Bangor looks to continue its supremacy in the Penobscot Valley Conference Large School track and field championships Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Cameron Stadium in Bangor.
The Rams girls and boys teams have both won the last four conference championships but will have to overcome some tough competition to make a successful defense.
On the girls side, Bangor’s chief competitor is Brewer, which has gone through the regular season undefeated.
The Witches are looking for a yearly conference sweep, as they have KVAC cross country and Eastern Maine Indoor Track League titles to their credit during 2008-09.
Brewer’s strong areas are in the sprints, distance events, jumping events, pole vault and hurdles.
Senior jumping and hurdling specialist Mackenzie DeGraff owns the conference’s top mark among her large-school foes in the triple jump at 33 feet, 7½ inches.
She’s also a No. 2 seed behind Bangor star Dee Wilbur in the 100 hurdles and Mount Desert Island’s Danielle Hutchins in the long jump.
Brewer’s Kira Giroux, one of the state’s top 400-meter runners, is among three competitors vying for top honors in that race, along with Hutchins and Bangor junior Brittney Chapman.
Giroux is also a top threat in the 100 and 200 dashes, and could run either the 4×100 or 4×400 relays.
Other keys for the Witches include their top-seeded 4×800 relay team, which has a time of 10 minutes, 15 seconds to its credit; Caitlyn Wilson in the hurdles and javelin, Katie Snow, Brooke Madden, Sara Chavarie, Lily Sund and Michelle Haluska in the distance events, Kaitlin Noyes in the 4×8, 800 and pole vault, and Alison Keane in the throwing events and pole vault.
For Bangor, Wilbur looks to continue an outstanding senior campaign in the hurdles.
She has seasonal bests of 15.95 seconds in the 100 and 47.97 in the 300 to her credit.
Chapman has had an outstanding season in the sprints, and she has a 200-meter PR of 26.85 to her credit, right behind Hutchins, seeded at 26.57.
Bangor’s other individual top seeds are Chelsea Pratt in the 800, Megan Hogan in the high jump, Katie Porter in the pole vault and Cote Theriault in the discus. The Rams also boast the conference’s best marks in the 4×100 and 4×400.
MDI’s Hutchins is the No. 1 seed in the 100 while classmate Heather Spurling is a favorite in the 1,600 and 3,200.
On the boys side, Bangor has its work cut out for it to win its fifth straight conference title as the Rams’ top athlete, Sean Seekins, is out with an ankle injury.
But they have home-field advantage on their side, and will be in the mix with favored Hampden Academy, along with Brewer and MDI.
The Broncos, like the Brewer girls, are seeking a repeat of their EMITL title, and have the depth and talent to do so.
The Broncos are strong in the jumping events with Matt Toothaker, Jadrien Cousens and Ryan Hodgdon owning the top three seeds in the triple jump. Those three are threats in a close long jump field where the top six athletes are separated by nine feet.
The Broncos also have some talented distance runners in Darik Frye, Michael Bommarito and Evan Piccirillo, from whom they’ll need big points from in those events.
Frye, a junior, is the top seed in the 1,600 (4:35.60) and 800 (2:02.08), but he’ll have solid competition from Bangor’s Sam Nisbett in the mile and Steve Melbourne of Caribou in the 800.
Hampden also has top-seeded 4×800 and 4×400 squads.
Nisbett has had an outstanding junior campaign for the Rams, having posted a time of 10:02.06 in the 3,200, where he’s the top seed by 36 seconds.
Brewer is led by junior Steven Rice, the top seed in the 100 hurdles at 15.48 seconds and the No. 2 man in the 300 behind HA’s Toothaker.
With a top seed in the shot put in senior Dan Hales and the conference’s top four pole vaulters in Tucker Smith, Corey Hodgkins, Derek Rothenheber and Ben Cummings, MDI has potential to give the top teams a run.
Caribou has dark-horse potential, as the Vikings are always strong in the distance events and the racewalk, an event in which four of the top six walkers hail from Caribou.
This meet has been swept by Bangor every year since 2004, when Old Town claimed the boys and girls titles.
Friday: A look at Saturday’s PVC Small School Championships.