The intensity will pick up across the state this week — weather permitting — as runners, jumpers and throwers compete for their conference championships.
The Penobscot Valley Conference Small School Championship initiates the action Friday afternoon at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft. Then the PVC Large School Championship is scheduled for Saturday at Brewer High School.
The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference will showcase its best and brightest athletes on Saturday with its championship meet at Morse High School in Bath.
Friday’s PVC meet gets underway at 3:30 p.m. with Orono’s boys and girls looking to defend their team titles. The Red Riot boys have claimed three consecutive titles.
There are several front-runners in the girls’ competition. They include Orono’s Abby Weigang, who is the top seed in the 100 hurdles (13.6 seconds) and the 300 hurdles (49.16), along with the pole vault (9 feet, 6 inches) and teammate Diana Tyutyunnyk, the leader in the 100 meters (13.19) and the 200 (27.39), along with the long jump (16-1).
Adrienne Carmack of John Bapst and Orono’s Lily Koffman will go head-to-head in the 1,600 and the 3,200. Carmack is the top seed in the 1,600 (5:36.49) and Koffman tops the field in the 3,200 at 12:35.74.
The boys’ field is spearheaded by Don Boyer of Foxcroft Academy. He is the pacesetter in the 110 hurdles (14.84, best in Maine), 300 hurdles (41.78), the long jump (20-7 1/2) and the high jump (6-0).
Washington Academy’s Theo-Raje Virgo is the sprinter to watch as the No. 1 seed in the 100 (11.37) and 200 (23.51), while the distance contingent is likely to be chasing top-seeded Dylan Merchant of Bangor Christian, who has posted the best times this spring in the 800 (2:02.37) and 1,600 (4:31.20).
Orono also features David Frederick, the top seed in the pole vault (14-0) and the javelin (167-1).
On Saturday, Bangor is the defending champion among the big schools, both in the girls ’ and boys ’ ranks. That meet kicks off at 11 a.m.
The girls’ field is graced with some dominating athletes.
Teal Jackson of Brewer is the one to beat in the 100 (12.24), 200 (24.56), 400 (a state-best 57.67) and the long jump (17-5 1/4). She is the defending champ in each of the sprints.
Her sister, Tia Jackson of Old Town, is atop the high jump list at 5-3 and will contend in the 100 and 200. Grace MacLean of Bangor leads the 100 hurdles field at 15.19, which leads the state, and is No. 2 in the high jump (5-2) and the long jump (16-9).
Aleta Looker of Ellsworth is a strong candidate to defend her titles in the 800 (2:17.31) and 1,600 (5:19.98). Out of Aroostook County comes Regan Nelson of Presque Isle, the No. 1 seed in the discus (94-4) and shot put (32-10).
Bangor boasts the top 11 seeds in the pole vault, led by Courtney Lizzotte at 10-6.
There are ample standouts in the PVC Large School boys ranks, perhaps none more notable than Andrew Toothaker of Hampden Academy. He leads the field in the 110 hurdles (15.25), 300 hurdles (40.51) and 400 (52.19), and also is a member of the Broncos’ No. 1 4×400 relay team (3:37.17).
Nick Boutin of Old Town also has a shot to be a multi-event winner as the top seed in the 100 (11.45) and 200 (23.25) and a contender in the 400. Brewer’s Jeremy Bissell looks to continue his domination in the long jump (state-best 22-0) and triple jump (42-6 1/4) and is second in the 110 hurdles.
Ellsworth’s Dan Curts ranks No. 1 in the 1,600 (4:23.29) and will try to overcome Brewer’s Luke Rand (10:10.50) in the 3,200.
In the KVAC, Bethanie Brown of Waterville is the prohibitive favorite in the distance events. She is the state’s No. 1 seed in the 800 (2:16.17), 1,600 (4:58.18) and the 3,200 (10:13.90).
Two University of Maine athletes are in action this week at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary meet being held at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro.
Senior Corey Conner was slated to run Thursday in the 10,000 meters, while sophomore Robyn McFetters is in the hammer throw field and will compete Friday morning.
Conner goes into the competition ranked fifth in Division I in the 10K with a season-best time of 33 minutes, 34.13 seconds. She must finish in the top 12 to advance to the NCAA championships.
Conner has competed at 10,000 meters only twice, including her April 6 performance at Duke University.
McFetters, the America East champion in the hammer at 183 feet, 9 inches, ranks No. 28 in the division. She also must finish in the top 12 at the regional to qualify for the national championships in Eugene, Ore.
McFetters is coming off a career-best throw of 187-8 3/4, which she achieved during the ECAC/IC4A Championships May 10-12 in New Jersey.