4 local teams win regional cross country crowns
Local cross country runners turned Twin Brook Recreational Center into their private playground Saturday at the regional championships.
In Western B, the Falmouth boys and Greely girls both finished first, while the Falmouth girls, Greely boys, both Freeport teams and Yarmouth girls' qualified for next weekend's state meet.
In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy took the boys' crown and Merriconeag the girls'. The Panthers' girls' squad also qualified, as did the Merriconeag boys.
In the Western B boys' meet, Falmouth, undefeated this fall and the top ranked team in the latest coaches' poll, tallied 50 points, 38 better than runner-up Cape Elizabeth.
The Yachtsmen had three runners among the top nine and all five finished in the top 20. Leading the way was senior Tim Follo, who came in second behind Fryeburg Academy standout Silas Eastman (completing the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 55.71 seconds). Junior Jay Lesser (seventh, 17:35.31) and seniors Thomas Edmonds (ninth, 17:35.87), Henry Briggs (13th, 17:52.74) and Conor McGrory (19th, 18:01.37) were the other scorers.
"The boys had a strong day overall with Tim leading the way and Jay and Thomas running strongly as well," said Falmouth co-coach Jorma Kurry. "Henry had a great run and has been practicing very well lately. All seven boys are able to train together and the confidence of knowing there is someone there to pick up the slack has been great for all of them. Cape Elizabeth ran well and should be strong at states and Greely, York and Freeport should be in the mix as well. In the East, Caribou is good again and Ellsworth is peaking at just the right time."
"This boys' team is motivated and determined," added co-coach Danny Paul. "As long as we're healthy Saturday, we will be very very tough to beat. Tim is a terrific leader in every way. This is the deepest team on the boys' side I have ever worked with."
Greely was the three-time defending regional champion, but its 94 points left it fourth this time around (York came in third with 90). The Rangers (sixth in the coaches' poll) were paced by junior Nathan Madeira (third, 17:16.24) and senior Stefan Sandreuter (fourth, 17:21.17). Other scorers included seniors Isaac Emery (20th, 18:07.53), James Currie (28th, 18:23.89) and Nestor Taylor (39th, 18:52.48).
Nathan and Stefan had their usual strong performances against tough competition," said Rangers coach David Dowling. "Falmouth remains the favorite at the state meet with Cape, York and Greely contending for the second spot."
Freeport had 139 points to place fifth. Junior Abrin Berkemeyer led the way with a 14th-place finish (17:53.19). Also scoring were senior Nick Sweet (17th, 17:58.51), junior Ian McGhie (31st, 18:28.31), sophomore Mark Donahue (37th, 18:48.02) and junior Mason Cyr (40th, 18:58.12).
Yarmouth wound up 10th with 274 points, but had two individuals qualify, sophomore Braden Becker (16th, 17:57.61) and junior Thomas Robichaud (22nd, 18:14.26). Other scorers included freshman Sam Gerken (61st, 20:08.75), junior Ian Grover (84th, 21:34.74) and freshman Andrew Nickerson (91st, 22:16.74).
Greely's girls (ranked sixth by the coaches) have been very good this fall, but weren't the favorite coming into Saturday's race. The Rangers put it all together, however, placing their top three runners among the first dozen finishers and won the region (for the first time since 2002) with 79 points. Freshman Eva Bates was sixth (21:15.21). Sophomore Kirstin Sandreuter came in eighth (21:29.54). Junior Allie Day finished 12th (21:53.32). Also scoring were sophomore Jill Booth (22nd, 22:28.74) and senior Melissa Jacques (31st, 22:47.83).
"Eva, Kirstin and Allie pulled the rest of the pack along," Dowling said. "Despite the muddy conditions, Allie, Jill and Cameron (Keefe) all had course personal bests which were major factors in the team's improvement. At the state meet, Camden Hills and MDI are strong contenders for the title with Greely, Falmouth and Cape in the mix from the West."
Falmouth (ninth in the coaches' poll) was runner-up with 98 points. Sophomore Madeline Roberts led the way by placing fourth (21:01.64). Senior Jena Mannette came in 18th (22:11.84). Senior Grace Dancoes (19th, 22:22.18), junior Molly Ryan (24th, 22:59.29) and junior Abby Payson (33rd, 22:54.52) were the other scorers.
"Madeline had another great race," Kurry said. "Grace ran well and Molly ran her best race of the season. While it wasn't our best day, second place was good and we know that we can improve for the state meet. We face a lot of competition from teams like Cape Elizabeth, Greely and York, as well as several very strong teams from the East in MDI, Camden and John Bapst. It should be a great meet."
"I do feel if we can get our 5-7 girls to run well together, we can finish among the top three next week," Paul added. "Camden Hills and MDI are very strong. Cape, Greely and York are also going to be in the mix."
Yarmouth was fifth with 142 points and qualified for just third time in the past seven seasons. The Clippers were led by junior standout Sarah Becker, who came in seventh (21:23.22). Other scorers included sophomore Madison Hynes (23rd, 22:29.20), freshman Gabrielle Beaulieu (25th, 22:33.08), junior Emma Pidden (37th, 23:02.32) and freshman Molly Walsh (50th, 23:37.45).
Freeport was the last team in, placing seventh with 170 points. Sophomore Bethanie Knighton (27th, 22:40.91), junior Ciera Wentworth (28th, 22:41.82) and sophomores Nina Davenport (30th, 22:47.02), Elly Bengtsson (39th, 23:04.09) and Hayley Steckler (46th, 23:19.97) all scored.
Two more champions
In Western C, the defending state champion NYA boys (ranked eighth by the coaches) had five of the top 17 finishers and won the race with 59 points, 33 better than runner-up Waynflete. Senior Cam Regan led the way with a sixth-place showing (17:37.07). Seniors Evan Kendall (ninth, 17:57.24), Rudy Guiliani (12th, 18:13.11) and Alex Coffin (15th, 18:35.80) and freshman Matt Malcolm (17th, 18:42.21) were the other scorers.
"I thought the guys ran quite well," said Panthers coach Peter Sillin. "All the guys did a good job, but we have especially benefited recently from the emergence of freshman Matt Malcom as our fifth man. We should be very competitive for next week, but Bangor Christian looks very strong coming out of the East, so our guys will have to bring their best on Saturday if they want to repeat as champions. Telstar and Waynflete also have very good runners at the top positions."
Merriconeag placed sixth and qualified with 162 points. Scorers included junior Jack Pierce (third, 16:53.96), freshman Zach Neveu (25th, 19:12.43), senior Tyler O'Brien (26th, 19:12.72), junior Ben Tindall (43rd, 20:08.58) and freshman Lars Gundersen (65th, 21:09.98).
The Merriconeag girls came in first with 41 points (Waynflete was a distant second with 90). Five finishers in the top 11 led the way. The scorers were junior Zoe Chace-Donahue (sixth, 22:21.80), freshman Samantha Pierce (seventh, 22:41.60), junior Teagan Wu (eighth, 22:44.00), freshman Jesse Saffeir (ninth, 22:56.90) and sophomore Carlin Tindall (11th, 23:06.70).
NYA was fourth with 119 points and will go back to states. The Panthers were paced by senior Hillary Detert, who was fifth (22:05.30). The other scorers were freshman Hannah Austin (15th, 23:19.00) and seniors Sarah Jordan (30th, 25:09), Maggie Meixell (34th, 25:25.30) and Hadley Gibson (35th, 25:27.80).
The Class C girls' race gets the festivities started Saturday at 11 a.m. The boys go at 11:45 a.m. The Class A girls run at 2 p.m. The boys begin at 2:45 p.m.