Roughly a month of postseason play in high school sports kicks off this weekend, as Penobscot Valley Conference track and field teams will battle for conference supremacy.
The Class C schools will hold their championship meet on Friday at Foxcroft Academy, starting at 3:30 p.m. while the Class A and B teams will compete on Saturday at Mount Desert Island in Bar Harbor at 11 a.m.
Plenty of team and individual confrontations are expected as usual, with the Bangor and John Bapst girls and Bangor and Orono boys looking to defend their respective titles.
In the big school meet, Bangor, Brewer and Old Town are shaping up to be the favorites for the team crown, with Caribou close behind.
The Rams have won every conference title since 2005, with Old Town winning the year before.
Bangor only has four top individual seeds (Denae Johnson, 100 and 300 hurdles, Grace Maclean, high jump, Anna Hayden, pole vault and Tiffany Gray, triple jump), but coach Joe Quinn’s team should be able to counter that with depth.
Bangor’s 4×100 relay has posted the top time at 51.09 seconds, while Maclean also provides versatility in the hurdles.
The Rams also feature 2010 Top Performer Ally Vanidestine, who is entered in the 100, 200, pole vault and may run the 4×400.
Old Town, which last won a PVC title in 2004, features the top seeds needed to compete for a championship.
Brewer features a 30-plus point threat in sophomore sprinter Teal Jackson, who is riding momentum from a strong indoor campaign.
She’s the top seed in all three sprinting events, having put down marks of 12.72 in the 100, 26.05 in the 200 and 59.90 in the 400.
It’s possible Jackson could take down Danielle Hutchins’ respective PVC records of 12.55, 25.97 and 58.21 in all three events.
Jackson is also a threat in the long jump, where both she and Bangor’s Maclean have jumped 16 feet, 6.75 inches.
The Witches will also need a solid day from Michelle Haluska in the distance events.
Other top athletes include Caribou’s racewalking trio of Emily Soderberg, Paige Small and Marigan Doody and top thrower Morgan Swan.
On the boys side, Old Town, Brewer and Hampden Academy are shaping up as favorites.
The Coyotes are led by senior hurdler and jumper Jake Leithiser, who is entered in the 100 dash, 300 hurdles and the high and long jumps.
Old Town’s only other top seed is Jacob St. Peter in the 400.
Brewer could be in the mix with its top seeds, with the Witches top two guns being Ray Bessette and Tristan Wortman.
Wortman has cleared 13 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault, and he’s also the No. 1 man in the 100 hurdles and No. 2 man in the triple jump, right behind Bessette.
Bessette is also a threat in the long and high jumps. Spencer Valley gives coach Glendon Rand versatility in the hurdles.
Don’t sleep on Caribou, as the Vikings have the power in the distance races and the racewalk to sneak up on the field.
Caribou is led by Christian Sleeper, who led the Vikes to a state title in cross country.
He’s a threat to sweep the distance triple as a top seed in the 1600 and 800, and he’ll be in the mix in the 3200 as well.
D.J. Flynn, Josh Kovach and Jake Michaud are the top three seeds in the racewalk.
In the small school meet, defending champions John Bapst on the girls side and Orono on the boys are favorites to repeat.
The Crusaders’ strength comes in the distance events, as coach Joe Capehart’s club is seeded for a whopping 72 points in the 1600, 800, 3200 and 4×800 relay.
Many of those runners made up John Bapst’s state championship-winning cross country squad.
Sisters Adrienne and Mary Carmack lead the charge, with Adrienne the top seed in the 1600 and 3200, while Amanda Lalime, Maggie Bryan and Sarah Pyne are threats in the 800.
Elsewhere, Orono showcases one of the state’s top pole vaulters and hurdlers in Shelby Wheeler, while Alex Crocker will be looking to defend her title in the 300’s.
On the boys’ side, Orono features a top-performer threat in sprinter Miguel Caballero, the top man in the 100, 200 and 400 dashes who will also run the 4×100 relay.
Phil Holmes supplies depth for the Red Riots in the 100 and 200, while Nick Peterson is one of the league’s top throwers.