While the Waynflete girls’ team and a select Deering boy were the big winners at Saturday’s cross country regional championship meet at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland, there were plenty of top performances to hail.
The Flyers won their second straight Western C championship Saturday and will take aim at an elusive state title next weekend.
Waynflete managed 39 points, which was 27 better than runner-up Merriconeag. The Flyers were led by Ellie Chidsey, who placed third on the 5,000-meter course with a time of 21 minutes, 14.41 seconds. Also scoring for Waynflete were Phoebe Colvin-Oehmig (fifth, 21:44.02), Gail Johnson (seventh, 22:05.21), Sophia Mayone (ninth, 22:20.78) and Abby Pipkin (15th, 23:14.01).
“We had a good day,” said Flyers coach Ziggy Gillespie. “I felt at the beginning of the year that this could be the best team I’ve ever coached. Before the start of the race Saturday, I said to the girls, ‘You are the best team I’ve ever coached.’ They proved it. They did what I expected, to be honest. In the last nine years, we’ve won five regional titles and been runner-up four times. We consider Twin Brook our home course.”
McAuley also took part in Western C and placed ninth with 228 points, but only the top seven teams qualified for states (Boothbay was seventh with 216). The Lions were led by freshman Kiera Kenneally, who was 28th in 23:48.29. Also scoring for McAuley were Taylor Whaley (43rd, 25:05.32), Adele Werner (45th, 25:15.99), Lily Bergh (55th, 25:54.51) and Anna Dube (57th, 26:10.36).
Waynflete’s boys made it to states thanks to a fourth-place showing. The Flyers tallied 146 points. Boothbay and Merriconeag both had 51 points, but Boothbay earned the win thanks to its sixth place runner having a higher finish.
Waynflete’s top runner was Wilson Moore, who placed seventh in 18:22.33. Also scoring were Sam Harbison (30th, 19:55.53), Peter Michalakes (33rd, 20:07.19), Julian Ireland (34th, 20:12.92) and Peterson Silk (42nd, 20:46.84).
“We missed (qualifying for states) by a point last year,” Gillespie said. “We qualified this year, but we started out so slowly. We woke up the second mile. We beat NYA (which was fifth) for the first time in quite awhile.”
In the Western A boys’ meet, Deering’s Iid Sheikh-Yusef finished first individually in 16:43.58, helping the Rams come in seventh as a team with 183 points, good enough to qualify (Falmouth edged Scarborough for the top spot, 49-52).
“Iid’s win was a very pleasant surprise,” said Rams coach Frank Myatt. “He made his move on the toughest part of the course, and was able to pull away from (Scarborough’s Jacob) Terry and (Falmouth’s Bryce) Murdick over the last half-mile. He had been fighting a cold all week and even missed two days of practice, so I really didn’t know what to expect going in to the race.”
Yahya Hussein wasn’t far behind his running mate, placing fourth in 17:02.71. Abi Hassan (44th, 18:54.38), Matthew Bernier (55th, 19:17.17) and Wilder Baldwin (79th, 20:05.25) were the other Deering scorers.
“We had a strong meet from top to bottom,” Myatt said. “When Iid and Yahya can combine for five points, they put us in a great position to qualify. Our number three runner, Abdi Hassan, did his job, and Matt Bernier and Wilder Baldwin, our four and five runners, ran well and locked up our spot in the state meet.”
Cheverus (195 points) came in eighth and was the last team to make the cut. The Stags scorers were Josh Veroneau (20th, 17:56.19), Parker Montano (29th, 18:15.71), Mike Macaluso (47th, 18:56.07), Steve Larkin (48th, 19:00.76) and Scout Tucker (51st, 19:05.44).
Portland (373) missed out after a 14th-place finish. The Bulldogs were led by Brad Ravenelle (60th, 19:33.81). Also scoring were Matice Maino (63rd, 19:38.16), Ryan Lizanecz (64th, 19:38.45), Matthew Bliss (92nd, 20:43.41) and Pat Sheils (94th, 21:00.37).
On the girls’ side, Cheverus placed ninth with 251 points and was the last team in (Massabesic was the winner with 70 points). The Stags were led by Kaitlyn Dostie (22nd, 22:00.17). Also scoring were Georgia Dostie (31st, 22:13.56), Sarah Terrano (54th, 23:22.59), Anne Veroneau (66th, 24:05.79) and Megan Sawicki (78th, 24:52.17).
Portland came in 13th with 352 points and didn’t qualify. The top Bulldog was Darcy Hinck (43rd, 22:53.15). Also scoring were Raven Bradenday (64th, 23:59.33), Bea Hesselbart (72nd, 24:20.95), Elizabeth Block (79th, 24:59.56) and Hannah Mermin (94th, 26:25.73).
Deering was 14th with 367 points and also fell short. Freshman Lucy Turnavicus led the way by placing 21st in 21:55.69. Also scoring were Nicole Whipkey (68th, 24:12.10), Phoebe Bell (82nd, 25:22.38), Julia Lancia (88th, 25:59.92) and Evelyn Randazzo (108th, 31:04.93).
The state meet Saturday begins with the Class C boys (Waynflete) running at 11 a.m.
“There will be 20 teams running Saturday,” Gillespie said. “I think we could possibly get fifth or sixth. We’re a very young team. This will be a good experience.”
Waynflete’s girls will race for a championship starting at 11:45 a.m.
“Realistically, Orono is too strong,” Gillespie said. “George Stevens Academy was second (at the Eastern C championships) and we match up well with them. We’ll be running for second. Winning regionals and being state runners-up would be a great year.”
The Cheverus and Deering boys run in the Class A meet at 12:30 p.m.
“We’re looking to build off this week’s success and finish the season with our best performances,” Myatt said. “The East has some great runners and hopefully we can get some fast times on the Belfast course.”
Cheverus’ girls’ team competes at 1:15 p.m.
The cross country season then culminates with the New England championships Saturday, Nov. 8 in Manchester, Connecticut.
Cheverus’ Josh Veroneau finished 20th in the Western A boys’ race.
Cheverus’ Kaitlyn Dostie placed 22nd in the Western A girls’ race, helping the Stags qualify as a team.
Deering’s Iid Sheikh-Yusef (left) and Yahya Hussein run with Scarborough’s Jacob Terry near the front of the pack.
Deering’s Yahya Hussein was fourth in the Western A boys’ race.
Portland’s Brad Ravenelle led his team with a 60th-place finish in the Western A boys’ race.
Wilson Moore led Waynflete with an eighth-place showing in the Western C boys’ meet.
Deering’s Iid Sheikh-Yusef comes down the home stretch en route to a first-place individual finish at Saturday’s Western A regional cross country meet. Yusef’s effort helped the Rams come in seventh as a team and qualify for next week’s state meet.
Waynflete’s Ellie Chidsey races toward a third-place individual finish in the Western C girls’ meet. The Flyers came in first as a team.