The third-place finish in the boys two-mile run turned in by Ellsworth’s Dan Curts at last weekend’s New England Interscholastic Track and Field Championships was one of five top-five finishes by Maine competitors at the meet.

Among the other top Maine performers, Brewer senior Synclaire Tasker finished third in the girls 55-meter hurdles in 8.48 seconds, while Ellsworth senior Aleta Looker finished third in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 54.71 seconds.

Tasker’s victory was a vindication of sorts after a second-place finish in the 55 hurdles at the Class A state meet, where a subpar start and approach to the first hurdle doomed her chances for victory. She also won the 200 dash and finished second in the long jump at states.

Looker, who had won both the 800 and one-mile races at the Class B state championships, was paced to her strong finish at the New Englands by race winner Maggie Berkson, a senior from Classical High School of Providence, R.I., who broke her own meet record from 2013 with 2:49.29.

Tori Daigle of Saco’s Thornton Academy finished fifth in the girls long jump (17 feet, 3 inches). Will Shafer of Gray-New Gloucester was fifth in the boys mile in 4:20.31, and Ben Trapani of Camden Hills of Rockport was 10th in the same event in 4:24.09.

Clukey to MPA conference

Former Olympic luger Julia Clukey of Augusta will be the keynote speaker for the 15th annual “Mentoring Women in Sports Conference” to be held next Tuesday at the Maine Principals’ Association Conference Center in Augusta.

The event is designed to assist coaches in improving their skills as they work with female athletes and to remain knowledgeable of the latest issues in high school athletics.

Clukey represented the United States in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, and she missed a second Olympic berth by 0.13 seconds earlier this year.

Since 2012, she’s also hosted Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls on Maranacook Lake in Readfield. The 10-day summer camp for girls ages 8-11 is a collaboration with the Kennebec Valley YMCA that provides youngsters a place to develop self-confidence and a healthy lifestyle through activities such as swimming, kayaking, hiking, theater and music.

Clukey serves as a presenter for the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association’s responsibility initiative that includes speaking to high school students around the state about the importance of good decision-making.

Other speakers at the Maine Principals’ Association event will include WLBZ-2 television sports anchor Jessica Gagne and Meredith Bickford, assistant athletic director for student development at the University of Southern Maine, both former high school athletes who will share their journeys into male-dominated professions.

Attendees will hear from Todd Sampson, athletic administrator at Mt. Ararat High School of Topsham, on “Promoting Today’s Athletes While Encouraging a Balance in Life,” as well as a panel of area coaches who will share their thoughts and experiences in coaching young female athletes.

The conference is open to coaches of all levels and youth through high school. For a conference registration brochure, visit the Maine Principals’ Association website at

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...