Capers do it again, win third straight Class B cross country title; Scarborough boys runner-up in Class A
The juggernaut Cape Elizabeth girls' cross country team completed another season of dominance Saturday afternoon by winning its third successive Class B championship. The Capers won by 64 points, the largest margin by any victor on the boys' or girls' sides, and earned a date in Saturday's New England championships in Manchester, Conn.
Cape Elizabeth's boys team was fourth behind Greely, York and Falmouth.
In Class A, the Scarborough boys, the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 state champs, finished second to Cheverus by 14 points, but also earned a date at New Englands. South Portland, competing in its first state meet since 2003, placed eighth.
In the Class A girls' race, won easily by Cheverus, South Portland was seventh (its best finish since 2002), while Scarborough, the defending champion, was eighth.
Catch us if you can
The Cape Elizabeth girls have been third or better at every state meet since 2003 and as expected, took care of business again Saturday, winning their fourth title in five seasons and their sixth overall, as their 46 points was more than enough to hold off runner-up York (110).
Leading the way was senior Emily Attwood, who was second on the 5-kilometer course to Maranacook standout Abby Mace in a time of 19 minutes, 57 seconds. Junior Rachel Nichols placed third (20:11). Junior Kelsey Barton (eighth, 20:44) also finished in the top 10. The Capers other scorers were freshman Emma Inhorn (16th, 21:26) and senior Hannah Doss (17th, 21:30). Sophomore Catherine Tierney (39th, 22:20) and freshman Ellen Best (47th, 22:36) also took part.
"Of course we were thrilled to win again this year, although it wasn't one of our best performances of the season," said Cape Elizabeth coach Mary Ann Doss. "I really think the girls peaked (at regionals) as planned, as that originally would have been our state championship day. Being the type of dedicated individuals they are, they were a bit disappointed with their individual performances, but thrilled to win the crown. I thought Rachel Nichols had an outstanding day and once again, Emma Inhorn came through. All in all, the girls had an excellent season and were pleased to reach our ultimate goal of a third straight state championship."
The Capers graduate two of their top five (Attwood and Doss), but the nucleus is in place for them to make another run at the top in 2010.
"We should be strong again next year even though we are losing Emily Attwood and Hannah Doss," said coach Doss. " We have two very strong freshman coming in which will help fill the holes."
In the boys' race, Greely had 74 points. York (105) and Falmouth (108) also finished ahead of Cape Elizabeth (115). Individually, the Capers got strong performances from sophomore Thomas Bottomley (11th, 17:26), senior Peter Brigham (15th, 17:39), junior Leo Ledman (21st, 17:51), junior Reid Douty (30th, 18:05) and senior Bobby Yokabaskas (38th, 18:13). Junior Paul Trantina (72nd, 19:28) and junior Sean Thomas (76th, 19:43) also competed.
"The boys ran a solid race on Saturday," said Cape Elizabeth coach Dave Weatherbie. "It was a better effort then the regional meet and provides them with a baseline to build upon for next year. The team loses Peter Brigham and Bobby Yokabaskas from the top seven, so a nice core of runners return next season. Not qualifying for New Englands this year should provide plenty of motivation to train next summer. As always, a main goal will be to compete for a state championship."
Not this time
Scarborough's boys finished with 97 points, but Cheverus was 14 better. South Portland had 222 points.
The Red Storm were paced by senior Nate Hathaway, who was disqualified at regionals for wearing a bracelet, but came in second at states to Brunswick standout Will Geoghegan in a time of 15:46. Sophomore Nick Morris was eighth (16:48). Freshman Robby Hall (27th, 17:38), junior Zach Brown (29th, 17:40) and senior Sean Griffin (31st, 17:42) were the other scorers. Senior Joe Prosack (36th, 18:00) and junior Tom Hague (40th, 18:05) also took part.
"We had a great season," said Scarborough coach Jim Harmon. "Our runners improved a great deal all season, but in the end, Cheverus improved enough to hold us off. We should be very strong next year since we only lose two of our top five runners."
South Portland's finest finish in years was sparked by senior Jon Clement, who was 17th (17:14), and junior Matt Clement (25th, 17:36). Senior J.C. Esquibel (55th, 18:34), junior Sam Redstone (59th, 18:41) and freshman Ryan Tuttle (66th, 18:57) rounded out the scorers. Junior Tom Redstone (73rd, 19:12) and senior Joe Michaud (89th, 19:55) also competed.
"I was extremely happy with my boys' performance at the state meet," said Red Riots coach Andrew Lupien. "We were slightly disappointed with our seventh place finish in the regional meet and we were really focused on performing better in the state meet. We beat two teams who finished ahead of us at regionals. Jon Clement finished 29th in all classes combined to lead the team. Matt had the 11th best underclassman performance of the day. J.C. was a big difference maker, running 51 seconds faster in states than in regionals. Freshman Ryan Tuttle also ran a much better state meet, finishing 30 seconds faster than at regionals. Sam Redstone, Tom Redstone and Joe Michaud also had solid races in their first state meet.
"Next season we will have a tremendous amount of depth, but may lack a true No. 1 runner. Jon will graduate and his brother Matt may leave cross country to become the drum major of the state champion marching band. Ryan Tuttle, Sam Redstone and Tom Redstone will be returning, as well as our No. 8 runner, Max Knutsen, and our No. 9 runner, Arman Mohammad. Thomas Salamone will return from injury. There is also talent in the middle schools. Our goal will be to return to the state meet and hopefully have another top 10 finish."
In the girls' race, South Portland finished with 176 points (Cheverus won with 52), while Scarborough tallied 178.
The Red Riots were led by freshman Nyajock Pan, who qualified for New Englands as an individual with a 13th-place finish (20:17). Junior Annelise Donahue (27th, 21:26), freshman Bridget Mulligan (30th, 21:40), junior Maria Letourneau (49th, 22:23) and sophomore Shelby Miller (59th, 22:58) also scored. Senior Bobielynn Fisher (74th, 23:51) and freshman Jackie Merrill (79th, 24:04) also took part.
"States for us was a goal that we set at our sign-up meeting last spring," said South Portland coach Karen Reardon. "We talked about it during the summer and all through the season. We wanted to qualify a team for states this year and we wanted to run like we belonged there. I think the girls did exactly that. I am very proud of their efforts, as they not only got to the meet, they improved from the week before at the regionals. Overall, I think that the team ran just about as well as they possibly could at the meet. The top five runners were all under 23 minutes on the course. Obviously the addition of Nyajock helped the team run well too. I had told the girls that I thought we could be seventh in the meet and we were. Next time I will have to give them a higher place.
"In terms of 2010, we are in good shape right now. Of the 19 girls on the team, only two are seniors. From the state meet, we have six of our top seven back for next year. I think the girls were excited about what they did this season as a team and hopefully that will lead us toward continued progress next year. This year has been a good step forward for South Portland girls' cross country. We will be looking to keep moving forward again next year.
For Scarborough, senior Melissa DellaTorre led the way with a 17th-place effort (20:44). Junior Abby Chick (35th, 21:54), freshman Marissa O'Toole (39th, 22:01), senior Margaret Benoit (43rd, 22:11) and junior Sarah Dugas (44th, 22:13) also scored. Senior Libby Davis (49th, 22:28) and junior Emily O'Connor (52nd, 22:30) also competed.
"We ran better than the regional meet," said Red Storm coach Ron Kelly. "We have a good nucleus coming back. We're only losing three out of the top seven."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org