DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Sacopee Valley boys’ outdoor track and field team believed this year was going to be different.

This year, the Hawks wouldn’t get too eager and anticipate a state title that wasn’t theirs.

This year, Sacopee Valley would rely on every individual contributing to the team concept. And this year, the Hawks would make the most of every chance they had to earn points, from first to seventh place.

Wednesday at Foxcroft Academy, Sacopee Valley won its first Class C state championship since 2000, scoring 66 points to edge Maranacook (58 points) in the 34-team field. The 1,600-meter relay team of Eli Thompson, Mitchell Watson, Liam Nee and Logan Nee placed third to secure the title.

“Last year, we led the whole meet and we led until the last three events,” Liam Nee said. “This meet, we earned it this time. And it came down to the last event.”

John Bapst of Bangor won its eighth Class C girls’ championship in nine years, topping the 31-team field with 79 points, ahead of Orono (67), Maine Central Institute (60) and Maranacook (53).

“Every year it’s different, but every year there’s something special about it,” said Maggie Bryan, who anchored the Crusaders’ winning 1,600 relay team. “And I love anchoring the (1,600) every time, because that’s what closes the meet.”

Sacopee Valley had only one individual winner — Nick Vacchiano in the pole vault — and got 24 points in the pole vault as Dustin Comeau and Carlton Lawrence finished second and third, respectively. But the Hawks were buoyed by the points they gathered along the way, from Adam Healey’s fifth-place finish in the boys 1,600 racewalk, worth three points, to Liam Nee’s third-place finish in the 800, worth six points.

“We’re at the tents and a kid would come in and say, ‘I got sixth’ or ‘I got seventh’ and that’s a point here or a point there,” Nee said.

“We work to get anything we can get. That’s why a team championship is a team championship, because everyone works together.”

Sacopee Valley ended North Yarmouth Academy’s four-year reign as Class C boys’ champion. The Panthers finished third, led by senior distance runner Henry Sterling, who won the 1,600 and 3,200, and helped two relays earn points.

Sterling teamed with Nick Kolkin, Asad Dahia and Alex Coffin to help NYA win the boys’ 3,200 relay in a meet-record time of 8:21.84, then Sterling won the 1,600 in 4:19.53.

“My focus was getting points for the team, but it would have been nice to get a state record and improve my times,” said Sterling, who won the 3,200 in 9:32.50 and helped NYA place sixth in the 1,600 relay. “But I wanted to get points for the team. We knew we were coming in as the underdog, so we had to get as many points as we could.”

Sterling’s time in the 1,600 was nearly nine seconds ahead of Waynflete’s Abshir Horor (4:28.13).

“It was fast, the fastest pace I could run,” said Horor, who placed in his first state meet after picking up distance running earlier this season. “But to medal, I’m thrilled. This is my first year doing it and I can’t wait for next year.”

In the girls’ field, Abby Mace paced Maranacook with three individual wins: the 1,600, the 800 and the 3,200.

MCI earned the bulk of its points in the field events — 21 points in the shot put as Meghan Hughes finished first, Natasha Wallace second and Kayla Michaud fifth; 16 points in the discus as Hughes finished first and Wallace third; and seven points in the javelin as Michaud was fourth and Wallace fifth.

However, the Crusaders earned valuable points in the late events, despite not having an individual winner. They scored points in the 200 and 3,200, then won the 1,600 relay to secure the title.

“We won two relays but it was all a matter of depth,” Bryan said. “At first we thought MCI was going to win, and then Orono was there. But we stuck it out. Depth was all the difference.”

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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