Hannah Steelman and Tia Tardy made venerable marks on the Maine high school running scene over their remarkable careers, and they both kicked off their collegiate debuts in impressive fashion on Friday.
Tardy, a Lincoln native and graduate of Mount Desert Island High School, was the No. 2 runner for Bucknell University as it won its season-opening invitational while Orono native Steelman paced Wofford College to a runner-up finish.
Steelman’s opening performance turned out to be a record-breaking one, as she completed a 5K race in 17 minutes, 37.5 seconds, the fastest in the history of Wofford’s program.
Steelman’s Terriers finished second behind Furman University in the team rankings. Steelman and Wofford will enjoy next weekend off from racing before heading to the Winthrop Invitational on Sept. 16.
In Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Tardy was a key cog in helping Bucknell win its season-opening Bison Open meet, with the Bison dispatching four other Division I teams.
Tardy, who completed a 4K race in 14:30, was just eight seconds behind individual winner and teammate Christine Bendzinski, the reigning Patriot League individual champion.
Head coach Kevin Donner was pleased with the effort of Tardy, who set multiple state records in Maine.
“Our women had a plan of going out easy the first 2k and then try to negative split the second 2k,” Donner said “We had a nice pack up front, which included a couple of freshmen in Tardy and Blair. ”
Tardy and Bucknell are back in action Friday when they head to nearby Penn State University in State College for the Spiked Shoe Invitational.
Hartman makes history
Husson University freshman Zach Hartman made school history on Saturday afternoon.
The freshman from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, became the first runner in the history of the Bangor school’s men’s cross country program to win an individual race at the Fens Classic in Boston.
Hartman completed the 5K race in 16 minutes, 50 seconds in helping the Eagles finish second in the team standings among three schools.
The Husson women also competed in the Fens Classic, hosted by Emmanuel College, finishing in third place.
The program will host the Husson Harrier Classic at Bangor’s Saxl Park on Saturday.
High school teams open season
Last weekend saw high school cross country teams throughout the Penobscot Valley Conference and Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference open up their regular seasons.
Action included a quad-meet at Bangor High School featuring Bangor, Brewer, Hampden Academy and Camden Hills of Rockport, which was won by the Bangor boys and Camden Hills girls.
Grace Iltis of Camden Hills was the girls’ individual winner while Gabe Coffey of Bangor took the boys’ race.
A number of PVC schools headed to Ellsworth for the traditional season-opening Ellsworth Invitational, which was swept by the Caribou boys and girls.
The girls’ competition was a close one between Caribou, defending Class C state champion George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill and Orono, with those teams separated by only nine points.
GSA runners occupied the top two spots, with Eliza Broughton and Mary Richardson finishing 1-2.
Two of the top contenders in northern Maine finished 1-2 in the boys’ meet, with Caribou taking first and Orono second.
Brendan Penfold, a senior at Deer Isle-Stonington, earned the individual victory.