Steve Vanidestine is keeping his fingers crossed.
The Bangor High School athletic director is the site director for the 76th annual New England Interscholastic Outdoor Track and Field Championship, which will be held for the first time ever in Bangor at Cameron Stadium on Saturday.
He is hoping to catch a break from the rainy weather pattern that has plagued the area all week, saying the only thing he’s worried about is thunder and lightning after the massive renovation to the facility was completed in 2021. It includes a brand new eight-lane track.
“When we built this, this is what we were hoping to do,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to make this a great event.”
Bangor High track coach Al Mosca, whose girls team won its third straight state outdoor Class A title a week ago at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham to go with its three consecutive indoor championships, said he wants this to be remembered as a “special event” by the seniors because this will be the last time they will be participating in a track meet in New England.
“I want them to feel like they are stepping into the Los Angeles Coliseum or Hayward Field [at the University of Oregon],” he said.
Mosca added that the event will be good for recruiting purposes, also, as the athletes will receive valuable exposure.
Vanidestine and his staff have added more bleachers and portable toilets, there will be several food vendors and they have rented a big screen to be placed at the finish line. It will also bring in substantial revenue to the area, and the community will get to see some “amazing athletes” who set facility records that could go unbroken for a while, Mosca said.
“This is something you don’t get to see every day,” he said.
There are four athletes that have already broken the records set at previous New England championships who could be in attendance this weekend.
University of Michigan-bound Nathan Lopez from St. John’s Prep in Massachusetts has clocked a time of 8:56.29 in the 3200-meter run. The New England state meet mark is 8:58.16.
Joshua Mooney from Stonington High School in Connecticut ran the 110-meter hurdles in 13.58. The NE meet record is 13.90.
Jacob Cookinham from Bishop Stang in Mass. threw the shot put 65-08, three inches further than the NE mark.
And Hillhouse (Conn.) sprinter Leonaya Knox has posted a time of 14.01 in the 100-meter hurdles and the NE mark is 14.07.
The Maine state representatives will be the state champions in each event from the three classes and three wild card selections. There won’t be team scores.
“Maine kids have held their own in the New Englands,” said Mosca, who added that he is glad his athletes can participate without having to travel, especially on a weekend when several schools in the region have graduation activities.
This will be the first outdoor New England meet for his star sprinter Anna Connors, who missed last year’s with a quad injury. She won the 100, 200 and 400 at last weekend’s state meet and ran a leg for the triumphant 4-by-400 relay team and finished second a year ago in the 300 at the New England Indoor championships in Massachusetts.