LEWISTON, Maine — Saturday was a tale of what-might-have-been for the Lewiston boys’ track and field team and what-is-and-what’s-going-to-be for the Edward Little girls.
Juniors Alex Hunt and Eraleena Hairston and sophomore Anna Beaudet all won events for the Red Eddies, who regained their team title for the first time since 2011 in the fifth-annual River City Rivals meet at Don Roux Field.
In addition to the individual victories, junior Olivia Paione, sophomore Katie Ferrara and freshman Victoria Beliveau joined Beaudet in securing a deluge of second-place points for the Red Eddies. The lone senior notching significant numbers on EL’s behalf was University of Maine-bound hockey player Taylor Landry, a newcomer to track.
“We’ve really had to put them in the situation where they’ve had to win the points as sophomores and juniors a lot,” EL girls’ coach Calvin Hunter said. “They perform well. They do awesome work. But it’s a lot of pressure for a 16-year-old girl to have to score the points for the team, and at the same time the seniors are showing them how to do it.”
The meet showcases Edward Little and Lewiston from the banks of the Androscoggin against Penobscot neighbors Bangor and Brewer. EL won the girls’ meet in 2010 and 2011 before Bangor enjoyed a two-year run.
Lewiston pushed EL to the finish, falling by an 87-81 count. Brewer, led by Synclaire Tasker’s four wins, was third at 65 points, followed by the defending champion Rams with 43.
It was even closer and more agonizing for the Blue Devils on the boys’ side, where Brewer walked off with the trophy for the first time by a narrow 86-82.5 margin. It overshadowed a brilliant day for Lewiston junior Isaiah Harris, who blazed to victory in the 200 and 400 meters and anchored the victorious 4×400 and 4×800 relay squads.
“We rested a couple of kids and we put kids in certain things, just trying to sharpen kids up for KVACs. I would love to have won the meet, because we’ve never won the trophy that goes with this before,” Lewiston boys’ coach T.J. Niles said. “We had a bunch of kids that showed up late, a bunch of kids I had to scratch. I had a kid disappear during the meet and he probably would have won the mile. Just him finishing the mile and we would have won.”
Bangor’s boys were third with 69 points, with 10-time reigning KVAC champion Edward Little an uncharacteristic fourth with 54.5.
Hairston won the discus and was second in shot put to lead the EL girls, who also reaped victories from Hunt in javelin and Beaudet in long jump.
Hunter called Hairston’s win a return to form. The defending conference discus champ put it more bluntly than that.
“I’ve had kind of a sucky season,” Hairston said. “I know what type of person I am. I just came in and had my mind cleared. The mentality I had, I just knew I was going to kill it.”
In addition to her long jump triumph by a five-inch margin over teammate Landry, Beaudet was runner-up in the 100 and 200. She also snagged second in the 4×100 with along with Landry and two more sophomores, Kailey Norcross and Ferrara.
Other second-place finishers were Landry in triple jump, Ferrara in 300 hurdles, Beliveau in the race walk, and Paione in the 400 and 4×400.
“I think all around it was just a team commitment,” Hunter said. “We talked about this morning that this is the start of our championship season. We said we need to treat this like a championship meet, and they came in and they did. Distance, sprints and throws, they went after it, and we had good performances all around.”
Lewiston produced six individual winners, most notably Faith Shaw and Farhiyo Aden, who won the 800 and 1,600, respectively, while also posting 4×400 and 4×800 relay victories.
The winning 4×800 (10:33.93) and 4×100 (51.08) times set school records.
“Pretty much we fell where we were expected to, and people did improve,” Lewiston girls’ coach Dani Paul said. “People were where they should be going into KVACs next week.”
Heather Kendall posted wins in the 100 and 4×100. Nicole Footer won the 3,200, Kayla Allen aced the race walk and Jazlyn Dumas topped the high jump.
Tasker was responsible for 40 of Brewer’s points, courtesy of both hurdle events, the 200 and triple jump. Felicity Palmer (400 meters) was Bangor’s lone winner.
Brewer demonstrated both individual prowess and team depth on its way to hoisting the boys’ cup.
Tobias Roestel led a top-five sweep by the Witches in the 800. The Lufkin brothers, senior Adam and freshman Austin, won the discus and shot put. Nick Turner led both the long jump and high jump, and Luke Rand ruled the 3,200.
But the highlight of the day arguably was Harris erasing Brewer’s 10-second lead on his first lap of the 4×800. The split time was a blistering 52 seconds.
“I ended up 1:53, and I know I’m in (personal record) position now with that speed. That’s what I ran last year at New Englands, when I came in second (in the individual 800),” Harris said. “Hopefully I can get a little bit faster. That’s one second off the Maine all-time best. That’s what I’m shooting for.”
Harris led a 1-2-3 Lewiston finish in the 400, breaking his own school record in 49.63 seconds with Daud Idow and Hassan Mohamed in tow.
“And it started pouring just before that race,” Niles said. “I put together a stacked 400 because I wanted to give everybody confidence going into KVACs and states. It went well individual time-wise.”
Mohamed also was a winner in the 100 over EL’s trio of Hunter Martin, Trey Rogers and Jeff Clark.
The Red Eddies’ sprinters otherwise were held in check by the injury bug.
“That fast heat of the 200 where there were three empty lanes? That was supposed to be our three guys. They all scratched for various reasons,” EL boys’ coach Ryan LaRoche said. “I think in 10 years I only had one or two injuries to really key people, but it’s all happening this year.”
EL received wins from Spencer Dunn (race walk), Cole Butler (javelin) and Bradley Morissette (triple jump), who also took second in long jump and third in high jump.
Lewiston’s weakened roster didn’t stop the Devils from winning the mile. Osman Doorow took top honors.
Brady Vanidestine (110 and 300 hurdles) and Garrett Johnson (pole vault) picked up victories for Bangor, which had won the boys’ meet the past two years.