More excellence for local runners at regional meet
Forecaster Country cross country teams put on a show at Saturday's regional championships at Twin Brook Recreation Center, as 10 of 12 punched tickets to states and two girls' squads, Falmouth and Merriconeag, wound up on top.
The Yachtsmen girls posted 66 points to 93 for runner-up Yarmouth and 107 for third-place Freeport. Greely (114) also qualified with a fifth-place showing.
Falmouth, which qualified for states for the ninth year in a row, was paced by Vishva Nalamalapu, who finished the 5-kilometer course in 21 minutes, 41.14 seconds, good for sixth. Geneva Waite (21:43.25) was right behind in seventh position. Also scoring were Alta Farrell (14th, 22:33.04), Madeline Roberts (16th, 22:34.47) and Abby Payson (23rd, 22:54.65).
"The girls had an excellent day," said Yachtsmen co-coach Jorma Kurry. "It was our first win at the Class B regionals since we moved up in 2001. Vishva, Geneva and Alta all had tremendous runs. Madeline ran a gutsy race after coming back from her injury. Abby struggled with footing, but still had a strong finish to push us over the top. It was a great team effort. The girls are very excited and eager to take on the Eastern teams now. It will be a tough meet with Camden, Waterville and MDI all strong in the East, as well as Yarmouth, Freeport and Cape."
"The girls ran an aggressive and intelligent race," added co-coach Danny Paul. "We needed Madeline, who has been our No. 1 all season to give us a solid effort returning form injury and she did that. The rest of the girls ran strongly giving us an outstanding pack. We will need to be even better next week to have a shot at MDI and Camden."
Yarmouth continued its stellar season and qualified for states for the third year running. The Clippers featured top 10 finishers Caitlin Teare (eighth, 21:49.07) and Sarah Becker (ninth, 21:59.38). Also scoring were Ellie Teare (13th, 22:29.48), Emma Pidden (29th, 23:23.05) and Emma Egan (34th, 23:37.74).
Freeport made it 10 straight state qualifications behind a strong pack. Scoring were Nina Davenport (15th, 22:33.55), Elly Bengtsson (17th, 22:41.02), Ciera Wentworth (20th, 22:46.46), Bethanie Knighton (27th, 23:11.19) and Hayley Steckler (28th, 23:18.90).
"I was really impressed," said Falcons coach Brian Berkemeyer. "We managed to get all five girls in the top 30. It is a tough battle with Falmouth and Yarmouth doing even better. We are coming together and will be pushing the pack together at the state meet."
Greely qualified for states for the fifth year in a row and 33rd time in 34 tries. The Rangers had the fastest Class B individual in Kirstin Sandreuter, who had a time of 19:57.6. Not far behind was third-place finisher Eva Bates (20:45.91). Jill Booth (33rd, 23:37.11), Emily Mason (38th, 23:49.96) and Sarah Kurland (39th, 23:55.28) were the other scorers.
In the boys' meet, Cape Elizabeth took top honors with 64 points. Falmouth (105) was third, five points behind York. Freeport (148) came in sixth, Yarmouth (164) was seventh and Greely (188) was eighth and the last team to qualify.
The Yachtsmen, who qualified for states for the 15th year in a row, were led by Jay Lesser (eighth, 18:01.99). Bryce Murdick came in 10th (18:10.52), Sean Soucy was 20th (18:39.74), Iain Kurry placed 27th (18:49.54) and Spencer Brown wound up 40th, (19:23.73).
"Overall, the day exhibited how fortunate we are to have the depth we do," said Paul. "Even without some folks or with a couple of runners not having the best day, we ran well. I was pleased overall with the guys we ran, especially Jay, Bryce, Sean and Iain. Hope this week at states we will have both Josh Simensky and Scott Lambert back at full strength. If so, the meet will likely be very very close. We saw Cape Elizabeth at full strength and they were impressive. York's boys have been improving steadily. Ellsworth's boys are also in the fight."
"The boys were led by a great run from Jay," Kurry added. "Bryce, Sean and Iain also ran well. Scott Lambert and Josh Simensky will return to the lineup this week and that will put us in contention with Cape Elizabeth, Ellsworth and York at the state meet. The boys are eager to race again."
Freeport, which made it to states for the fourth year in succession, was led by Abrin Berkemeyer (15th, 18:28.50). Also scoring were Mark Donahue (16th, 18:30.96), Mason Cyr (36th, 19:13.3), Zach Merrill (37th, 19:16.96) and Chris West (44th, 19:37.83).
"The boys are happy to be going to the state meet," said Berkemeyer. "We had an impressive performance from Mark. He and Abrin coming in the top 20 was a pleasant surprise."
Yarmouth missed the state meet in 2011, but got the job done Saturday behind Braden Becker (fifth, 17:46.88), Thomas Robichaud (11th, 18:43), Chase Hughes (28th, 18:52.91), Sam Gerkin (57th, 20:04.97) and Ian Grover (63rd, 20:19.5).
Greely made it seven straight state trips and featured the No. 2 runner in Western B, Nate Madeira (17:10.61). Also scoring were Troy Cochran (32nd, 19:01.61), Ryan Morrison (45th, 19:41.67), Connor Rog (54th, 19:56.24) and Ian Byron (55th, 20:01.39).
In the Western C girls' meet, Merriconeag posted 79 points to hold off Waynflete by six. North Yarmouth Academy (165) finished ninth and didn't make the cut.
Merriconeag's scorers were Samantha Pierce (fourth, 22:34.27), Teagan Wu (seventh, 22:52.94), Zoe Chace-Donahue (12th, 23:32.07), Emelie Chace-Donahue (27th, 24:30.08) and Carlin Tindall (29th, 24:49.18).
NYA's Hannah Austin qualified for states as an individual after posting the second-best Western C time (21:29.7). Also scoring were Kate Hilscher (15th, 23:50.86), Maddie Cutten (44th, 26:23.42), Ellis Miskell (50th, 27:32.49) and Abbie Hinchman (54th, 29:08.1). The Panthers' string of three straight state appearances came to an end.
In the boys' meet, won by Hall-Dale with 92 points, NYA (145) came in sixth. Merriconeag (186) was ninth and failed to qualify.
The Panthers featured Matt Malcolm (eighth, 18:29.8), Jake Burns (19th, 19:31.01), Haley Cunningham (30th, 20:08.73), John LeBlanc (40th, 20:34.24) and El Tayeb Dahia (48th, 20:47.16).
"Our guys ran quite well considering the conditions and I am very pleased to advance to the state meet, which was a significant team goal this season," said NYA coach Peter Sillin. "Matt was a real trooper in the lead and gutsy races from Jake and John made a difference. Some of our new runners, Haley and 'L.T.,' had breakout efforts. Our whole team ran well at the Festival of Champions Meet in Belfast last month, so I am optimistic that we’ll finish the season on a high note."
Merriconeag had the top individual in any class, Jack Pierce (16:38.28). He'll run at states as an individual. Also scoring were Zach Neveu (10th, 18:37.57), Lars Gundersen (53rd, 20:59.7), Ben Tindall (59th, 21:16.32) and Graham Roeber (63rd, 21:29.14).
Belfast will host the state championship meets Saturday.
The Class B boys' meet at begins at 12:30 p.m. The Class B girls run at 1:15 p.m. The Class C boys start at 2 p.m. The Class C girls' meet begins at 2:45 p.m.
The New England championships are scheduled for Nov. 10, at Twin Brook.