As expected, Forecaster Country cross-country teams stole the show at Saturday’s regional championships at Twin Brook in Cumberland.
Two local boys’ squads, Greely and North Yarmouth Academy, finished first and all 12 teams in the coverage area qualified for Saturday’s state meet in Belfast.
In the Western C boys’ meet, NYA was first with 61 points, 24 better than runner-up Freeport. Merriconeag-Waldorf came in seventh and was the last qualifier with 167.
The Panthers were led by Cam Regan (who finished the 5-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 12.80 seconds) and Evan Kendall (17:25.50), who were fifth and sixth respectively for scoring purposes. Rudy Guiliani (13th, 18:01.50), Elliot Daniels (15th, 18:18) and Grant McPherson (22nd, 18:28.80) also scored.
“I was very pleased with our guys’ performances,” said NYA coach Peter Sillin. “Five of my seven runners had personal records on Saturday and Twin Brook is a difficult course to do that. They are peaking at the right time of the year. Cam and Evan ran very smart races. They didn’t go out too hard, so they still had what they needed in the final mile. They’ve been our heavy one-two punch all season. Rudy ran his best race of the year. Elliot thrilled our fans with his dramatic kick to the finish. Grant carried out his race plan perfectly and shattered his (personal record) as a result. Brian Trelegan and Ian Moore both ran strong races.
“It’s always a great day when you can compete with some of the most venerable programs in Class C. Teams like Freeport, Boothbay and Waynflete are full of talented kids led by experienced coaches. It’s great to be right in the mix with them.
“I’m cautiously optimistic about the state meet. As I’ve already told the guys, it doesn’t mean anything to be the favorite going in. In each of the past two years, the heavy pre-race favorite has been upset in the state meet. We’re going to have to run our very best to achieve our goal this year.”
Freeport’s five scorers finished within seven places of each other. Taylor Saucier (14th, 18:13.70), Griffin Day (16th, 18:19.20), Bennett Wade (17th, 18:19.60), Ian McGhie (18th, 18:20.90) and Max Jennings (20th, 18:24.70) gave the Falcons a strong pack.
“The boys had a great regionals,” said Freeport coach Brian Berkemeyer. “I was pretty certain that we would be one of the state qualifiers, but being the runner-up made it a bit more special. We have very solid pack. With some continued improvement we hope to give NYA some very solid competition. We will also have to watch out for Waynflete.”
Merriconeag, as usual, was led by Jack Pierce, who was second in 16:47.10. Tyler O’Brien (28th, 18:46.70), Phineas Samuelson (35th, 19:08.20), Ben Tindall (50th, 20:06.50) and Cyrus Fenderson (52nd, 20:11.30) also scored.
In the Western C girls’ race, Waynflete held off Merriconeag by a point, 63-64. NYA (80) came in third and Freeport (85) placed fourth.
Merriconeag was paced by Zoe Chace, who came in third individually (21:22.50). Teagan Wu placed sixth (22:02.10). Carlin Tindall (11th, 22:49.70), Emelie Chace (19th, 23:41.10) and Emma Dolan (25th, 24:37.30) also scored.
The Panthers were led by Hillary Detert (fifth, 21:52.50). Maggie Mexiell (10th, 22:33.90), Sarah Jordan (16th, 23:22.40), Morgan Scully (21st, 23:47.30) and Hadley Gibson (28th, 24:44.50) were the other scorers.
For the Falcons, Lauren Easler was the fastest finisher (ninth, 22:25.80). Gabby Tilton (14th, 23:11.20), Ellie Soule (15th, 23:15.90), Emily Jennings (23rd, 24:09.80) and Lia Wellen (24th, 24:18.70) also scored.
“The girls have bit more of a challenge,” said Berkemeyer. “I was very pleased with Lauren Easler making the top 10. The freshman girls have been improving all season and Ellie Soule and Lia Wellen are ready for the return to states. Obviously, Waynflete and Merriconeag are favorites, but we are looking to turn some heads.”
For the third year in a row, Greely’s boys are the best team in Western B. The Rangers tallied 68 points Saturday to edge runner-up Cape Elizabeth by three and third-place Falmouth by seven. Yarmouth finished with 152 points, was sixth and qualified for the fourth year in a row.
Greely had two top-10 finishers, Sam Johnston (third, 16:54) and Stefan Sandreuter (eighth, 17:33.96). Other scorers were Connor Regan (11th, 17:46.72), Nathan Madeira (12th, 17:47.14) and Justin Murphy (34th, 18:56.40).
“Each runner ran a twin brook personal best, with Nate taking 1:20 off his previous best time on the course,” said Rangers coach David Dowling. “With Sam leading the way, the pack closed together led by Stefan, Connor, Nate, and Justin rounding out the top five. Jamie Currie and Ian Byron also PR’d for our sixth and seventh positions. This allowed the team to close the gap on Falmouth and Cape and eke out a win.”
The Yachtsmen were paced by Tim Follo, who was runner-up to Fryeburg’s Silas Eastman in 16:37.80. Thomas Edmonds (ninth, 17:35.97), Conor McGrory (13th, 17:49.03), Johnny Lake (24th, 18:13.31) and Henry Briggs (27th, 18:21.81) were the other scorers.
