BUCKSPORT — No distance runner wants to step off the track in the middle of the race, much less one covering 3200 meters.
But Amanda Lalime, Laura Donovan and two other John Bapst teammates had no choice Friday night, as their race was halted due to lightning at the Penobscot Valley Conference Small School track and field championships.
Forced to re-run their race prior to the conference’s freshman championships and with a hot sun baking Carmichael Field on Tuesday, Lalime, Donovan and Christina Long responded with a 2-3-4 finish to help the Crusaders of Bangor cement their 10th consecutive conference title.
Bapst, which had led Orono 129-103 when action was suspended on Friday, finished with 155 points to the Red Riots’ 107.
Foxcroft Academy finished third with 75 points, followed by Central of Corinth (73) and Bucksport (54).
The Orono boys, which had wrapped up the conference title on Friday, totaled 123 points, with Foxcroft second with 58
John Bapst was third with 53, Mattanawcook of Lincoln fourth with 48.5 and George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill and Sumner of East Sullivan tied for fifth with 46 points apiece.
Outstanding Performer honors went to Foxcroft’s Emily Panciera and Miguel Caballero of Orono, respectively, while the Red Riots’ Chris Libby (boys) and Bapst co-head coaches Joe Capehart and Jeff Libby (boys) were voted PVC coaches of the year.
While the efforts of the Crusaders’ 3200-meter runners were instrumental in bringing home the title, Bapst scored 25 points in the triple jump on Friday before the meet was halted, with Maria Ullo, Jen Daley, Kaitlyn Caron and Kristen Weed finishing 1-2-3-6.
“They did a really good job,” said Lalime, who posted a gutsy 3200 time of 13 minutes, 1.67 seconds.
Donovan and Lalime have dealt with similar adversity in this event this season.
“The last week we had been at Orono and we stopped a mile (too) soon,” said Donovan, referring to another weather-shortened race in the final meet of the regular season.
The odds were in Bapst’s favor heading into the 3200, as they had four runners in the race to Orono’s one, and the Crusaders’ 4×400 relay team of Maggie Bryan, Taylor True, Casey McGuire and Brianne Robertson cemented the win by finishing second.
Overall, Bapst’s distance runners compiled 62 points, with the 4×800 relay team of Lalime, Donovan, Bryan and Adrienne Carmack winning that event.
Foxcroft’s Panciera won the 400 in 1:03.25, the 200 in 28.10, was second in the 100 and anchored the Ponies’ winning 4×400 relay team to claim the Top Performer award.
Orono was led by Shelby Wheeler and Alex Crocker, as Crocker claimed the 300 hurdles while Wheeler took the 100 hurdles and the pole vault.
Other gold medalists in the girls meet included Bucksport’s Taylor Zeigler-Miller in the javelin (104-9), Laurel Rougny of Central in the 100 dash (13.70), Nelly Winship of Bucksport in the 1600 (5:45.76) and Bekah Campbell of Central in the discus (105-6).
In the boys’ meet, Orono was sparked by Caballero and Phil Holmes.
Caballero took gold in the 100 and 200 dashes and was second in the 400, while Holmes was second in the 100 and 200, and both teamed up with Kody Stockley and Joe Claar to spark the Red Riots’ 4×100 relay team to a win.
“You look at Miguel who has been expected to run that fast and is one of the quickest kids, indoor and out, but Phil as a senior coming on and running two huge (personal records was big),” said Libby.
While Libby was understanding in the meet having to be finished Tuesday, a number of his top athletes were practicing.
“They’re not here to celebrate the fact that they’re going home with hardware,” he said. “Today’s an important technique day for us. We have our eyes focused on Saturday at this point.”
The only Red Riot who competed individually was sophomore Tyler White, who earned a PR of 10:47.86 in finishing second in the 3200, while Orono’s other gold medalist was David Frederick, who cleared 10-9 to take the pole vault, with Chad Orn and Stockley finishing 2-3.
Other champions were: Mattanawcook’s Grady Markie in the long jump (19-8.75), Richard Wrightman of Dexter in the race walk (9:55.29), Ben Plohr of George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill in the 110 hurdles (16.26) and 800 (2:04.78), Bangor Christian’s Zach Sirois in the 1600 (4:48.73), Tavoy Johnson of Washington Academy of East Machias in the discus, Sumner’s John Sandiego in the 300 hurdles (43.72), Foxcroft’s Donnie Boyer in the high jump (5-8), Ryan Grover of Sumner in the javelin (146-4) and Spencer Traylor of Penquis in the triple jump (40-7.25).
Bangor Christian also won the 4×800 relay with Brad Wilcox, Dylan Merchant, Chris Parent and Sirois covering that race in 8:50.28, and Chase Small, Garrett Hilton, Zach Smith and Donnie Boyer of Foxcroft combined to win the 4×400 in 3:43.86.