BATH — Nine was just fine for the Waterville boys and girls outdoor track teams Saturday in Bath.
The Purple Panthers raced past the competition at McMann Field to win their ninth consecutive Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships by a healthy margin.
For Waterville coach Ian Wilson, however, the only number he was focused on was one.
“We really don’t count streaks,” Wilson said. “We just try to focus on what we’re doing this year and today.”
The girls faced very little resistance on their way to the title, recording a whopping 190.50 points to down Belfast (72) and Camden Hills (68).
“It means a lot to alumni of the track program to open the newspaper and see that we won again,” Waterville’s Sarah Shoulta said. “Holding the reputation that they established for us is the main thing that keeps most of us going.”
“It’s a great honor to have had those alumni do so well and have that tradition passed down to us,” added teammate Kellie Bolduc. “It means a lot to do well.”
The Waterville boys squad had a bit more competition, but ultimately pulled away for a 147-117 victory over Belfast.
By the midpoint of the meet, there was little doubt that the girls were going to win the KVAC B title again. Through 12 events the Panthers held a 67.5-point lead over Belfast and in the 300 hurdles Waterville sealed it — fittingly enough, with Shoulta and Bolduc leading the way.
The duo finished second and third in the event, but it was Shoulta’s second win over her teammate on the day as she edged Bolduc to win the 100 hurdles in 15.75 seconds earlier in the meet.
Shoulta also added a win in the pole vault (10 feet) and second in the long jump (15-feet, 5-inches), while Bolduc won the triple jump with a leap of 34-10 and placed fourth in the high jump (5-0).
The triple jump was a 20-point event for the Panthers, as Jordan Jabar, Gabby Bridger, Cody Veilleux and Jenn Christensen placed fourth through seventh, respectively.
Shoulta was not the only Panther to strike gold more than once on Saturday though, as Rachel Bergeron took first in both the shot put (36-5) and discus (108-4).
“It’s absolutely no surprise,” Wilson said. “When you watch somebody put in the kind of work she does and make those kinds of sacrifices, do what she does in the weight room — she stays sometimes after everybody’s left at that track throwing to get the extra reps in — so nobody is surprised when that happens on our team.”
Katie Lopes took home first in the high jump (5-2), Gabby Bridger was runner up in the 100 (13.32) and third in the pole vault (8-6) and Lauren Brown placed second in the 3,200 (12:10.15). Lydia Roy took third in both the 200 (27.87) and 400 (1:03.68), while Waterville placed second in each of the three relays.
As for the Panther boys, they had to wait a little longer to clinch the meet but were never in any serious danger of losing the lead. Even still, Waterville was never going to look past the finish line until they crossed it.
“It’s kind of our general rule that our coach tells us not to listen to that voice (that says you’re going to win),” said Panther senior Colby Vince, who placed second in the 400, fourth in the 200 and first as a member of the 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams. “The best way to lose something is when you think you have something.”
Waterville topped Belfast by 30 points and it nearly created that entire margin of victory in the 110 hurdles. Troy Gurski (15.59), Levine (15.79) and Shahzaib Khan (16.03) went one-two-three, while Detetrius Ramirez placed fifth with a time of 17.01 seconds. Belfast earned just one point in the event.
Levine was once again at the top of his game, as he also scored a win in the 300 hurdles (41.77) and a third in the long jump (20-1). Gurski took home second in the triple jump (40-8.75), while Trever Gray won the discus (145-6) and placed third in the shot put (42-11.50).
Chris Cote delivered a gutsy performance in the 3,200, giving it everything he had to hold off Morse’s Chris Walfield for the win and collapsing moments after crossing the finish line. Cote then came back to grab a second win in the 4×400 along with Chris Hale, Levine and Vince.
Billy Chambers added a win in the race walk (8:07.38), while Khan, Vince, Ramirez and Nick Stowe combined to take the 4×100 relay (45.74).
Evan Crawley — email@example.comTwitter: Evan_Crawley