High school track athletes set records despite wearing masks

As the high school indoor track season last winter was wiped out by COVID-19 and the lack of space available for athletic fields, the competition continued with a different look in eastern Maine. .

Throwing and jumping events were held indoors where space was available, and distance races were held outdoors at Cameron Stadium in Bangor, all leading to the crowning of the individual Penobscot champions. Valley Conference / Eastern Maine Indoor Track League in these events.

Things are not completely back to normal this year. The COVID-19 pandemic continues and athletes wear masks upon their return to the PVC / EMITL competition at the New Balance Field House at the University of Maine in Orono.

But school records and gym records are on the decline, and a full regular season schedule is underway to prepare athletes for the league and state championships in mid-February.

“I would say it’s going really well until I come back to it after taking a year off,” said Dave Utterback, athletic administrator for the Brewer School department and co-director of SSC / EMITL indoor track with athletic administrator from Orono High School, Mike. Archer.

Utterback, who along with Archer hosted the makeshift 2020-21 indoor track season in the region, acknowledged that the number of participants this winter is down from pre-pandemic rates.

PVC / EMITL would also be the only indoor track league in the state to reintroduce spectators to its competitions through a voucher system that provides tickets to each athlete.

“It went pretty well and I think it gave the athletes a sense of what was normal for them when they were in the gym before,” Utterback said. “Getting the fans back there was pretty important to us. “

While there was some consternation statewide over indoor track and field athletes being required to wear masks during competition, the face coverings did not stop participants from setting records in the competition. New Balance Field House School and High School during the early season meetups this winter.

“I think if you gave them the option they would choose not to, but at the moment they don’t and you have seen for three consecutive weeks an installation record broken in one of the events you would think a mask would make it stop the individual from doing that and that didn’t happen, ”Utterback said. “So I think it went pretty well.”

That particular record is long-distance runner Megan Randall of Bangor High School, who set a new mark for the 2-mile run in each of her last three competitions. His current school and field record, set last Saturday, is 11 minutes 3.37 seconds.

Randall also has the fastest time in the girls’ 1-mile race in 5: 18.71.

Her junior teammate Anna Connors has the fastest speeds of the season so far in the girls’ league of 55, 200 and 400, including her time of 58.92-400 last Saturday which marked a new one. school and field record for this event.

The records set by Connors and Randall are equal to the number of New Balance Field House standards eclipsed during the 2019-2020 indoor season before the pandemic arrived.

Top male competitors so far this winter include Old Town junior Corbin Flewelling, ranked first in long and triple jumps; sophomore Miles Burr of Mount Desert Island, who recorded the best boys’ times and 400; and Hampden Academy long-distance runners Abbott Valentine and Charlie Collins, seeded in the 800 and 1 mile, respectively.

“I was one of those who thought maybe it would be something you would notice, that the quality of the performance would drop a bit, but I didn’t notice it,” Utterback said. “I’m not sure if anyone else with a keen eye on it sees it that way, but I think the results have been where you expected them to be.”

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