DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — After winning three events and coming in second in a fourth, all Don Boyer of Foxcroft Academy could do for the final event in the Penobscot Valley Conference Small School Track and Field Boys Championship on Monday was cheer on his teammates.
The host Ponies led rival Orono by seven points going into the 4 by 400-meter relay. All they had to do was finish fourth or better to claim the boys championship.
“Orono’s gotten first over us the past couple of years,” said Boyer as the race got underway. “Hopefully, we can get them this year, but we knew it would be close.”
Foxcroft did finish fourth, earning four points and closing out the Red Riots, who finished second in the event and the meet. Orono picked up eight points as the runner-up to Central of Corinth.
“That’s the best part of track, a really dramatic finish,” said a smiling Rob Weber, in his first year as the FA outdoor track and field coach. He has been the indoor coach for five years.
“I had a feeling it come down to the 4-by-,” said Orono coach Chris Libby. “The Foxcroft boys are awfully tough.”
Foxcroft posted 135 points, and Orono ended with 132. They were followed in the 15-team field by Central with 87, Bangor Christian 48, Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln 39, Washington Academy of East Machias 34 and Dexter 26.
The Orono girls scored 223 points to run away with that crown. John Bapst of Bangor was the runner-up at 115, followed by Piscataquis of Guilford at 37, Foxcroft at 35, George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill 23, Bangor Christian 22 and Bucksport and Fort Kent tied for sixth at 20.
Many of the teams and competitors will return to Foxcroft Academy on Saturday for the Class C state championships.
For the boys Monday, Boyer set the tone for FA as he was named Performer of the Meet after he won the 110-meter hurdles (15.16 seconds), the 300-meter hurdles (41.91) and the long jump (21 feet, 1/4 inch) and came in second in the high jump when he tied at 6 feet but had more misses than Ben Miller of Bangor Christian.
“I’ve been doing hurdles this year a lot, trying to get in every week,” he said. “Long jump I just started a few weeks ago. I’ve only tripled and [high jumped before].
Boyer had already figured out why the high jump might be a struggle for him.
“I gained a little bit of weight in the offseason,” he said with a smile. “The hurdles are definitely my big event now.”
Boyer was also the LTC Player of the Year in football and the Performer of the Meet in the EMITL Championships and thinks the two sports are a good combo.
“I’ve definitely gotten faster in the track sense and the football sense [by doing both],” said the FA senior. “I think it has helped me a lot. Flexibility, too. They definitely go hand-in-hand.”
“Not only is he a stud physically,” said Libby in praising Boyer, “when it counts he has one more level than other [competitors].”
At best, though, Boyer was going to be able to provide only between 35 and 40 of his team’s points, so the other Ponies dug deep to help.
“There were some unexpected kids who stepped up and outperformed their seeds,” said Weber.
“That [loss] was a little tough to swallow” after winning the previous three years, said Libby, but he praised the Ponies. “Certainly, their coaches prepared them well and chose their entries well,” said Libby.
FA’s Ryan Wang won the 400 (52.93), anchored the winning 4-by-100 relay (46.75) and added seconds in the 100 and 200 dashes. Corey Bjornson topped the discus (121-4) and the shot put (45-2 1/4) to add two more firsts for the Ponies.
David Frederick led the Riots’ charge, starting with setting the lone PVC record after he cleared 13-9 in the pole vault, breaking the mark of 13-3 put up by Tristan Wortman of Brewer in 2011.
“I felt pretty good about my jumping all week. Things were looking pretty good in warmups, and I think I did pretty well today,” said Frederick, a senior.
He didn’t get nervous as the bar went up either. He didn’t even start until 11-6, which was a foot-and-a-half higher than the runners-up, teammates Norton Revell and Eden Dulin.
“I get more comfortable on the higher heights because I tend to fall on the lower heights as I come down,” he said.
Frederick also won the javelin (143-8), was third in the 300 hurdles and ran the third leg on the final relay.
Bangor Christian’s Dylan Merchant won the 800 and 1,600 runs.
On the girls’ side, Abby Weigang of Orono was the top performer after winning the 100 hurdles, the 300 hurdles and the pole vault and running the anchor leg of the victorious 4-by-400 relay team.
Weigang, a sophomore, was aided by Lily Koffman, who swept the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, and numerous single-event wins by her teammates.
“Everyone’s been doing well, and when other people do well, everyone else wants to do well, too,” said Koffman. “The whole team atmosphere has been real good this year.”
“The girls have a lot of depth this year in almost all the events,” said coach Libby.
He did say that there was some up and down among his girls’ performances, but they balanced out.
“The fact we had some lower seeds step up was big for us today,” said Libby.
Sophomore Fern Morrison gave Foxcroft a pair of wins in the 200 (28.36) and 400 (1:00.92) dashes.