ORONO, Maine — The most recent winter storm has resulted in two days of extra rest for competitors in the Penobscot Valley Conference/Eastern Maine Indoor Track League.
With Saturday’s championship meet postponed until Monday, the anticipation will continue building as teams chase league titles and individuals pursue event championships at the University of Maine field house.
The Bangor boys and girls teams are looking to defend their crowns in Monday’s meet, which will be the end of an era — of sorts. The Penobscot Valley Conference/Eastern Maine Indoor Track League championship is the last competitive meet scheduled in the UMaine field house, which is expected to begin undergoing extensive renovations in the spring.
Monday’s field events begin at 3:45 p.m., with the running events slated to follow at 4 p.m. Teams should be at the field house by 2:45 p.m.
Bangor appears to be a strong candidate to claim another boys title. The Rams are looking for strong efforts from junior Peter Manuel, the top seed in the 400 (51.08) and the 200 (23.24) and the No. 3 seed in the 55, along with junior miler Jon Stanhope (No. 1, 4:31.26), who also is the third seed in the 800.
Scott Murray (shot put), jumper Logan Lanham and distance men Joseph Belanger and Jake Archer are other key contributors. Bangor is the top seed in the 4-by-880 relay at 8:28.21.
Hampden Academy features some standouts in senior Nick Kopf, the top seed in the 800 at 2:02.38, along with senior hurdler Andrew Toothaker, senior sprinter Roy Donnelly and sophomore miler Caleb Lord, each of whom is seeded second in his event. Junior Sam Donnelly is third in the 200 and sixth in the 55.
The Broncos also boast the fastest 4-by-220 quartet (1:35.65).
Brewer is relying on senior Jeremy Bissell, who leads the fields in both the long jump (20-7 3/4) and the triple jump (41-1 1/2) and is fifth in the 400. Junior Luke Rand checks in third in the mile and fourth in the two-mile.
There are a handful of other individual standouts in the meet. That group includes Don Boyer of Foxcroft Academy, who is the No. 1 seed in the 55-meter hurdles (7.90) and the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches) and is the second seed in the triple jump and the third seed in the long jump.
Dan Curts of Ellsworth is out to repeat last year’s double victories as the top seed in the mile (4:26.52) and the two-mile (9:49.47). He also is No. 1 in the 800 (1:59.09).
Orono senior David Frederick is the prohibitive favorite in the pole vault after setting a conference record at 14-1 last week. That eclipsed the mark of 14-0 held by former Red Riot James Berry.
In the girls meet, Bangor is hoping to ride the talent and versatility of senior Grace MacLean to another team championship.
She leads the seedings in the 55 hurdles (8.50), the high jump (5-6) and the long jump (17-5) and is second in the 55 dash.
Bangor also dominates the pole vault, spearheaded by senior Courtney Lizzotte and sophomore Abby Reynolds, whose 9-6 efforts were season bests. Junior Morgan Johnson is tied for the No. 3 seed.
The Rams also roll out, junior Angelyn Masters (third two-mile, fourth mile, fifth 800), senior Casey Modery (third TJ, fourth HJ, sixth LJ) and junior Katerina Dagher (third LJ), while their 4-by-220 and 4-by-880 relays are seeded second and third, respectively.
Old Town, Brewer and Hermon will try to keep the pressure on Bangor. The Coyotes’ catalyst is junior Tia Jackson, who ranks first in the triple jump (35-7) and is second in the 200, the 400 and the high jump and third in the 55.
Old Town junior Ali King is the No. 2 seed in the shot put.
Brewer is powered by senior phenom Teal Jackson, who ranks first in the 55 (7.37), the 200 (26.03) and the 400 (57.85). Junior Synclaire Tasker also is expected to score well, seeded second in the hurdles, fourth in the 400 and sixth in the triple jump.
Hermon has a handful of high-level athletes paced by junior Maddie Page (third 200, fourth 55, seventh LJ) and senior Gabby Bryant (second LJ, fourth 200). The Hawks have the top-seeded 4-by-220 relay entry, along with junior Jillian Byers (third SP) and junior Kaylin Rogers (fourth LJ).
Ellsworth boasts one of the leading individual competitors in Aleta Looker. The junior is seeded first by several seconds in the 800 (2:17.31), the mile (5:19.0) and the two-mile (11:36.95) runs.
Performances will help determine the final seedings for the state championship meets, which are scheduled for Monday, Feb. 18 at Gorham (Class A) and Lewiston (Class B).