McGonagle hauls way to record-setting 6,000 cratesOwls Head youngster breaks previous mark of 4,501 crates
Rockland — Fast feet, tremendous balance, incredible stamina and a never-quit attitude was all Connor McGonagle needed Sunday afternoon, Aug. 5 to set a new, perhaps unbeatable, standard in the Maine Lobster Festival's Great Crate Race, a popular activity during the five-day, 65th annual festival on the city's waterfront.
The 12-year-old Owls Head resident not only surpassed the previous record for crossing the wooden lobster crates, he smashed it to smithereens.
McGonagle is one of the Midcoast's finest all-around young athletes, whose main sports are wrestling, baseball and football. In fact, the skills he uses on the mat and on the gridiron, namely quickness, strength and stamina, served him well as he crossed crate after crate, to the amazement of the nearly 3,000 spectators, a record, who witnessed the popular event.
McGonagle finished by racing across 6,000 crates, which beat the previous record of 4,501 set by Andrew Bachiochi of Stafford Springs, Conn. in 2008. McGonagle broke the record wearing his New England Patriots' socks.
McGonagle also brings the record for the Midcoast-invented activity back to the area. Prior to Bachiochi holding the mark, the late Susan Lundquist, a local youngster, held the mark of 3,007 for decades.
McGonagle, a champion wrestler and a national competitor in the sport, participated in the lightweight class, for those 76 and 125 pounds. The event runner-up was McGonagle's friend, Duncan Widdecombe, 10, of South Thomaston, a featherweight who ended with an impressive 2,000 crates.
After completing 500 each earlier in the competition, McGonagle and Widdecombe were given a break, before returning for a showdown at the end of the competition.
Remarkably, as a warm-up act, McGonagle also won the children's one-mile fun run down Main Street in Rockland Sunday morning.
There were about 100 participants, most of whom ultimately ended up taking a dip in the 63-degree waters of Rockland Harbor on an overcast, but humid day.
The task for the contestants was to jump off a slippery dock and traverse 50 lobster crates strung together and tied to another dock about 150 feet away. And repeat.
The event was sponsored by Cy and Alex Knight.
Bachiochi, then age 15 and heavier, returned last year and crossed several hundred crates and was the overall winner.
Smaller, lighter in weight and tremendous quickness — combined with stamina — are the key ingredients for success on crossing the tops of the crates. That is why the older, heavier competitors struggle getting across the crates — namely, because any significant weight makes the traps sink.
The challenge was to scamper across the string of 50 floating, wood lobster crates. As the official Maine Lobster Festival program states, "Lobster crate racing requires speed, quick feet, balance and, above all else, the ability to withstand a dunking in the chilly Maine waters, since most competitors do end up in the drink."
Inevitably exhaustion takes over and the water wins.
On Sunday, participants ran with bare feet, sneakers, in socks for traction and even in the Five-Fingers footwear, which fits one's foot like a glove, with a rubberized sole.
Some of the youngsters who fell on top of the crates actually tried to finish by crawling across them, most to no avail.
Contestants included four divisions: featherweight (up to 75 pounds), lightweight (76-125), medium weight (126-175) and supersize or heavyweight (176 and heavier).
The overall winner last year was Bachiochi, who crossed 391 crates. The featherweight winner was Widdecombe, 9, with 135. He rebounded this year with 1,000 crates.
The event has been held since the mid-1970s when it got its start in Spruce Head. It was its own event before becoming part of the Maine Lobster Festival years ago.
Bachiochi set the new standard in 2008 with an amazing 4,501 crates. And he really did not fall in the water but simply stepped on the 4,501st crate and tossed himself into the ocean. At the time, Bachiochi surpassed the record of 3,007 set in the 1980s by Lundquist.
Now, a local boy, Connor McGonagle of Owls Head, holds the mark that may, with a little luck, stand forever.
This year's participants came from all over New England and from places such as Virginia Beach, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Georgia, Florida and California, to name a few.