“The boys ran well,” said Falmouth co-coach Danny Paul. “Our No. 2 or 3 through the season, Johnny, struggled. He mostly biked last week trying to let a calf injury heal. As usual, Tim ran a strong race up front. If Johnny finishes where he typically does, we probably win. Hopefully he will have a full week of running and we can challenge for the state championship. Thomas ran a terrific race and Conor, Henry, Azad Jalali and Colby Howland ran solidly, making us the best team through seven runners. Both Greely and Cape had outstanding meets.”
“The meet was decent for us, but not our best day,” added co-coach Jorma Kurry. ” Some of our kids ran very well, like Thomas and Conor. Tim was strong as well, getting a Twin Brook PR.”
Yarmouth got a sixth-place finish from Ben Nickerson (17:28.26). Ben Woodbury (15th, 17:58.04), Thomas Robichaud (38th, 18:41.55), Jack Elder (46th, 19:03.08) and Braden Becker (47th, 19:05.39) also scored.
“Mission accomplished,” said longtime Clippers coach Bob Morse. “Only nine boys on the team, but we qualified for states. It was a great job by our captains, one in top 10 and the other in top 20. The other boys are all underclassmen and they ran great. Our goal is to make the top 10 at states.”
Speaking of which, the Rangers now turn their attention toward winning Class B for the fourth straight season.
“The state meet should be very close between Cape, Falmouth, Greely, and Caribou, who looked very strong in their regional meet,” said Dowling.
The Yachtsmen will be one of the teams hot on the Rangers’ heels.
“The state meet looks like a four-way dogfight with the three teams from our league and Caribou from the East,” Paul said. “Hampden and York are also contenders.”
“We hope and expect to finish strong next week,” Kurry added. “We expect the boys’ meet to be a great battle among five or six teams and we should be right in the mix. The boys are very excited for the meet.”
In the Class B girls’ meet, won easily, as expected, by Cape Elizabeth with 56 points, Yarmouth dazzled with a second-place finish (89) and qualified for states for the first time since 2007. Falmouth (91) came in third and Greely (111) placed fourth.
The Clippers were led by Sarah Becker, who was fifth individually (20:37.30). Joss Richards-Daniels (11th, 21:15.90), Sydney Sperber (23rd, 22:25), Brittany Elvidge (24th, 22:29.10) and Chloe Sarapas (26th, 22:35.10) also scored.
“The girls were amazing,” Morse said. “Nobody predicted we’d go home with medals. Sarah Becker was in the top 5 and Joss Richards-Daniels top 20. The other girls all ran tough, through pain, and did not give up any ground the last mile. The girls are hoping for another great performance at states. Coaches Erin Lane, Chuck Thorp and myself are very very proud of our ‘Hill and Dalers.’ It was a total team effort and the cheering crew was awesome.”
The Yachtsmen placed Meg Palombo in the top 10 (10th, 21:15). Summer Greenwood (16th, 22:09.20), Maggie Parrish (17th, 22:15.10), Abby Payson (20th, 22:18.20) and Emily Rand (28th, 22:42.90) were the other scorers.
“Our girls’ team was without Molly Ryan (top five all season), who had a leg injury and it’s unclear if she will be back by states,” Paul said. “Meg Palombo had a great race leading the team, while our usual No. 1, Maggie Parrish, struggled, but overall the girls ran well. Hopefully at states they will all run well on the same day. I believe we will be anywhere from second to fifth at states. Cape appears to be a strong favorite. Yarmouth ran very well and will be in the mix at states, along with John Bapst and MDI.”
“The girls will be shooting for a top-three finish, battling with Yarmouth, John Bapst and MDI as we all try to catch Cape Elizabeth,” Kurry added.
For Greely, freshman sensation Kirstin Sandreuter was runner-up to Maranacook standout Abby Mace in 20:04.90. Jordan Ouellette (13th, 21:48.90), Megan Stroud (19th, 22:17.30), Krista Marble (31st, 22:51.70) and Julia Isaacson (46th, 24:21.50) also scored.
“The girls also all ran personal bests for the season,” Dowling said. “Kirstin Sandreuter held off York’s No. 1 at the finish for second overall, followed by strong performances by Jordon, Megan, Krista, Julia and Melissa Jacques. Their fourth-place finish was a pleasant surprise and earned them a trip to states.”
Saturday, at Belfast, the festivities begin at 11 a.m. with the Class B boys’ meet. The Class B girls run at 11:45 a.m. The Class C boys’ race starts at 12:30 p.m. The Class C girls compete at 1:15 p.m.
The New England championships are Saturday, Nov. 13.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Falmouth junior Tim Follo runs toward a second-place finish in the Western B boys’ race Saturday. Follo and his teammates came in third behind Greely and Cape Elizabeth.
Greely’s Kristin Sandreuter continued her dazzling freshman campaign by placing second in the Class B girls’ race. The Rangers finished fourth as a team.
NYA junior Hillary Detert (left) and Merriconeag freshman Keegan Wu run in tandem during the Western C race. Detert wound up fifth individually, Wu sixth. Merriconeag edged NYA for second place in the team standings.