Leavitt’s Kristen Roux jumps over a hurdle in the girls 100-meter race during the KVAC track and field championships in Bath on Saturday.
BATH — Shannon O’Malley seemed surprised when she was the first runner to cross the finish line of the 4×100-meter relay.
“We were seeded fifth, and we ran so much faster than what we were seeded,” O’Malley said. “So we are really happy.”
That’s the kind of day for the Leavitt girls at the KVAC track and field championships, though they weren’t too surprised when they won the Class B title.
“There was a hunger for this goal,” Hornets coach Jamie Juntura said. “Since the beginning of the season, the girls, especially the seniors, really wanted to make something happen.”
The conference championship is the first for the Leavitt girls in 41 years.
“Knowing that this class and everyone contributed to this,” senior Julia Labbe said, “it’s amazing, because this hasn’t’ happened for 41 years.”
The Hornets finished with 82.33 points. Lawrence was second with 72.5 and Belfast took third with 67 points. Spruce Mountain placed 11th.
“It’s a mixture of talent between the kids and the coaches,” Juntura said. “The crazy thing with this team is we’ve all kind of figured it out together.
O’Malley followed Miranda Coombs, Nicole Daigle and Kristen Roux in the 4×100 relay.
“When I started, I just kind of thought to myself, ‘I can’t lose this. We are in the lead, I need to keep us in in the lead.’”
Because Leavitt doesn’t have a track, the Hornets’ relay was struggling with their handoffs. So after a practice earlier in the week, they went to Bates College to practice handoffs.
“It was cold, we were exhausted, but we knew if we worked hard there, then we would do good today,” Coombs said.
“I bet that’s not something they’re thinking about right now,” Leavitt coach Sarah Thurston said. “It’s like, ‘Hey, that’s OK we don’t have a track, we won KVACs.”
Daigle also took first in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and she placed fourth in the 400.
Roux had a nice second-place showing in the 100 hurdles, but she was disappointed she didn’t finish first. The Hornets went to the standings often, so when a lower-than-hoped-for finish occurred, they raised expectations elsewhere.
“We’d be like, this person has to get this, and we’d cheer them on,” Roux said.
“We were able to score almost everywhere,” Juntura said. “We were well-rounded going into today. Something could have fallen, and we would have still been OK.”
Juntura said the Hornets seniors showed promise of success their freshman year. They might have expected this kind of success earlier, but they also face some adversity, like the ACL injuries that held back O’Malley.
“They’ve been patient, they’ve worked hard,” Juntura said. “Those girls started when Leavitt was at 15th place, when we were last almost in every meet. They’ve stuck with us, they’ve improved, they’ve found events that work for them.”
Coombs also gave credit to Juntura and Thurston, and made sure the team’s other coach, Kevin Hudner, also got his due.
“I’m just really proud,” Coombs said, “because I know that for four years now, all the seniors that have been on the team have been working hard.”
“I’m just really proud of them.,” Thurston added. “They worked really hard, picked each other up, and that’s awesome to see.”
For Spruce Mountain, Emily White won the 1,600-meter racewalk, and teammate Isabelle Castonguay came in second.
“It was long, painful, and I definitely feel like I could have done better,” White said.
The Leavitt boys placed 12th, while Spruce Mountain came in 16th.