The results, with name, age, residence and number of crates crossed listed when available, were: Sam Stein, 9; Sophia Miller, 7, Tenants Harbor, 8; Gweneth Miller, 7, Tenants Harbor, 8; Austin Chilles, 8, Rockland, 3; Obie Miller, 9, Tenants Harbor, 16; Connor Lajoie, 17, Yarmouth, 13; Andrew (last name unavailable), 37, Hollis, 8; Bill Page, 49, South Berwick, 6; Chris Welt, 15, Gulf Breeze, Fla., 25; Ben Hillyard, 43, Durham, N.H., 14; Madison Hillyard, 14, Durham, N.H., 11; Jordan Hillyard, 11, Durham, N.H., 12; Charlotte Moore, 15, Madbury, N.H., 40; Emerson Moore, 9, Madbury, N.H., 181; Jarrod Harden, 13, The Woodlands, Tx., 34; Zak Winpenny, 9, Rockland, 88; Jordan Fogarty, 9, Scarborough, 5; Quinn Fogarty, 7, Scarborough, 8; Carter Fogarty, 10, Rockland, 19; Mariah Grindle, 11, Waldoboro, 145; Morgan Lindsey, 11, Cushing, 4; Anthony Moore, 12, Thomaston, 107; Alden Mason, 14, Owls Head, 74; McKenna Labruzzi, 8, Owls Head, 4; Dakota Smith, 19, Rockland, 25; Desiree Smith, 23, Rockland, 46; Jenny Guzman, 19, Belleville, N.J., 15; Mykel Foland, 22, Jacksonville, N.C., 10; Brandon Jimenez, 19, Waldoboro, 113; Anthony Bosworth, 21, Waldoboro, 127; Eben Kiesow, 12, Cumberland, 87; Farin Weidman, 9, Camden, 88; Liana Weidman, 11, Camden, 4; Sydney Hall, 13, Owls Head, 134; Austin Northgraves, 15, Scarborough, 70; Willy Eaton, 9, South Thomaston, 6; Devon Jaworski, 27, Virginia Beach, Va., 10; Ted Borden, 40, Sherborn, Mass., 8; Dawn Borden, 40, Sherborn, Mass., 6; Meredith Borden, 11, Sherborn, Mass., 6; Amanda Borden, 10, Sherborn, Mass., 4; Jensen Willis, 12, Warren, 17; Samuel Morrill, 15, Warren, 18; Colby Wiley, 12, Warren, 98; Jesse Stewart, 17, Springfield, Pa., 22; Christian McKenna, 14, Danvers, Mass., 13; Jackson McPherson, 13, Danvers, Mass., 92; Noelle Carroll, 10, Newark, Del., 218; Grace Carroll, 7, Newark, Del., 11; Jude Forti, 9, Rockland, 38; Meghan McGonagle, 14, Owls Head, 80; Connor McGonagle, 12, Owls Head, 6,000; Ryan Lewis, 9, Owls Head, 4; Karl Ilvonen, 10, Owls Head, 8; Brian Corrivean, 34, Rockland, 14; Gracie Corrivean, 14, Rockland, 12; Nicholas Tavernakis, 8, Cushing, 20; Nick Tavernakis, 37, Cushing, 5; Anthony Baker, 21, Union, 4; Dalton Hanaway, 13, Spruce Head, 46; Morgan Hanaway, 10, Spruce Head, 8; Ryan Calamari, 13, Owls Head, 30; Samantha Calamari, 16, Owls Head, 15; Gage Nichols, 8, Owls Head, 19; Don Nickles, 43, Owls Head, 9; Kayla Stroot, 12, Damascus, Md., 4; Duncan Widdecombe, 10, South Thomaston, 2,000; Hunter Yattaw, 10, Spruce Head, 20; Sophie Martin, 10, Centennial, Colo., 5; Molly Bakewood, 9, Port Chester, N.Y., 3; Ava Baeza, 9, Camden, 2; William Brakewood, 11, Port Chester, N.Y., 110; Gidean Baeza, 12, Camden, 12; Carolee Brakewood, 44, Port Chester, N.Y., 5; Rafi Baeza, 44, Camden, 5; Keith Martire, 34, English, N.J., 12; Donovan Martire, 13, English, N.J., no crates listed; Mike Dionne, 33, Raymond, no crates lised: Janelle Borrelli, 15, Griffin, Ga., 5; Rhiana Simonton, 10, Gordonsville, Va., 5; Sean Barfield, 14, Colfax, Calif., 11; Ethan Wood, 6, Mobile, Ala., 5; Anna Kingsbury, 8, Port Clyde, 3; Ryan Duplisea, 28, Rockland, 11; Owen Dakin, 6, Windham, 5; Josh Jackomino, 8, Owls Head, 12; Anna Campbell, 8, Rockport, 4; Amelia Campbell, 12, Rockport, 14; William Nickerson, 12, Rockport, 10; Will Ober, 13, Cushing, 94; Alexis Nickles, 16, San Jose, Calif., 20; and Aidan Bonzagni, 9, Rockland, 5.
Connor McGonagle was the lightweight winner with 6,000 crates, Duncan Widdecombe the featherweight winner with 2,000, Anthony Bosworth the medium weight winner with 126 and Ben Hillyard the super size winner with 14 crates.
Additional information from the event will appear later with this story.
Courier Publications Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.