BATH — If defending its KVAC crown wasn’t enough motivation for the Lewiston boys’ track and field team heading into the conference championship meet Saturday at McMann Field, the Blue Devils found plenty more just a week earlier in Bangor.
Having rolled through many of its meets over the course of the regular season, Lewiston found out what second place felt like, finishing behind Edward Little at the River Rivals meet. The Blue Devils vowed not to taste defeat again.
“We’ve won a lot of our meets by beating everybody by twice as many points, and I think they got, I wouldn’t say cocky, but just thinking that we’re going to go out and kick everybody’s butt. It doesn’t happen like that,” Lewiston coach Paul Soracco said. “Not that I like to lose by any means, but it really woke them up in practice this week and gives us some ammunition to push through the week to get them ready for this weekend. They came out and responded.”
Lewiston returned to its familiar spot atop the podium Saturday, claiming a second consecutive KVAC title and third in the program’s history. The Blue Devils finished with 128 points, 14.5 points clear of the Red Eddies, who took second. Brunswick (111.5), Messalonskee (85) and Mt. Blue (58.5) rounded out the top five.
The boys weren’t the only ones holding a championship plaque at the end of the day. For the first time ever, the girls reigned supreme in the KVAC. The Blue Devils finished 30 points clear of second-place Edward Little with 125 points. The girls’ title comes just two years after the team placed eighth at the conference championship meet.
Both Lewiston squads won six events, including sweeps of the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Heather Kendall won both individual titles on the girls’ side, posting 12.76 seconds in the 100 and 26.39 in the 200. The Blue Devils went 1-2 in the 200 with Adela Kalilwa taking second in 27.03.
“Way more competition,” Kendall said. “It’s pushing me a lot more. Dealing with the heat isn’t that great because of all the cold earlier. It’s been a good day with more competition to push me.”
Hassan “Speedy” Mohamed defended his KVAC title in the 100 in 11.38 seconds but was unable to run the 200 after going down with in injury in the final leg of the 400. Mohamed was running first when his leg cramped up and he fell to the track, posting a did-not-finish in the event and ending his day.
Mohamed’s injury added even more motivation for the Blue Devils.
“I was way across the field when I saw it and I ran over here to make sure he was OK,” Lewiston senior Isaiah Harris said. “We really took a hit in the 200 because he definitely could have placed for us and in the 400 he was in the lead and didn’t get to finish. Everybody knew they had to step it up for Speedy. Every time we’d do a race we’d be like ‘This one’s for Speedy.’
Harris provided crucial points for Lewiston in the 200 with Mohamed sidelined, winning the event in 22.65. He set a new KVAC record in the 800 run not long after, completing the race in 1:54.37. The previous record of 1:56.14 was set by Will Geoghegan in 2010.
“We just have a great group of people,” Harris said. “Most of us have been together since eighth grade. It’s our senior year, everybody wants to do big things their senior year, so that drove us and it was enough.”
Harris wasn’t the only Blue Devil to break a record on the day. Kayla Allen rewrote the record books in the 1,600 race walk with a time of 7:30.95, a little more than two seconds faster than Abby Dunn’s previous mark in 2011. Allen won the race over a minute.
The Blue Devils won five events after seeing their teammate go down, including Osman Doorow’s victory in the two-mile run by two-hundredths of a second over Mt. Blue’s Aaron Willingham.
“My heart sank knowing (Speedy) could be hurt and lost for the season and also losing points in that race and points in the 200,” Soracco said. “But having Isaiah step up and winning the 200 and hearing the kids saying, ‘I’ve got your back.’ I love it.”
Kalilwa in the long jump and Jazlyn Dumas in the high jump provided Lewiston’s victory in the field events.
The field events were where Edward Little made its mark. The Red Eddies finished on the podium in all but the boys’ shot put and discus. The girls had a top-four finisher in each field event, led by Britanee Nouchanthavong’s victory in the javelin with a toss of 112 feet, 2 inches. Edward Little had three of the top five finishers in the event.
“It feels really, really good,” Nouchanthavong said. “I knew I had pretty good form and I was focusing on what I wanted to do. Once I saw the throw I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s a pretty far throw.’ “
The Red Eddies swept the javelin with Brandon Henry’s toss of 155-2 on the boys’ side. They added another KVAC title in the boys’ high jump with Yusuf Adow’s leap of 5-8.
Rebecca Stacey-Outten had a pair of runner-up finishes in the shot put and discus, as did Charles Frahn in the pole vault.
“We performed well, and I couldn’t be happier for the team,” Edward Little girls’ coach Kristin Keene said. “Our throwers really pulled through today. They did exactly what they needed to do. They did really great.”
Mt. Blue had three victories on the day — two by Nate Pratt-Holt. He jumped 20-5 in the long jump and 43-6 in the triple jump to earn his hardware. Willingham had the other, claiming the mile run in 4:24.13.
The KVAC Class B boys’ title went to Belfast with 150.5 points. Leavitt finished third with 71 points.
Billy Bedard had the Hornets’ lone individual title on the day, winning the long jump with a distance of 21-3.5. He bested Max Lareau by 10 inches. Bedard placed seventh last year in his first year as a track athlete.
“It was basically I had to work on my landing because my first jump when I take off it’s good there but my landing is critical and that helps me get the distance I need,” Bedard said.
Bedard was the third leg of the 4×100 relay team that captured a KVAC title in 45.74.
Leavitt’s Harrison Knowlton took second in the two-mile run in 9:47.20, two-tenths of a second behind Waterville’s Chris Cote. He finished third in the mile.
Ashley Pratt had the best day for Leavitt on the girls’ side. She placed runner-up in the pole vault with a top height of 9-6. Pratt also grabbed fourth in the 100 hurdles.
The girls scored 27 points and finished ninth. Waterville claimed the KVAC Class B girls’ title with 168.5 points.