BAR HARBOR, Maine — When Ally Vanidestine blasted through the finish line to win the girls’ 400-meter dash at Friday night’s Penobscot Valley Conference Large School Championships, she had a look of bewilderment.
The Bangor High School freshman knew she had hammered out yet another fast time, but when she noticed that she had broken the illusive 1-minute barrier, she just smiled.
“I was really surprised, but I just went out there and did my best,” said the humble Vanidestine, who put down a 59.50-second time.
That effort led a 1-5-6 Rams’ surge in the 400, with Brittney Chapman and Laken Thomas also garnering points, and coach Joe Quinn’s club never looked back en route to their sixth consecutive PVC championship.
The Rams rolled up 143.3 points to easily outdistance runner-up Caribou, which totaled 99.3 points.
Brewer finished third in the nine-school field with 91.3 points, while Old Town took fourth with 80 and MDI claiming fifth with 63.5
The Bangor boys made it a clean sweep, claiming its fifth championship in six seasons with a similarly impressive performance, totaling 140 points.
Second-place MDI was 61 points back with 79, while defending champion Hampden Academy finished third with 74, followed by Caribou (72) and Brewer (70).
Outstanding Performer awards went to Bangor’s Vanidestine on the girls’ side and Hampden’s Darik Frye for the boys, while Coach of the Year winners were Caribou’s Roy Alden for the girls and Rod White of Old Town for the boys.
Vanidestine wound up with two individual wins, including her 400 effort and a 26.71 finish in the 200 dash, a second-place finish in the 100 dash while she finished her day by running third on Bangor’s winning 1600-meter relay team, which also included Thomas, Emma Hardy and Chapman.
Even though it looked like she was staring at the clock upon finishing the open 400, Vanidestine admitted that wasn’t the case.
“I don’t know what I was looking at that point,” she said. “I was just focusing on getting past the finish line.”
Vanidestine later added the team championship meant more to her than the individual honors.
Classmate Denae Johnson picked up two individual wins and set a new PVC benchmark in the process, clocking a 15.27 in the 100 hurdles to break Dee Wilbur’s 2009 standard of 15.66.
She also won the 300’s in 48.00 while teammate Grace Maclean was second in both hurdle races and the high and long jumps.
“It definitely feels good and the freshmen coming in have done an amazing job this year. I’m very proud of everyone,” said Champan, who helped Bangor’s 4×4 finish with a 4:18.04.
Junior Hillary Throckmorton was Bangor’s other individual winner, uncorking a throw of 101 feet, 1 inch to take the javelin.
“It’s more of a team effort, and our coaches all did a good job this year,” Chapman said. “I don’t have one bad thing to say about today.”
Chapman also earned sixth in the 200 dash, where Denae Johnson was third while sister Deidre, a junior, claimed fourth in the triple jump and Mckenna Unobskey earned fourth in the discus.
Caribou posted several top finishes to medal for the first time in a PVC championship since 2004, when the Vikings were led by former University of Maine star Lindsay Burlock.
Paige Small and Emily Soderberg finished 1-2 in the 1600 race walk while Olivia Sleeper was fifth in the 100 dash, third in the 400, fourth in the 200 and anchored Caribou’s second-place 1600 relay team.
Caribou also flexed its muscles in the distance events, with Mackenzie Belyea and Mary Jo Sheehan going 2-3 in the 3200 and Dayna Michaud, Katie Plourde, Meredith Sleeper and Kendra Stephens running 10:34.16 to finish second to MDI (10:25.54) in the 3200 relay.
In the boys’ competition, the Rams had several different athletes rise to the forefront, and even though they had only three individual champs on the night — including two wins from Ben Sinclair — they wore the rest of the field down with numbers.
“We scored points early, it was nice, we got out there and managed to keep it together,” said senior Joey Quinn — the coach’s son — who won the discus with a toss of 150-1.
“I didn’t get what I really wanted, but I broke 150 for the first time so that makes me happy,” he said.
Distance man Sam Nisbett had another strong day, anchoring the Rams’ second-place 3200 relay team, gutting out a third-place run in the 1600 and claiming the 3200 in a season-best 10:03.58.
Nisbett was a tad weary after running a hard 4×8 leg against HA’s Frye, but it all worked out for him in the end.
“I came into that mile just to see what I could do, when I got to lap two I realized I wasn’t going to be able to stay up with them, so I just tried to hold on to third and save up for that 2 mile,” Nisbett said.
Sinclair posted winning times of 11.41 in the 100, 23.24 in the 200 while he was third in the 400 and anchored Bangor’s winning 400 relay team.
“There were some great contributions, we have a really deep team this year so I think it really helped us,” Nisbett said.
Among other key contributors were Josiah Hartley, who was second in the 110 hurdles, ran a leg on the 400 relay, along with Josh Dyer and Jonathan Glazier, while placing third in the 300 hurdles and second in the shot put.
“Josiah really stepped up today. I don’t know if he’s ever done outdoor track before but he really stepped up and helped us today,” Nisbett said.
Frye earned meet bragging rights in a big way, anchoring winning 4×800 and 4×400 teams for Hampden while completing a tough 400-800 double in impressive fashion.
“I like it a lot,” he said of the double. “The 400’s a great event, both the 400 and the 800 are nothing but guts races. I guess I enjoy pain a lot.”
Frye was timed in 50.77 in the 400 and 1:59.58 in the 800, and he posted a split of 1:58 in the 4×8, including a 53-second first 400, to reel in Bangor’s Nisbett.
Frye also used Bangor’s Sinclair as a pace man in the 400, and the Broncos’ senior simply had more left in the tank down the homestretch.
“He’s a real fast guy, I love the way he runs, he just runs all out the first 200 meters, and just keeps going,” said Frye, who will attend the Air Force Academy, where he plans to run track.
Quinn was satisfied with the Rams’ team championship after Bangor finished second to Hampden on its home track last spring.
“It feels really good winning it again, our sophomore year when we won it I don’t know if I played a role in it at all, but I remember getting the trophy and it was kind of nice,” said Quinn, who was also fourth in the shot put.