TOPSHAM, Maine — Winning three consecutive championships is as monumental a task as you’ll find in sports, especially in an unpredictable one such as track and field.
For the Bangor High School girls, that accomplishment was all the sweeter given the challenges the Rams hurdled Saturday afternoon.
And fittingly, as the Rams clinched their Class A three-peat with a win in the 4×400-meter relay, the baton was in the hands of senior sprinter Anna Connors.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to have it happen,” said Bangor coach Alan Mosca, whose Rams overcame brutal weather conditions and a tough Scarborough team, holding off the Red Storm 100 points to 80.25.
Portland finished third with 69.50 points, while Brewer’s 54.50 and Brunswick’s 47 rounded out the top five.
Bangor became just the second Class A girls program to win three straight state outdoor championships and three state indoor titles in the same school year.
In a tight boys meet, Brunswick held off Falmouth by placing third in the 4×400 relay.
Coach Dan Dearing’s club finished with 76 points while the Navigators tallied 73.
Bonny Eagle finished third with 63, while Bangor accumulated 22 points to finish 12th.
Chilly winds and steady rain prompted Maine Principals Association officials to delay the meet for nearly two hours shortly after 1 p.m.
Officials had postponed the girls pole vault when the skies opened, but as the rain grew steadier, officials decided to pause the meet after the boys 100-meter dash finals.
Action resumed shortly before 3:30 p.m.
The meet marked the finales for two of the state’s most dignified track and field coaches.
Longtime Brewer coach Glendon Rand and veteran Mount Ararat coach Diane Fournier are both retiring from coaching at the end of the season.
Rand had coached the Witches cross country and spring track teams for more than three decades, while Fournier has been a coach and official for nearly 50 years. Fournier was honored by the MPA and presented with a plaque.
While Connors was her usual outstanding self in sweeping the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes and anchoring Bangor’s 4×400-meter relay team, it was the Rams’ depth that ultimately put them over the top.
“This is definitely one of the deeper teams we’ve ever had,” said Mosca, who pointed to his depth in the throwing events as a key factor in Bangor holding off Scarborough.
Between the discus, shot put and javelin, the Rams accumulated 20 points to the Red Storm’s 0.
That included a 4-6 finish from Katie McCarthy and Abby Quinn in the discus, while Julia Bassi and Emma Mcneil went 1-7 in the shot put. Bassi won with a toss of 36 feet, 5.50 inches, enabling Bangor to enter the meet’s final event with an insurmountable cushion.
It didn’t hurt that the University of Connecticut-bound Connors was her usual dominant self, posting winning times of 11.95 in the 100, 57.44 in the 400 and 25.23 in the 200.
“I knew it was going to be a fight just because of the forecast and my competition,” said Connors, who took advantage of the delay to rest and find a new gear after winning the 100 meters.
“I kind of liked it. It gave me a chance to eat and re-energize for the 400,” Connors said.
In the capping 4×400, Katie McCarthy, Maddie Cyr, Callie Tennett and Connors got the baton around the track in 4 minutes, 9.38 seconds, with Connors anchoring and smiling most of the last half-lap.
“It was so nice, it was such a fun experience to be with my team and to win that last race with them too,” Connors said.
Maddie Cyr and Callie Tennett earned fifth and seventh-place finishes in the 400, while Katie McCarthy and Abby Quinn went 4-6 in the discus for the Rams.
Bangor’s 4×800-meter relay team of Taylor King, Clara Oldenburg, Ava Pelkey and Katie McCarthy tabulated a fourth-place finish while McCarthy later finished fourth in the 800-meter run.
Abby Macdonald and Bridget Frazier contributed a 3-4 finish in the 1600-meter race walk for Bangor.
Brewer freshman Easnadh Nobel-To’olo had herself an outstanding day, capturing gold in the long jump with a leap of 17 feet even.
Nobel-To’olo also was third in the triple jump, while teammate Lauren Vanidestine was second.
In the boys meet, Hampden Academy senior Charlie Collins, who will attend the University of Maine in the fall, posted a pair of impressive times on a brutal day for distance running.
Collins was second in the 1600 meters in 4:14.49 in a great duel with Maddox Jordan of Noble, who overtook Collins with 200 meters to go to break the tape in 4:12.72.
Collins endured a similar battle with Scarborough’s Adam Bendetson in the 3,200, but Collins surged over the last half-mile to win in 9:12.99, good for a state record.
“Maddox is an incredible runner,” Collins said of his 1,600-meter battle. “I knew if I left it up to the last 400 meters, it would’ve been incredibly hard to fight with him for that.”
As it turned out, Collins used that very strategy to outfox Bendetson in the 3,200, waiting until the last lap and a half to make his move before surging to the win.
“I got in that race and just glued my eyes to his back,” said Collins. “I didn’t look at the track once. I planned on going at like 800 again but I decided to go at 500 and just hammered it home.”
Brunswick’s 4×400 meter relay team entered the final event needing a sixth-place finish to enable no worse than a tie with Falmouth, but the Dragons’ quartet of Ethan Patterson, Miles Logan, Spencer Stadnicki and Luke Patterson ran to a third-place finish to seal it.
“We knew we had a shot, but we also knew the other teams were really talented and it was going to be a tough day,” said Brunswick coach Dan Dearing, a Millinocket native.
Dearing pointed to sophomore sprinter Justin Corporon, who was second in the 100 dash and fourth in the 200, Luke Patterson’s fourth-place finish in the 110 hurdles and victory in the 300 hurdles and the 2-3 finish of Logan and Eli Palmer in the 800 as key factors in the Dragons taking home the trophy.
Brewer junior Colby Largay was the other local individual winner with a heave of 48 feet, 3.60 inches in the shot put.