BATH — Even in light of its first Community Cup win last week at Skowhegan Area High School, it was always going to be a challenge for the Messalonskee boys track team to catch defending champ Lewiston for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A title.

Now, the Eagles will be even further up against it for Saturday’s meet at McMann Field as they will be a little shorthanded.

“KVACs is going to be a little bit more difficult because we’re going to be missing two of our very good athletes,” Messalonskee coach Scott Wilson said. “Jesse Donisvitch has a wedding out in Colorado and Josh Boucher, who threw 142 (feet in the javelin), won’t be there. He’s in a leadership conference. It will be a little bit harder, but you never know.”

The Lewiston boys very nearly doubled up second-place Edward Little in last year’s meet and will once again enter as the favorites. The KVAC A girls race was much tighter with Edward Little narrowly edged Brunswick 109-106 and should be close once again on Saturday. Lawrence, Messalonskee, Lewiston, Cony and Skowhegan all turned in fine performance a season ago and should be factors in this year’s meet as well.

In KVAC B, the Waterville girls are the defending champs and will be favored, although Belfast should provide a strong challenge.

“My personal thoughts are I feel a lot better team-wise,” Waterville senior Sarah Shoulta said after the Purple Panthers won last week’s Community Cup. “We pulled through when we needed to and we had some points left on the table. We’ll plan and figure out what the best way to score will be.”

The Waterville boys, meanwhile, will have a hard time following suit. The Purple Panthers have a number of talented individuals between Trever Gray in the throws, Chris Cote in the distance events and Billy Chambers in the race walk, but lack the overall depth of a team like Belfast.

“We’re trying to make up some points in different places, trying to find the right events to put people in,” Gray said, “but it’s difficult.”

Individually, there will be a number of local athletes to keep an eye on, particularly on the girls side.

Skowhegan’s Maddy Price is the reigning KVAC A champ in the 100 meters after she edged out teammate Jaycee Cushman a season ago. Despite limited race action this season, both should be in the mix again along with Lewiston’s Heather Kendall.

“We haven’t had very many meets so I haven’t had the best times,” Price said. “We’re not ranked well and I guess coming back as the reigning champion it’s kind of intimidating, but I know I have to push it because the girls have definitely worked hard.”

Cony’s Madeline Reny and Abby Weigang should be in store for a pair of good races in the 100 and 300 hurdles, respectively, while Messalonskee’s Avery Brennan will be one to watch in the 800 and 1,600. Brennan’s teammates, Taylor Lenentine and Emily Steinmeyer, could be in for strong days as well in the pole vault and throws, respectively.

Lawrence’s Alexis Chamberlain and Kiana Letourneau, Cony’s Anne Guadalupi and Courtney King and Skowhegan’s Leah Savage and Andrea Gurney will all be ones to watch as well.

As for the KVAC A boys, Mt. Blue’s Aaron Willingham and Messalonskee’s Owen Concaugh will try to find a way to chase down Lewiston’s pair of standout distance runners in Osman Doorow and Isaiah Harris. Messalonskee’s Tanner Burton and Lawrence’s Dustin Simpson-Bragg will be in the hunt for wins in the 110 hurdles and high jump, respectively, while Mt. Blue’s Nate Pratt-Holt will look to retain his title in the triple jump.

MCI throwers Eric Hathaway and Curtis McLeod, Gardiner sprinter Treavon Horton, Maranacook pole vaulter William Green and Erskine’s trio of Ethan Dodge, Phoenix Throckmorton and Sam Newcombe will all be ones to watch in the KVAC B boys meet.

Shoulta, Lydia Roy, Kellie Bolduc, Lauren Brown and Alison Linscott will look to lead the Waterville girls to another KVAC B title. Erskine’s Jordan Jowett, Abby Haskell and Kaylee Porter, Mt. View’s Angela Strain and Jenni Nadeau, MCI thrower Katie Hughes and Winslow jumper Paige Smith will each be ones to watch as well.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

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Twitter: @Evan_Crawley