EMITL championships Saturday

Posted Feb. 09, 2011, at 7:09 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 09, 2011, at 11:42 p.m.

It’ll be a busy day in high school sports throughout the state Saturday, including regional titles to be decided in track and field.

The Eastern Maine Indoor Track League will host its championship meet Saturday at the University of Maine, with trials getting under way at 10:45 a.m. and finals at 12:45 p.m.

Many of the state’s top individuals will be on display, with the Bangor girls and boys looking to defend their respective team championships.

The Rams and Old Town are shaping up to be the favorites among the girls teams, while Hampden Academy, Old Town and Bangor look strong for the boys. 

Some top individuals to watch out for in the girls competition include Brewer sophomore Teal Jackson, who owns the league’s top times in the 55-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, including 1-minute flat in the 400. 

Only three schoolgirl athletes in league history — Danielle Hutchins, Jen Puiia and Kira Giroux — have broken the elusive 60-second barrier, and Jackson appears primed to do so.

Bangor sophomore Grace Maclean is one of the state’s top hurdlers and high jumpers, and her main competition in the hurdles could come from Old Town’s Tia Jackson and Alexa Pelkey of Brewer.

Old Town freshman Tia and Brewer sophomore Teal are half-sisters.

Maclean is also a threat in the long jump, where she’s the No. 1 seed at 16 feet, 1 inches.

Orono’s Shelby Wheeler, who has cleared 10 feet in the pole vault, is another competitor to watch out for, while Kayla Brooks is a threat to score 30 points for Old Town.

The Rams’ main competition in the team race will come from the Coyotes. While Bangor has just two top individual seeds in Maclean and McKenna Unobskey in the shot put, Bangor does feature depth and the league’s top 4×220 relay team.

Old Town and Brewer do feature the talent to challenge for the title, with the Witches showcasing another 30-point threat in distance runner Michelle Haluska, the top seed in all three distance races.

Among her challengers will be Aleta Looker of Ellsworth, Maggie Bryan of John Bapst, Hampden’s Kylee Parker and Katie Feeney of Hermon.

For the boys, Old Town senior Jake Leithiser has had an outstanding winter and is one of the favorites for Top Performer honors.

Leithiser is Eastern Maine’s top high jumper, long jumper and hurdler, and he can also run any of the sprinting events. 

The Coyotes feature depth in the long and triple jumps, with Dan Gastia and Matt Richard boasting the EMITL’s top two marks in the TJ.

Hampden will showcase a 30-point threat of its own in distance runner Evan Piccirillo, who could very well win all three distances races should coach Dave King decide to triple him.

He’ll have competition from freshmen Dan Curts of Ellsworth and Jonathan Belanger of Bangor and seniors Matt Guiod of Mattanawcook Academy and Ben Hafford of Brewer.

As far as the team competition, Hampden has won the last two regular-season meetings with Old Town after the Coyotes won the first time around.

Leithiser, Gastia, Richard and Jacob St. Peter are among coach Rod White’s top guns, while Hampden will showcase top sprinter Roy Donnelly.

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