“Any time you can face quality competition like that, it makes your team better.”
Waterville Coach Ian Wilson
While the cross country season has just wrapped up for a lot of runners around the state, indoor track and field practices are just around the corner.
Eastern Maine Indoor Track League teams will kick off preseason practices Monday, and this season’s schedule of meets will be much more competitive.
That’s because in three of the first four weeks of the season, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference will send teams to the University of Maine in Orono to compete among the EMITL schools.
Teams that will make the journey north include Waterville, Messalonskee of Oakland, Belfast, Cony of Augusta, Skowhegan, Lawrence of Fairfield, Mt. Blue of Farmington, Erskine Academy of South China, Winslow, Mount View of Thorndike, Brunswick and Skowhegan.
“I just think that’s awesome,” said Waterville coach Ian Wilson, whose Purple Panthers will compete in Orono twice.
“We’re very fortunate to see both Bangor and Brewer in those meets. Having seen them last spring, those are real quality teams.”
Wilson’s Purple Panthers have been one of the top teams in Class B as of late, and for his girls to face reigning EMITL champ Brewer, the preseason favorites in the conference, could loom huge down the road.
“Any time you can face quality competition like that, it makes your team better,” Wilson said.
The Panthers will also face Bangor on Dec. 19 in addition to Brewer on Jan. 9.
EMITL director Mary Cady said that the idea was proposed by one of the conference’s schools, and the league’s athletic administrators approved it.
“We’re going to see how it works this season and see how it goes and [then] go from there,” Cady said.
She added the main objective behind the proposal was to add more competition to the meets.
Bangor coach Maynard Walton acknowledged that the EMITL has some of the best track officials and organizers in the state, another contributing factor to the KVAC schools coming up.
“Those people want to come up here because we’re so well organized, especially with the [Finish Lynx] timing,” he said.
Other meets on the slate have Belfast in the Dec. 19 meet with Waterville, Bangor, Foxcroft Academy, Hampden Academy, Hermon and Mount Desert Island.
Also that weekend, Cony is in competition with Brewer, John Bapst of Bangor, Mattanawcook of Lincoln, Orono and Sumner of East Sullivan while Skowhegan will face Bucksport, Central of Corinth, Ellsworth, Old Town and George Stevens of Blue Hill.
Lawrence, Mt. Blue and Winslow will be in Orono Dec. 29 and Erskine and Mount View Dec. 30.
Winslow will join Waterville in the Jan. 9 meet with Brunswick and Skowhegan participating in separate Jan. 10 affairs.