Five of six local cross country teams qualified for the state championships after strong showings as the regional meet Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland.
In the Western B boys’ competition, Cape Elizabeth had no peer, tallying 64 points to easily fend off runner-up Falmouth (100) and 13 other teams.
The Capers were led by Peter Doane (17 minutes, 28.2 seconds on the 5-kilometer course) and Liam Simpson (17:31.31) who finished third and fourth, respectively. Also scoring were Will Britton (13th, 18:18.74), Kyle Kennedy (18th, 18:35.15) and Justin Guerette (26th, 18:47.58).
“We did exactly what we wanted to do,which was qualify for the state meet,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Derek Veilleux. “Winning the regional title was just an added bonus. The kids executed their race plans and had plenty left over the final mile. The important thing was to get through the meet healthy, which we did. Peter and Liam once again got us the low sticks. Will and Kyle returned from missing the conference meet, they ran well, earning a top 20 finish. Justin and (sixth-place finisher) Julian (Pelzer) worked well together the entire race.
“We’ve been working the last 19 weeks to run well at (the state) meet, the team is looking forward to the opportunity. We know that Falmouth wasn’t at full strength last week and we know they will be up for the challenge this weekend. Ellsworth also had a strong day at the Eastern Maine championships. It will take a superior effort to win. I have confidence that we will give it our best shot on Saturday, we just need to run like we have all year.”
The Capers are seeking their first state championship since 2006 in their 11th straight state meet appearance.
On the girls’ side, Cape Elizabeth was the sixth and final team to qualify with a team total of 134 points (Falmouth came in first with 66).
The Capers, who made it 12 straight trips to states, were paced by Rhoen Fiutak, who was 12th (22:22.11). Also scoring were Ellen Best (19th, 22:42.94), Dana Hatton (22nd, 22:51.31), Emma Inhorn (32nd, 23:36.16) and Emily Lobosco (49th, 24:31.53).
“(The girls) ran good times, but didn’t place where I hoped,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Amber Cronin. “It was really muddy. Our number three runner, Sam Feenstra, was out with an injury, but she’s back for this week.
“The seeds have us 11th, but I’d like us to break into the top 10. I’d like the girls to have a great race. It’s a flat course and a fast course and our home course is flat. We’re well suited to run well.”
In the Western A boys’ race, two-time defending state champion Scarborough was runner-up to Massabesic (31 points to 64). South Portland (207) placed seventh and qualified as well.
The Red Storm, which made it to states for the 14th successive season, was led by Robby Hall, who came in fourth in 17:42.63. Jack Sullivan placed sixth (17:51.67). Other scorers were Jacob Terry (14th, 18:16.05), Colin Tardiff (16th, 18:20.13) and Sean McGovern (24th, 18:43.76).
The Red Riots, who qualified for the fourth year in a row, featured Gavin Damian-Loring, who was 15th (18:17.71). Max Knutsen came in 31st (18:57.13), Colton Gervais placed 47th (18:57.13), Thomas Hodgkins finished 56th (19:53.17) and Jacob Guay was 58th (19:53.92).
“Based on head-to-head competition during the regular season, we weren’t ranked in the top eight, but we improved tremendously throughout the season,” said South Portland coach David Kahill. “The team started the race with confidence that we would qualify for states, and they ran with determination to place seventh. Max was inspiring because he started and finished the race with a painful hip injury and Gavin continued to exceed all expectations as a freshman to place.
“The team is looking forward to the chance to run the Belfast course again at the state championship. We don’t figure to be in the running for a state championship, but the boys are determined to work together for their best team and individual races.”
On the girls’ side in Western A, South Portland, led by individual champion Nyajock Pan (19:52.15) came in fourth with 133 points (Bonny Eagle with 58 was the winner). Scarborough finished 13th with 352 points and did not qualify.
Other scorers for the Red Riots, who made it four straight trips to states, included Casey Loring (ninth, 20:50.17), Angela Tirabassi (29th, 22:56.08), Ariana Mohammad (37th, 23:31.82) and Ciera Mullen (57th, 24:46.44).
The Red Storm’s top finisher was Laura Volan, who was 51st in 24:11.68. Stephanie Ostrowski (63rd, 25:22.51), Jessica Cote (75th, 26:16.19), Emma Lynch (81st, 26:43.08) and Maria Quartararo (82nd, 26:44.52) were the other scorers. Scarborough fell short of the state meet for the second year in a row.
Belfast will host the state championship meets Saturday.
Scarborough and South Portland’s boys run in the Class A meet at 11 a.m. The Red Riots girls compete in the Class A girls’ race at 11:45 a.m. Cape Elizabeth’s boys seek the title at 12:30 p.m. in the Class B race. The Capers girls were run at 1:15 p.m.
The New England championships are scheduled for Nov. 10, at Twin Brook.
South Portland’s Gavin Damian-Loring (left) and Scarborough’s Sam Terry take part in Saturday’s Western A regional final. Terry finished 14th and Damian-Loring 15th. The Red Storm was second as a team, while the Red Riots placed seventh.
Cape Elizabeth’s Rhoen Fiutak came in 12th in the Western B girls’ race.