AUGUSTA, Maine — There was a little bit of everything at the Class C track and field state championships Saturday at Cony High School.
Fans witnessed record-setting efforts, come-from-behind victories, runaway victories and even a graduation as the Orono girls and Sacopee Valley boys of Hiram took home their respective titles in opposite fashion.
The Red Riot girls, who just last week won the PVC small-school title, collected 126.75 points and ran away from the field. John Bapst of Bangor and Traip Academy of Kittery tied for second with 72 points while Lisbon (59) and Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield (39.75) rounded out the top five.
Orono had just an eight-point lead over John Bapst after 10 events, but broke out for 28 points in the next five events to extend its lead to 29 points. Orono coach Chris Libby credited the win to his girls’ selflessness and dedication.
“We had a lot of kids say I’m tired or I’m not feeling great, but I’m going to do it cause the team needs me to,” Libby said. “There was a definite team dynamic that pulled us through.”
Libby did not single out any particular impact performances, saying he felt that when the team slipped there was always a different girl there to bring them back.
“The theme of the week was doing it for the Orono pride,” he said. “There were little slips here and there, but we picked ourselves back up and had people making up for other performances.”
Every participant contributed for Orono, but the combination of efforts from freshman Abby Weigang and junior Kayla Marquis proved to be lethal.
Weigang and Marquis collected 68 points and scored in each of their four events. Both girls picked up double wins, as Weigang nabbed the 100 hurdles (16.02 seconds) and 300 hurdles (48.26), while Marquis won the high jump (5 feet) and pole vault (9-6).
Marquis beat out Weigang at the pole vault to cap off the victory for Orono, with Marquis crediting her win to the competition and support from her teammate.
“Going up against a teammate really helps you out because it doesn’t matter who beats each other,” she said. “Abby definitely motivated me more because you want to beat whoever is there.”
The two girls finished first and second in pole vault, as well as the 300 hurdles. They also were able to join forces with Bella Desisto and Diana Tyutyunnyk to win the 4×400 relay (4:18.99).
Marquis mirrored her coach’s team-first mentality.
“From the beginning we knew we had a strong team,” she said. “We got really close with each other and even if bad things happened throughout the season we were able to pick each other up and get stronger.”
The Sacopee Valley boys were a different story as they had to wait until the day’s last event to claim victory.
The Hawks were locked with Lisbon atop the standings with North Yarmouth Academy only a few points behind going into the 4×400 relay — with each team in the same heat.
NYA placed second in the event in 3:35.75, but fell short as Sacopee Valley came in third at 3:36.51 to secure the points to pick up the overall win, edging NYA 64.5-62. Lisbon placed eighth in the event, which was won by Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (3:35.21).
Lisbon (59) fell to third place overall, while Orono (55) placed fourth and Maranacook of Readfield (37) finished fifth.
Sacopee scratched and clawed its way to the title, picking up points in unlikely but timely places. Contributions such as Parker Hayes’ fifth-place finish in the triple jump after being seeded 12th were the types of strong yet quiet performances that helped the Hawks get the job done.
“I was seeded 12th and got fifth to get us the extra three points that we didn’t think we would have,” said Hayes, who also ran in the second leg of 4×400 team that won the meet. “The little things like that were what helped get us through.”
Hawks coach Nate Carpenter was not surprised by the manner in which his team claimed its first title since 2009.
“It’s sort of the way we do our business, as we just nickel and dime our way to victory,” said Carpenter. “My guys just go and do their jobs.”
The Hawks did not have an ace to pick up big point totals but Carpenter felt that’s what made the team’s win more meaningful.
“We don’t have that stud athlete, which makes me that much more proud of my guys,” he said. “We aren’t great in anything, but we are decent in most.”
The Hawks did receive one first-place finish from Ryan Moulton in the triple jump, beating the heavily favored Morgan Reeves of Lisbon with a jump of 41-6.
For boys individual performances, senior Matt McClintock of Madison took home two Class C records in the 1,600 (4:16.40) and the 3,200 (9:16.92).
McClintock claimed he had been running on tired legs for most of the year, which made the mile run more of a challenge.
“I was three seconds off the record and I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen because I’m not a speed runner,” he said.
McClintock received best wishes before his run in the 3,200 from Scott Roberts, who set the record time for the event in 1986.
“That was really special that he had been watching me,” he said. “It was nice to PR and end my state career well.”
Orono senior Miguel Caballero picked up three wins in the 100 (11.53), 200 (23.44) and 400 (51.47) dashes. Double wins came from Lisbon senior Morgan Reeves in the pole vault (12-6) and long jump (21-5.75), while Maranacook junior Taylor Watson took the 110 (15.83) and the 300 hurdles (40.04).
On the girls side, double winners included Hall-Dale of Farmingdale senior Bri Crisci in the 100 (13.34) and 200 (27.21) dashes, Washburn sophomore Carsyn Koch in the 1,600 (5:11.63) and 800 (2:21.30), and MCI senior Natasha Wallace in the javelin (109-6) and the shot put (34-5).
There was a special ceremony held midway through the meet to celebrate the graduation of Carrabec High School’s Israel Davis. Davis missed his graduation ceremony in North Anson to participate in the meet but was awarded his diploma from his principal on the winner’s stand. Davis helped his team gain a seventh-place finish in the 400 relay.