ORONO, Maine — After winning the 800, Kaitlin Noyes stood in the center of the University of Maine field house, a smile plastered to her face, tears streaming down her cheeks, hugging teammates.
Little did the Brewer High School senior know at the time how crucial that race would prove in Saturday’s Eastern Maine Indoor Track League girls championships.
Noyes led a 16-point Witches’ surge in that event, as classmate Brooke Madden finished fourth and freshman Sara Chavarie took fifth, to give Brewer some much-needed breathing room en route to its second straight EMITL girls title.
The Witches finished with 112.3 points while Bangor earned second with 102.3. Mount Desert Island’s 55.3 was good for third while Old Town and Orono tied for fourth place with 36 points each.
Record-breaking Trojans sprinter Danielle Hutchins showcased the power and grace that has lifted her into Maine track and field lore, winning all three events she entered — the 55 dash, 400 and 200 — while breaking her own EMITL records in the 400 and 200 in the process, earning Outstanding Performer honors.
Hutchins was timed in 7.24 seconds in winning the 55, then blistered a 58.26 in the 400 and 26.15 in the 200.
The 400 was the most dramatic of the three races, as Hutchins and Brewer speedster Kira Giroux blazed around the track, each turning 27-second 200s.
Hutchins eventually overtook the Witches’ senior along the backstretch.
“I like when I run against her because she pushes me, and I like chasing after people because it really helps with my speed,” said Hutchins.
Ironically, the 400 isn’t Hutchins’ favorite event and she wasn’t exactly pleased when she first started running it earlier this season.
“I was kind of sad and really mad about it because I hate the 400,” she said with a sheepish grin.
Has her opinion changed?
“Kind of,” she admitted. “I’m just getting used to it.”
The competition between Bangor and Brewer was tantalizingly close throughout, with the Witches and Rams within nine points of each other entering the 800.
Tack on those 16 points, and Mackenzie DeGraff’s 10 from winning the triple jump — her second victory of the evening — and eight from Giroux’s second-place effort in the 200, and the Witches were in control.
“I was just so excited and I’ve been working so hard all season. It was just nice to have it pay off in the end,” said Noyes, who was timed in 2:26.57 in winning the 800. She also cleared 9 feet to win the pole vault.
The Witches entered the final event of the night, the 4×220-yard relay, with a 12-point cushion, so they were mainly worried about getting the baton around the track and having some fun doing so.
“We really went into it thinking this is our last chance to run on this track that we’ve been running on, some of us, for four years,” said senior Erika Cote, who anchored Brewer’s second-place relay.
DeGraff earned 28 individual points for Brewer, with a personal record in winning the long jump at 16 feet, 7 inches to go with her 34-10.50 mark in the triple jump and second-place effort in the 55, where Giroux finished third.
“Those [long and triple jumps] were probably the most important for me because we had [Giroux] in the 55 and other events, but I’m the only one on our team in long and triple,” said DeGraff.
The Witches, particularly their senior class, came together valiantly after sophomore distance runner Michelle Haluska fell at the start of the mile, did not finish that race and scratched from the 2-mile.
“Almost everyone did better in all their events than they were supposed to,” said DeGraff.
Bangor certainly ran, threw and jumped their collective hearts out for retiring coach Maynard Walton. Senior Cote Theriault earned a personal record of 33-5 in winning the shot put, Megan Hogan cleared 5 feet to win the high jump and Dee Wilbur clocked an 8.81 to capture the 55 hurdles.
“To come that close [to Brewer] we had to do our best, and we did good. I’m proud of them,” said Walton. “Finishing second isn’t the worst thing in the world. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty darn good. [Brewer] should do well [in the state meet]. I wish them luck.”
Ellsworth’s Brianne Dunn went on to win the mile in 5:30.97 in a close thrash with MDI’s Heather Spurling, who finished second, while Old Town senior Kate Goodness pulled away from Dunn to take the 2-mile in 12:00.60.
Bangor won the 4×220 relay and Brewer the 4×880.
MDI’s Ian Braun earned Coach of the Year honors.