BANGOR, Maine — High school track and field fans got the best of both worlds in Friday’s Penobscot Valley Conference opener at Cameron Stadium.
Not only did a couple of the state’s well-established athletes — Ben Sinclair of Bangor and Steven Rice of Brewer — kick their senior seasons off on strong notes on the boys’ side, the girls’ meet provided a glimpse of the future.
The Bangor girls got a combined six individual wins from Ganae Johnson, Grace Maclean and Ally Vanidestine — all freshmen — while Sinclair and Rice swept their individual events resoundingly on an overcast afternoon.
The host Rams swept the team titles, with the girls topping eight scoring teams with 197.5 points and the boys winning a 10-team affair with 179.5 points.
Brewer finished second in the girls field with 180.5 points, followed by Central of Corinth (52), Hermon (49) and Ellsworth (38).
The Witches also came in second in the boys competition with 160.5 points, with Ellsworth (63), Hermon (56) and Central (55) rounding out the top five.
Rice and Sinclair are both coming off outstanding indoor seasons — particularly Rice, who claimed the Class A state championship in the 55 hurdles indoors.
He posted winning times of 15.17 seconds in the 100 hurdles and 42.15 in the 300 hurdles, evidence Rice has put his false start in the 55 meters at New Englands this winter far behind him.
“That was pretty heartbreaking,” he said. “I really wanted to see what I could do against some major athletes.”
But things panned out just fine Friday as Rice, who also ran on Brewer’s winning 4×400-meter relay team, was never threatened in either race.
“I’m pretty tired, [but] 42.11 was a pretty good time for the start of the season, though,” said Rice, “and my 110’s went really well, too.”
That effort was just .03 seconds off Rice’s personal-best, and he was also pleased with his technique in both events, especially the 300s.
“I hit a lot of the hurdles with my left lead [leg],” he said, “which isn’t my good leg but in this event it’s better for it.”
Sinclair, who recently committed to run next year at Division II Bowie State University in Maryland, swept the dashes, taking the 100 (11.61), 400 (53.38) and 200 (23.63) while also anchoring the Rams’ winning 400-meter relay team.
“I have the indoor season behind me so I feel like I’m 100 percent right now,” said Sinclair, who plans to study communications.
Hermon’s Ryan Feeney was the only other multiple-event winner in the boys meet. The Hawks’ senior won the long and triple jumps with marks of 19 feet, 11.50 inches and 39 feet even, respectively, while Bangor’s Joey Quinn, son of head coach Joe Quinn, uncorked a throw of 140-8 to win the discus.
Bangor’s other individual winner was Josiah Hartley’s 5-6 effort in the high jump.
In the girls meet, Johnson and Vanidestine both exploded in their high school debuts, as Johnson captured the 100 hurdles in 15.75 seconds and Vanidestine the 100 dash in 13.47.
Vanidestine later claimed the 200 in 28.12 and Johnson took the long jump at 14-11.25.
Maclean, coming off an indoor campaign in which she set a state record in the high jump (5-6.25), was second in the 100 hurdles while winning the 300s in 50.65 seconds and the high jump, clearing 4-8.
Vanidestine, Denae Johnson and sister Deidre Johnson, a sophomore, and Megan Rowe teamed up to form a winning 400-meter relay team (53.50 seconds).
Other individual winners included Gabby Naranja of Fort Kent, who took the 1,600 in 5:49.61, Casey Pray of Bangor’s 9:25.79 finish in the 1,600 race walk, Katie Feeney of Hermon’s 2:39.21 run in the 800 and Lily Sund of Brewer’s 12:57.40 effort in the 3,200.
The Witches’ other champs were Cassie Braithwaite in the triple jump (30-6.50) and Faith Thomas’ 28-10 heave in the shot put.