PVC/EMITL performers setting strong pace as indoor season hits halfway mark

It might seem as though the high school indoor track and field season has just started, but the state championship meets are barely a month away.

That said, there are several athletes from the Penobscot Valley Conference/Eastern Maine Indoor Track League who are setting the pace statewide in the respective events.

Here is a quick look at some of those outstanding competitors.

The Class A girls ranks feature a familiar face atop some of the state leaderboards. Brewer High senior Teal Jackson has again established herself as a front-runner in the sprints.

Jackson owns the fastest state-meet qualifying times in the 55 meters and the 200 and she has the second-fastest time so far in the 400.

She clocked a 7.58 last weekend in the 55, a time that is six-hundreths of a second faster than Sasha Letourneau of Lawrence High in Fairfield. Jackson has run a 26.03 in the 200, nearly a second ahead of Letourneau, while her 1:01.46 from the Jan. 5 EMITL meet is second only to Audrey Weyand of Bonny Eagle (1:00.73).

Across the Penobscot River in Bangor, Grace MacLean has set the bar high in Class A. She is Maine’s top performer in the 55 hurdles (8.50), the long jump (17 feet, 5 inches) and the high jump.

The senior set a league record with a high jump of 5-4 last week.

The only other eastern Maine event leader among Class A girls is Lindsay Folsom of Cony High in Augusta. Her pole vault of 11-4 is nearly two feet better than Courtney Lizzotte and Abby Reynolds of Bangor, both of whom have gone 9-6.

Western and Central Maine competitors appear to have pretty much a corner on the market when it comes to leading efforts in the Class A boys division.

Jon Stanhope of Bangor has registered the fastest time in the mile thus far at 4:31.76, while Andrew Toothaker of Hampden Academy sped to a win last week in the 55 hurdles with a state-best time of 8.14 seconds.

In Class B, Waterville continues to make lots of noise among Eastern Maine teams, both girls and boys.

However, there are EMITL competitors putting up some impressive numbers.

Ellsworth’s Aleta Looker has been the pace-setter in the 400 and 800 meters and has been near the top among the milers. The junior ran a 2:20.06 last week in the 800 meters, a time that is more than nine seconds faster than Nora Hubbell of Mount Desert Island.

Looker owns a Maine season-best of 1:02.79 in the 400, and ranks second behind Waterville phenom Bethanie Brown (4:59.14) in the mile. Brown’s time of 10:35.22 is 31 seconds faster than Abby Hersom of Oceanside in Rockland.

Brown on Thursday was named the Gatorade Maine Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year. She won the Class B individual state championship in 17:56.32, placed seventh at the New England Championships (19:18.60) and wound up 11th at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional (18:42.3).

Brown has committed to attend the University of Connecticut on an athletic scholarship.

In the jumps, Old Town’s Tia Jackson has been among the Class B standouts. The junior went 5-2 in the high jump a week ago to assume the top seed in the state and also leads the triple jump at 35-7.

Waterville’s other No. 1 seed is Sarah Shoulta in the 55 hurdles (8.95).

Dan Curts of Ellsworth is one of several Class B boys in the PVC/EMITL who have established themselves atop the state’s performance lists indoors.

The junior turned in a double victory last week when he covered the mile in 4:26.52 and won the two-mile in 9:49.47.

Foxcroft Academy’s Don Boyer also leads the pack in two events. The senior leaped into the top spot in the high jump with a 6-2 effort a week ago and also has the best 55 hurdles time (8.08).

Boyer also is the No. 4 seed in the 400.

Other event leaders from the EMITL include Tyler White of Orono in the 800 (2:05.79) and Trevor Alley of MDI in the shot put (47-11.5).

Waterville, out of the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, has a couple of top seeds in Jordhan Levine in the triple jump (42-1.5) and Devin Burgess in the pole vault (14-0).

Two EMITL meets are scheduled for Saturday. The 10 a.m. competition brings together Hampden Academy, MDI, Ellsworth, Foxcroft Academy, Central of Corinth, Bucksport and Sumner of East Sullivan.

The 2:30 p.m. meet will be contested among Bangor, Brewer, Old Town, Hermon, Orono, John Bapst of Bangor and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln.

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About Pete Warner

Pete is a Bangor native who graduated from Bangor High School, Class of 1980. He earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He has been a full-time member of the Bangor Daily News Sports staff since 1984. Pete lives in Bangor with his wife of 35 years, Annia. They have two adult sons, Will and Paul. Pete is fluent in Spanish and enjoys visiting his in-laws and friends in Costa Rica. His hobbies including hunting, fishing and listening to jazz.