The Falmouth Yachtsmen were just one of roughly 60 schools from two countries taking part in the Festival of Champions in Belfast Saturday, but when the dust (and mud) settled, the Yachtsmen boys had no peer.
Falmouth (the top-ranked team in the latest coaches’ poll) tallied 136 points, which was 23 better than runner-up J.H. Gillis (Nova Scotia).
The Yachtsmen saw senior Tim Follo post the fifth-best time (completing the five-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 39.31 seconds). Also scoring for Falmouth were junior Jay Lesser (24th, 17:50.50), senior Colby Howland (28th, 17:53.31), freshman Spencer Brown (17:54.12) and senior Thomas Edmonds (50th, 18:14.96).
“It was a good day for us,” said Yachtsmen co-coach Jorma Kurry. “The team really handled the difficult weather situation well, maintaining a positive attitude and staying focused on racing. The boys came in very focused and they seem to enjoy conditions that are a little crazy, so things were just fine. Tim was consistent as always and our pack was strengthened by Colby and Spencer running great races. Jay, Thomas, Conor McGrory and Henry Briggs were tough in the conditions.”
“We competed very well in a huge field and that experience is crucial for the important meets ahead,” added co-coach Danny Paul.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, Falmouth’s girls (ranked sixth by the coaches) also turned heads, finishing third out of 40 scoring teams. The Yachtsmen were behind only Mt. Desert Island and Camden Hills. Individually, the top Falmouth finisher was sophomore Madeline Roberts, who was 15th, in 20:53.98. Senior Jena Mannette (34th, 21:37.70), junior Abby Payson (44th, 22:02.22), senior Grace Dancoes (57th, 22:21.19) and freshman Elizabeth Cattell (71st, 22:34.90) were the other scorers.
“The girls had a strong performance and we’re excited for the later meets,” said Kurry. “Madeline and Jena ran very well for us and the our depth was a key as Abby, Grace and Lizzie came in soon after. The girls are really coming together as a team now. Adding Molly Paris back in will give us a chance to be very competitive.“
North Yarmouth Academy and Yarmouth also took part in Belfast.
The Panthers boys (eighth in the coaches’ poll) were 13th, the girls 32nd. Senior Evan Kendall was the boys’ top individual (46th, 18:13.56). The girls were paced by senior Hillary Detert, who was 72nd (22:37.13).
The Clippers wound up 13th in the girls’ race and 36th on the boys’ side. Individually, junior Sarah Becker (30th, 21:24.79) set the pace for the girls, with sophomore Braden Becker leading the boys (58th, 18:21.16).
Closer to home last weekend, Freeport and Greely joined Gray-New Gloucester, Traip and Wells for a meet at York. The Rangers won the girls’ meet, while the Falcons came in third. Freeport’s boys (10th in the coaches’ poll) were second, while Greely (third in the coaches’ poll) placed third.
Individually, in the boys’ race, Freeport’s Taylor Saucier came in fourth (17:31). The Rangers were led by Nate Madeira (ninth, 18:18). On the girls’ side, Greely’s Kirstin Sandreuter was runner-up (20:01). The Falcons’ top finisher was Ellie Soule (fourth, 21:52).
Merriconeag joined Cape Elizabeth and Lake Region at Fryeburg last weekend. Both squads came in second. Jack Pierce was runner-up in the boys’ race (16:30). Jesse Saffeir was second in the girls’ competition (21:33).
This weekend, Greely hosts Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth and Yarmouth in a compelling battle.
“We’re very pleased with the (Belfast) results, but now we’re looking ahead to racing Greely for the first time this season as they seem to be improving fast,” Kurry said.
NYA is home with Freeport, Merriconeag and Sacopee Valley.