The casts are different, the head coach is new, but the expectations are the same for the Bangor girls and boys indoor track and field teams.
Postseason meets usually equal success for the Rams, but the girls haven’t won an Eastern Maine Indoor Track League championship since the 2006-07 season while the boys had their run of four straight league titles snapped by Hampden Academy last winter.
Both teams will be favorites this time around when the EMITL championship meet takes place Saturday at the University of Maine field house in Orono.
Preliminary heats get under way at 2 p.m. while finals start at 4.
Bangor has left its opponents in its wake this season, as both teams have compiled undefeated regular seasons.
The girls have been led by a combination of experience and young talent, as freshman Grace Maclean has continued her outstanding rookie athletic campaign at the school — she was one of the soccer team’s leading scorers — and has emerged as one of the league’s top hurdlers, high jumpers and sprinters.
Maclean, Brittney Chapman, Laken Thomas and Jade Baumrind combined to break the league record in the 4×220 relay in the regular-season finale last weekend, posting a time of 1 minute, 50.80 seconds.
Maclean is the top seed in the 55 hurdles while she’ll also compete in the 200, where she’s ranked third, and high jump, where she’s one of three girls — teammate Megan Hogan and Stesha Rudnicki of John Bapst — who have cleared 5 feet, 2 inches.
The top seed is one of the favorites for Top Performer honors, Old Town junior Kate DeShane.
She has cleared 5-3 in the high jump this winter, and is the No. 2 seed in the 200 and the 55 dash.
Bangor’s other top seed is Erin Nichols in the shot put, while Chapman, Baumrind, Thomas, Hogan and Anna Hayden are other key athletes for coach Jaime Cooke’s team.
Old Town and Brewer, the two-time defending regional champions, appear to be Bangor’s chief challengers.
The Witches are led by freshman sprinter Rachel Craig in the 55, and she’ll also run the 4×220 and the 200 dash.
Craig is the third seed in the 200, and has run faster every meet, having posted a 7.66 in Brewer’s season finale.
The Witches’ other top points may come in the distance events from Sara Chavarie, Lily Sund and Michelle Haluska.
The boys meet appears to be the tighter of the two, with the gap between undefeated Bangor, rival Brewer and talented Hermon fairly close.
The Rams feature one of the state’s fastest sprinters in Ben Sinclair, the league record holder in the 400 and 200 dashes and the reigning Top Performer award winner.
He is the top seed in the 55 and 200 and the No. 2 man in the 400, and he’ll be challenged in all three events by Vincent Tymoczko of Bucksport.
Other No. 1 seeds for Bangor include Sam Nisbett in the 2-mile and Josiah Hartley in the high jump.
Nisbett and Jonathan Belanger give Bangor a solid 1-2 punch in the distance races while Hartley is also seeded for points in the hurdles and shot put.
Brewer is led by Steven Rice, the top seed in the 55 hurdles at 7.96 seconds, also the fastest time among his Class A brethren.
The Witches boast three of the top six seeds in the hurdles (Josh Stone, Tristan Wortman), while Stone is also the second seed in the high jump and Wortman second in the pole vault.
Hermon has had one of its best seasons in recent memory, thanks to a talented corps of sprinters and jumpers.
Ryan Feeney has emerged as Eastern Maine’s best long and triple jumper, having posted marks of 20-5.25 in the LJ and 41-3.25 in the TJ.
Two other Hawks — Jesse Graffam and Lance Hollobaugh — are ranked in the top six in the long jump while Justin Cullens and Hollobaught are among the top six in the 55.
Hampden Academy senior Darik Frye is another competitor for Top Performer honors as the top seed in the mile and 800 and No. 2 man in the 2 mile.
Frye has run 4 minutes, 31.52 seconds in the mile and 2:00.14 in the 800.