BATH — Shortly after noon Saturday, the action around McMann Field for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference outdoor track and field championships halted so that Messalonskee High School junior Zach Hoyle could sing the national anthem.

A little more than five-and-a-half hours later, Hoyle and his teammates were singing a different victory tune.

The Eagles bested all challengers — including the 90-degree heat — to capture the boys KVAC Class A title Saturday with an impressive 163 points. Edward Little and Lewiston followed in second and third with 97 5/6 and 94 1/2 points, respectively.

“It feels great,” Hoyle said. “We felt pretty confident coming in and everyone did a great job.”

The middle distance and distance events were strengths for Messalonskee. Hoyle opened the day with a win in the 4×800-meter relay along with Carson Bessey, Dan Turner and Natale Cardillo, and later added second-place results in the 400 and 800. He also placed fourth in the 3,200, just ahead of Cardillo. Owen Concaugh added a win in the 800 and second in the 1,600.

“A lot of teams it’s just the throwers, the sprinters, the distance runners but with us, it’s all kind of mixed in,” Concaugh said. “We’re all friends and it’s just a really good atmosphere. The coaches do a good job of bringing us together. It’s a lot of fun.”

As Concaugh noted, it was not just one area that powered the Eagles. Jesse Donisvitch won the 200 and was second in the 100, while Tanner Burton placed first in the 110 hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles. John-Luke D’Amico and Dylan Labun won the high jump and pole vault, respectively.

Cameron Bickford — whose older brother, Damon, won the previous two KVAC A titles in the shot put — took home individual wins in both the shot put and discus with distances of 43 feet, 3 3/4 inches and 128-00, respectively.

For his performance, Bickford garnered the Don Matheson Award, which is annually given to the top performers in the field events for each class. Leah Savage, of Skowhegan, won the award in KVAC A girls, Belfast’s Drew Nealy took the honor for KVAC B boys and Winslow’s Paige Smith for KVAC B girls.

“The weather was tough. It’s just been brutal. There was no escaping the sun and you could see after about noontime everybody just kind of wilting away,” Messalonskee coach Matt Holman said. “They had to step up and they had to push through it. They knew they had the goal of winning the championship so they really fought for those positions and sacrificed individual performances and times to do so.”

As for the team competition in the KVAC A girls, it was equally one-sided as the boys as Edward Little ran away with a 183 1/2-119 1/2 decision over Lewiston.

The races for the Class B titles, meanwhile, were far closer. Tied heading into the 4×400 relay, the Leavitt boys placed second behind the team from Winslow — Nate St. Amand, Ryan Fredette, Jacob Witham and Max Garcia Theill — and Waterville finished seventh in the event to secure a 109-102 win for the Hornets. Belfast captured the KVAC B girls title 96-90 over Lincoln.

“We left a few points on the table but, still, it was overall a very good effort by the kids,” Waterville coach Rob Stanton said. “We would have liked to have come out on top, but it wasn’t quite our day.”

Though the Purple Panthers could not pull out the team win, they did have a number of strong individual performances — including one by senior Trever Gray in the discus early in the day that created quite a buzz throughout the afternoon.

Gray was in front heading into the last round of throws with a distance of 155-2 when Maine Central Institute senior Curtis McLeod uncorked a throw 6 inches further. Gray responded emphatically, though, hurling the discus 165-2 to smash the meet record of 164-5 set by Scott Mason in 1980.

“He and Curtis from MCI have had a really good rivalry in the past couple of years,” Stanton said. “They really pushed each other and Trever needed it on that last throw.”

McLeod was not completely shut out on Saturday, however, as he later recorded a distance of 50-3 1/2 to win the shot put by nearly 2 feet over Gray. McLeod was the lone winner from MCI on the day, while Waterville also got first-place finishes from Nick Dall (boys 1,600), Cecilia Morin (girls 3,200) and Zach Smith (boys javelin).

Lawrence’s Mason Cooper had a strong day in the Bulldogs’ first KVAC outdoor championship in Class B. The sprinter won both the 100 and 400, and was second in the 200. He also teamed with Zach Campbell, Walker Thomas and Dylan Bailey to win the 4×100 relay over Belfast by two-hundredths of a second.

Nokomis’ Erin Martin (100 hurdles), Erskine’s Kaylee Porter (800), Mount View’s Betsy Hunter (high jump), Lawrence’s Alexis Chamberlain (discus) and Maranacook’s Nicole D’Angelo (shot put) also picked up individual wins in the girls KVAC B meet Saturday.

In the KVAC A meet, it was another chapter in the friendly rivalry between Savage, a sophomore, and teammate Maddy Price, a senior.

Savage earned Matheson honors after winning the high jump and placing third in both the long and triple jumps, and she was also fourth in the 100. It was Price, though, that had the stronger day of the two. The Fairleigh Dickinson University commit won both the 100 and triple jump, was second in the long jump and fourth in the 200.

After battling through a slew of injuries at last season’s KVAC meet, Cony’s Anne Guadalupi was happy to be back healthy and she certainly took advantage. The junior teamed with Lindsay Watts and sisters Talia and Tara Jorgensen to win the 4×800 and later picked up an impressive individual victory in the 1,600. Guadalupi also placed third in both the 800 and 4×400 relay with the same combination as the 4×800.

“I feel pretty good about how I ran,” Guadalupi said. “The times weren’t great, but I think most distance runners can relate to that because of the heat.”

After struggling with the hot weather on her way to a third-place result in the 1,600, Messalonskee’s Avery Brennan bounced back strong to win the girls 800. Cony’s Jeff Bilodeau also scored a win in the KVAC A meet, taking the boys 300 hurdles, while Mt. Blue’s Nate Pratt-Holt took first and second in the boys long a triple jumps, respectively.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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