One Penobscot Valley Conference track and field team battling with the economic downturn is Fort Kent.
But the Warriors still competed, and competed hard, at Friday’s PVC opener in Hampden. Fort Kent featured one of the state’s top sprinters — regardless of class — in senior Jamie Pelletier, the defending Class C state champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Coach Kate Fecinta’s team faces longer bus rides than most teams. The Warriors traversed roughly 384 miles, round trip, to compete in Friday’s meet while they’ll cover 364 to compete in the PVC Class C championship in Dover-Foxcroft and right around 600 for the state meet at Bath.
To reduce travel expenses, the Warriors are not only trimming their schedule a tad this spring — they won’t attend the PVC Junior Varsity or Freshman championship meets — they’re planning on doing some fundraising.
“We’re doing a spaghetti feed in a couple weeks [and] we’re doing a car wash over the summer,” Fecinta said.
She hopes money raised can not only pave the way for the team to purchase new equipment, such as pole vault poles and throwing implements, but possibly construct an all-weather track at the school at some point.
Also, Fort Kent will be staying home, or close to it, a lot more, with three of their next four meets in either Caribou or Presque Isle.
“We also have the MDI Relays on our schedule but we’re not sure if we’re going to be able to make it to that,” Fecinta said.
In addition to expenses, Mother Nature impacts the Warriors’ training somewhat. The dirt track they practice on still has snow on it, and Friday’s meet was the first time the team had been on any kind of track surface all season.
“For long jump we really haven’t had time to do anything, so today was our first day that we actually did something,” said Pelletier, also a standout jumper who won the long jump Friday.
Fort Kent, which has 26 athletes on its team, has been training in the school’s parking lots, on the school soccer field, and along the heritage ski trails.
“We get creative, we have to,” Fecinta said. “It makes it interesting but it makes it fun.”
Even though they aren’t blessed with the facilities that some PVC teams can train on, the Warriors always overcome adversity and train just as hard as any of their PVC brethren.
“It’s amazing that we get so many kids out considering we don’t have the facilities like Brewer, Bangor and Orono,” Fecinta said.
Plus, having one of the state’s top athletes in Pelletier — also a standout soccer player who is considering going to UMaine-Fort Kent in the fall — puts the Warriors on Maine’s track and field map.
“I know that we’re a small school and way far up north and don’t go to a lot of meets because of travel and expenses and that sort of thing, but I think at this point more people expect to see her at bigger meets and she’s learned a lot from going to those bigger meets,” Fecinta said.
Fecinta added that the school’s baseball field is in great condition, while the Warriors’ dirt track wasn’t affected by last spring’s flooding.
“We did lose probably a week of practice time,” Fecinta said.
Park dribbling to Salem
One of the state’s top basketball players has found a home for next season.
Madeline Park, who led George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill to the Class C state championship game this winter, will continue her basketball career and studies at Division III Salem State College (Mass.) in the fall.
Park, a BDN All-Maine third-team selection and the MVP of the Eastern Maine Class C tournament, averaged 18.8 points and eight rebounds per game last season for coach Don Allen’s Eagles.
Bucking the competition
If one needs further proof the Bucksport boys are going to be the team to beat in the Class C track and field ranks this spring, have a look at the Golden Bucks’ results from their opening meet Friday at Hampden.
Not only did the Bucks finish an impressive second, they came one event short of defeating four-time defending PVC large-school champion Bangor, stringing together a number of fine performances from quality athletes such as Vincent Tymozcko, Dom Kone and Nate Warren.
Kone and Tymozcko each won two individual events.
“We got a big confidence boost from competing [with] and even going beyond these bigger schools. It feels really good,” said Tymozcko, who won the 400- and 200-meter dashes.
It’s not as though Bucksport hasn’t been in contending scenarios before. It won the Class C state championship in 2004, with that team being led by Tymozcko’s older brother Nick, a former sprinting and hurdling star and standout running back at the school.
Plus, Vincent Tymozcko and Warren have enjoyed recent success in football, achievements they’re hoping will transpire onto the track.
“They’ve set their goals high, they’ve been working to mean it,” said Bucksport coach Adrian Stone.
“They have the experience and that’s helped us a lot.”
Warren is the reigning Class C state champion in the 100 meters.
Other key athletes for Bucksport include Jon Goodin, Colin Whalen, Jason Swazey, Jonathan Grindle, Zach Ivers, Sam Sheehan, River Robertson, CJ Breidt, Robert McGuire and Mitchell Marks.