ORONO, Maine — Hampden Academy head coach Dave King was confident his boys team could pull of a PVC/Eastern Maine Indoor Track League championship victory, however as the 4×200-meter relay went off, the final event, he nearly had second thoughts Saturday at the New Balance Field House.
“The boys were never out of it,” King said. “I thought they could win this race,”
Hampden led Mount Desert Island by two points heading into the event, and it looked as if MDI would tie with Hampden as its anchor crossed the finish line three seconds ahead. However, MDI and Old Town were disqualified due to physical contact on the final corner and the Hampden boys prevailed, compiling 85 points to MDI’s 73.
“I think it’s the first time we’ve swept this meet,” laughed King.
Old Town placed third in the meet with 70 points and was followed by Bangor (62), Brewer (55), Foxcroft Academy (26), Orono (22), Sumner (16), Hermon (15) and Central of Corinth (10).
It was less dramatic on the girls side as Hampden outdistanced Orono with 83.5 to 72. Despite not having any individual winners, the Broncos were able to rely on a steady performance from senior Emily Tripp who garnered 14 points, placing second in the long jump and third in the triple jump.
The Broncos also picked up another 14 points in the 200-meter dash from juniors Krystal Grant and Brook Hardy as they placed second and third, respectively.
Orono junior Lauren Stoops won the 200 with a time of 27.02 seconds. It was her third win of the day as she ran past the field in the 55-meter hurdles and broke the facility record in the 55-meter dash, sprinting to 7.47 seconds. She was named the co-outstanding performer of the meet along with sophomore distance runner Tia Tardy of Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln.
“I was really nervous,” said Stoops. “But my coach reminded me that we have been training for 12 weeks, so that calmed me down a little bit,”
With the state meet looming Monday, Feb. 16, Stoops is eager to compete against the best sprinter in Maine, Kate Hall from Lake Region.
“I’m excited to race her,” she said. “I’m hoping she can pull me to another personal record,”
Tardy continued her stellar season as she completed the daunting distance triple, winning the 800, mile and two mile. She cruised in the longer races of the mile and two mile but faced stiff competition in the 800 as she battled Orono’s Rebecca Lopez-Anido all the way to the finish, winning the race in 2:23.48.
“I knew coming into it the she (Anido) would be right there,” Tardy said. “So I wasn’t focused on time, she always gives me a challenge,”
Lopez-Anido finished in 2:24.18 and also broke the facility record in the 400-meter run as she became the first girl to break 60 seconds in the event at the New Balance Field House, clocking a 59.88 time. The 800 turned out to be a preview of next week’s state meet as Tardy and Lopez-Anido both plan on running the event.
“I think I will be focusing on the 800 next week,” said Tardy.
Old Town finished third in the meet with 50.5 points and was followed by Bangor (43), MDI (34), Ellsworth (31), Mattanawcook (30), Hermon (25), Brewer (23), Foxcroft (15), Bucksport (8), John Bapst (8), Central (6) and Sumner (1).
On the boys side, Hampden Academy sophomore Paul Casavant continued his winning season as he also completed the distance triple, winning the mile and two mile, and placing second in the 800-meter race to MDI senior Ralph Magnani. Magnani set the facility record in the race as he broke two minutes, running 1:59.50. Casavant’s performance earned him the male outstanding performer of the meet.
“I was pretty happy with the way things went today,” said Casavant. “I was a little disappointed in the 800. He just out-kicked me, but I’m really excited with how the team did as well.”
In his first event of the day, Casavant planned to conserve energy in the mile, running 4:38.43, but in the 800 faced Magnani, who came into the meet with the fastest time in Class B. Casavant finished in 2:01.06, a personal best, and then came back to win the two mile, running away from everyone and winning by nearly 40 seconds with a 10:12.66 time.
“I had to run the mile conservatively because I knew i would have a challenge in the 800,” Casavant said. “I just had to give everything I had left in the two mile,”
He is eager to compete against the top distance runners from Western Maine next week, but knows it will be a challenge.
“The competition is very different down there with teams like Scarborough, Deering and Falmouth, but it’s really exciting to go into states next week,” he said.
MDI was able to nearly pull of a victory from strong performances from Magnani who also anchored the 4×800 relay team, and junior Ryan Bender, who set a facility record in the long jump, marking a distance of 20 feet, 10 inches.