ORONO, Maine — A spectacular Penobscot Valley Conference-Eastern Maine Indoor Track League season filled with record-breaking performances wrapped up Friday night with even more highlight-reel efforts at the University of Maine.
Four league records were set — including two in the pole vault by athletes who etched themselves into history earlier this winter — while a nearly four-decade old mark was broken in the 55-meter dash.
In addition, the Bangor boys and girls teams walked out of the New Balance Field House with team titles in some thrilling team competitions.
The Rams’ girls overcame outstanding performances by MDI’s Tia Tardy and Ashley Anderson to claim the girls title with 81 points, and the Trojans were second with 70, 58 of those coming from Tardy and Anderson.
Rounding out the top five were Old Town (56), Hampden (51) and George Stevens of Blue Hill (46).
For the boys, Bangor bettered MDI by a 68-61 count, and reigning league champ Brewer scored 57.
Hampden (55) and Old Town (45) rounded out the top five.
Outstanding Performer honors went to Tardy, who swept all three distance races, and Hampden Academy’s Paul Casavant, who claimed the mile and 2-mile and participated on a third-place 4×800 relay team.
Brewer’s Austin Lufkin had an admittedly disappointing day by his standards in the shot put, in spite of a remarkable winning toss of 59 feet, 4 inches.
Lufkin last weekend became the first boy in EMITL history to break 60 feet, throwing 61-5¼ to break his own league record again.
“I’m not the happiest with the way I threw, but I’m happy I got the win,” said Lufkin, who added that his record-breaking throw on Feb. 4 “was so awesome.”
More importantly, two other Witches, Jacob McCluskey (2nd) and Evan Lee (6th) joined Lufkin on the podium, giving his team 19 points and a shot at another title.
“It’s been that way for a couple years,” Lufkin said. “Brewer’s had a great throwing team.”
Hampden pole vaulting standout Johann Bradley continued to rewrite the record books, breaking his own mark of 14-3¼ by soaring over 14-6.
“It was a really good jump, I just had a great inversion and turnover,” said Bradley.
Bradley subsequently tried for 15 feet but went 0-for-3 at that height, narrowly missing on his final attempt.
But he certainly is going home satisfied after entering the season not expecting to break records.
“Honestly, I just wanted to see how high I could get,” Bradley said.
Washington Academy of East Machias’ Oneko Lowe snapped a 55 dash record (6.4 seconds, hand-timed) that had been held by Bucksport’s Greg Harrison since 1979 by posting a 6.64 clocking. Lowe also won the long jump.
George Stevens Academy distance ace John Hassett came close to the league’s 800 record, clocking in at 1:57.09, narrowly missing Steven DeWitt’s 2002 mark of 1:56.42.
Hassett’s time was good for a new UMaine facility record, though, which is pretty good considering he’s been battling a nasal infection all week.
“Really for the last month I’ve been sporadically training,” Hassett said, citing shin issues he had earlier this winter.
“It was definitely reassuring,” Hassett said of Friday’s win. “I’m looking to do some cool things [at the state meet].”
While Bangor did not field an individual winner, distance man Gabe Coffey earned two-second place finishes in the mile and 2-mile while he helped the Rams’ 4×800 relay team win that event. Dominik Lizotte earned a second-place finish in the 55 hurdles.
Hampden’s Casavant was timed in 4:31.81 and 9:52.33, respectively, in his two victories.
In the girls meet, MDI’s Tardy started the night with a clocking of 5:02.81, won a thrilling 800 in a great race with Orono’s Becky Lopez-Anido, finishing in 2:19.90, and finished it off by claiming the 2-mile in 11:40.73.
A distance triple is a mentally challenging thing for any distance runner, but it’s something Tardy has down to a science, and it showed.
“The 2-mile is the hardest to mentally prepare for because it’s the last thing,” Tardy said, “and you want to just relax and stuff.”
The middle race, the 800, which also happens to be Tardy’s favorite, can be the most challenging, but a thrilling race with Lopez-Anido, who ran 2:20.84, made it plenty satisfying for Tardy.
“It was really good to race with her again,” Tardy said. “I don’t think I’ve done it since outdoor.”
Tardy fell short of her league mile record of 4:55.23, but she was quick to put things in perspective.
“We’re really targeting toward the end of the season,” said Tardy, who needs to run 4:59 to qualify for the national championships. “Going into states I know I’m going to have a ton of competition, there’s a lot of great girls down there.”
Bangor’s Rihan Smallwood continued her assault on the EMITL record books in helping the Rams claim their league championship, becoming the first girl in league history to clear 11 feet in the pole vault, winning the event at that height.
Her previous league standard was 10-9, which she had cleared last weekend.
Katie O’Brien, a junior at Orono High School broke the EMITL and facility
record in the long jump with a jump of 17-7¾, eclipsing the mark of 17-6 ¾ held by Bangor’s Grace McLean.
The Rams had led MDI by only three points heading into the 4×200 relay, but Bangor cemented its team championship with a second-place run.
In fact, Smallwood was Bangor’s lone individual winner, but a 2-3-6 finish in the 200 from Lynn Boettcher, Mykayla Hoggard and Demitria Givens gave the Rams 15 crucial points.
MDI’s Anderson was second in the 55 while winning both the 400 and 200.
This story was corrected on Feb. 11 to reflect that there were four PVC-EMITL records set in the meet. Orono junior Katie O’Brien set the league and high school facility record with a long jump of 17-7¾.