frazee. “Competition there was much harder than I expected it to be. I’m very excited to work harder and see how I place in the next few years.”

“New England’s is always a great experience,” said Robertson-McIntire. “It’s very fun to watch the amazing performances there.”

“The New England meet was quite the experience,” said Duso. “There were many good athletes that I had to compete against in long jump.”

Robertson-McIntire and Duso, as seniors, have one more chance in outdoor track to make another mark at BAHS. For Martin and Frazee, the bar seems to have been set — as has Martin’s mindset — for more successes down the road.

“Although these are both very exciting, I was not satisfied and am still not satisfied with my overall year,” Martin said. “If I am going to be as good as I know I can be I need to improve a lot more in the offseason and not ever be satisfied. Winning states is just the beginning for me.”