When the Brewer Witches take on eight other teams in Saturday’s weekly Eastern Maine Indoor Track League meet, coach Dave Jeffrey will be facing an unusual situation.
He’ll be the underdog. Well, kind of.
For the first time since December 1993, his boys squad will be trying to bounce back after a loss to an Eastern Maine foe.
Maynard Walton’s Bangor High squad established itself as the midseason team to beat last Saturday when the Rams scored 87 points and beat Foxcroft Academy (76) and Brewer (74).
Before that, Jeffrey’s teams had defeated 143 straight Eastern Maine foes and won four straight EMITL titles.
Brewer won’t face Bangor again until the EMITL championships, but takes on Foxcroft again this week.
Jeffrey said he still thinks the Witches will be able to compete for the EMITL crown when the championship meet is held on Feb. 7. He said after four years of being blessed with superior athletes, the loss should prove that the margin for error is much smaller this time around.
“We deserved to lose that meet,” Jeffrey said. “These kids know that running against these teams, the meets are going to be very close. And they know if we don’t perform at our best, we’re going to lose.”
Walton attributed the win to the performance of his distance crew, which scored 26 points in the 800, mile, and two-mile.
“I think the big thing was that our distance guys went after [Ellsworth standout Louie] Luchini,” said Walton.
Luchini won the 800 and two-mile, but the Bangor coach said competing against the best prompted strong efforts from Zach Capehart and Colin Pile in the 800 and Capehart and Ethan Jordan in the two-mile.
Still, Walton realizes that with two more weeks of regular-season action, the Rams must continue to improve.
“They don’t give you any trophy for this, and you don’t win a championship for this,” Walton said. “That doesn’t come until Easterns.”
Entering the 1997-98 season, Jeffrey’s boys squads had compiled a stellar 358-25-1 regular-season mark in his 18 years at the helm.
The Brewer loss was the big news of the week, but performances by the league’s athletes were nearly as noteworthy.
After a week’s worth of meets were scrapped by the ice storm that ravaged eastern Maine, area athletes wasted no time showing they were eager to compete on Saturday. In all, seven league records were set in the two boys and two girls meets.
Old Town senior Elizabeth Holmes continued her dominance of the league’s new sprint distances, shaving time off the 200 and 400 marks she’s held since week one.
Holmes took advantage of her matchups with Brewer junior speedster Jen Puiia to set records of 27.50 seconds in the 200 and 1:01.54 in the 400. Those efforts marked the third straight meet Holmes has bettered the existing records in the events that are making their debut this season.
Puiia established a record of her own in the long jump, knocking the nine-year-old mark of Ellsworth’s Jennifer Clark from the books. Puiia’s leap of 17 feet, 2 3/4 inches edged Clark’s 17-footer, a jump that had withstood several close challenges over the years.
Also setting girls records were MDI’s Alissa Jones in the pole vault (9-0) and Brewer’s Rachael Bodkin-Rubino in the 800 (2:26.58).
Boys marks were set by Kenny Morrison of Bucksport in the 200 (24.19) and Foxcroft’s Julian Campbell in the 400 (53.18).