ORONO, Maine — They’ve waited, waited and waited some more, and now Hampden Academy is finally in the Eastern Maine Indoor Track League spotlight.
The Broncos have watched the last four years as Bangor has waltzed away with the EMITL boys championship plaque.
The athletes in Purple and White reigned supreme at the University of Maine field house Saturday night. Darik Frye, Michael Bommarito, Matt Toothaker, Jadrien Cousens and their teammates came up huge, pulling away late with 14 points in the 800, 22 in the triple jump and 18 in the 2-mile for their first EMITL title since 2003 with 107 points.
Bangor and Brewer tied for second with 58 points while Mount Desert Island was fourth with 53 and Hermon (35) fifth.
The Witches graciously let the Rams have the second-place plaque, knowing Rams coach Maynard Walton, who was named Coach of the Year, was coaching his last EMITL championship. League director Mary Cady said another plaque will be ordered for Brewer.
Witches junior Ben Sinclair earned meet bragging rights, duplicating the performance of MDI’s Danielle Hutchins in the girls meet, not only winning the 55 dash, 400 and 200 but setting league records in the 400 and 200.
Sinclair ran an astounding 49.59 seconds in the 400, smashing Cam Cormier’s record (49.94) and posting, according to meet announcer and former Brewer coach Dave Jeffrey, the fastest indoor schoolboy 400 time in Maine history.
Sinclair’s mark would’ve broken the Class A state record of 50.41 held by Cam Cormier, but state records must be set in state championship meets.
Sinclair set the tone early in the race, exploding from the gun, turning a 23-second 200 and not looking back.
“I told myself I was going to go out in 23 and that’s what I did,” said Sinclair. “[To break 50 was] my dream and I went out and did it.”
Sinclair popped a 6.68 in winning a close 55 race over Hermon’s Justin Cullens, who was second in 6.74, while posting a 22.79 in annexing his own 200 record.
“I went in knowing I was going to do good,” Sinclair said. “I like having fast guys next to me, it just makes me run harder.”
Sinclair’s Witches hung tough with the favored Broncos throughout the meet, but Hampden surged in the late events. It started with the 1-4 finish of Frye and Bommarito in the 800, followed by a 1-2 finish from the two in the 2-mile, with Bommarito winning. It culminated in a 1-2-4 triple jump burst from Cousens, Toothaker and Ryan Hodgdon.
“We had me, Jade [Cousens] and Ryan. We did pretty good in high jump, we all placed in triple jump and I [placed in] long jump and hurdles, so our jumpers did pretty good,” said Toothaker, who was second in the long and triple jumps and fourth in the high jump.
Cousens won both the triple and high jumps with impressive marks, clearing 6 feet, 6 inches in the high jump and jumping 42-5.50 in the triple.
Cousens eclipsed HA’s school record of 6-5 in the high jump, previously held by Broncos assistant coach Jonathan Lenz.
Hampden’s distance-running trio came through as well, and Frye’s amazing run of 2 minutes flat in the 800 set the tone.
“Actually I wasn’t looking for breaking 2, I just wanted to go out and get as many points as I could for the team and I ended up running a 2-flat, so I was really happy about it,” said Frye, a junior who moved to Maine from Ludlow, Mass., before this school year.
“Last year we got second and we were determined that we’d get first this year,” added Bommarito, who was third in the mile while Frye was second.
Hodgdon was fifth in the high jump while Davis Rawcliffe and Michael Jenkins took fifth and sixth, respectively, in the shot put for Hampden.
Other individual champs included Chris Fogler of John Bapst in the 55 hurdles and long jump, Ben Chapman of Ellsworth in the mile, Tucker Smith of MDI in the pole vault and Dan Hales of MDI in the shot put while the Trojans’ 4×220 team and Bangor’s 4×880 took those respective events.