Local runners dominate at WMC championship meet
Act one of the three-part cross country postseason was contested at St. Joseph's College in Standish Friday when local powers took part in the Western Maine Conference championship meet.
Falmouth was the overall boys' and girls' champion.
The meet was additionally broken down into Division I and II where the Yachtsmen took the boys' crown with 44 points. Freeport (82) came in fourth, while Greely (109) came in fifth.
Falmouth was led by Bryce Murdick, who completed the 5-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 41 seconds, good for fifth in Division I. Also scoring were Spencer Brown (sixth, 17:45), Jay Lesser (eighth, 17:47), Josh Simensky (11th, 17:58) and Sean Soucy (14th, 18:23).
"The boys ran well," said Yachtsmen co-coach Jorma Kurry. "Spencer Brown and Sean Soucy had great races and we should be in a great race with Cape Elizabeth for the win at regionals. The teams are very evenly matched. Bryce Murdick and Jay Lesser continue to be strong at the front and lead the team."
"Our pack is the key to our success," added co-coach Danny Paul. "We are 10 deep. (Runner-up) Cape Elizabeth was without two of their top five , so we did not see them at full strength. However, I think our pack would have still held them off. I guess the next two Saturdays will tell the tale. I am excited for this boys' group, especially given that we graduated five of last year's top seven."
Scoring for Freeport were Abrim Berkemeyer (ninth, 17:55), Mark Donahue (12th, 18:03), Mason Cyr (18th, 18:38), Zach Merrill (20th, 18:42) and Chris West (23rd, 18:53).
Greely was paced by Nate Madeira, who won Division I and was third altogether with a time of 16:56. Also scoring were Ian Byron (22nd, 18:52), Ryan Morrison (25th, 18:55), Troy Cochrane (26th, 19:02) and Ryder White (35th, 19:31).
In the Division II boys' standings, Fryeburg, paced by overall winner Silas Eastman, was first with 35 points. Yarmouth continued its solid season by placing second (72). Merriconeag (85) was third and North Yarmouth Academy (85) fourth.
The Clippers got a third-place finish from Braden Becker (17:18). Also scoring were Thomas Robichuad (18:17), Ian Grover (19th, 20:00), Andrew Nickerson (21st, 20:04) and Colin Kerner (22nd, 20:06).
"We hope to secure the last slot at regionals," said Yarmouth coach Bob Morse. "It's Falmouth all the way with Cape a close second."
Merriconeag was paced, as usual, by Jack Pierce (second overall in 16:22). Also scoring were Zach Neveu (sixth, 18:09), Ben Tindall (20th, 20:02), Lars Gundersen (25th, 20:25) and Cesar Beauche (32nd, 21:28).
The Panthers featured Matt Malcolm (fourth, 17:49). Also scoring were Jake Burns (13th, 19:18), John LeBlanc (15th, 19:21), Haley Cunningham (26th, 20:31) and L.T. Dahia (27th, 20:32).
On the girls' side, in Division I, Greely edged Falmouth for the top spot (57-60). Freeport was close behind in third position with 65 points.
The Rangers had the top two overall finishers Kirstin Sandreuter (19:28) and Eva Bates (19:48). Also scoring were Sarah Kurland (16th, 22:29), Emma Mason (18th, 22:30) and Krista Marble (20th, 22:33).
The Yachtsmen were paced by Geneva Waite (fourth, 20:48). Also scoring were Vishva Nalamalapu (seventh, 21:28), Abigail Payson (11th, 21:55), Alta Farrell (12th, 22:02) and Hayley Simmons (26th, 23:06).
"The girls ran very well despite missing Madeline Roberts," said Kurry. "When we add her back in on Saturday, we expect to compete well with Greely, Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth and Maranacook. The girls are in a good place mentally and moving forward."
"If we are at full strength Saturday at regionals, I like our chances," Paul added. "Overall, this is also a pretty deep team that still looking to improve."
For Freeport, Nina Davenport was the first finisher (sixth, 21:27). Also scoring were Bethany Knighton (10th, 21:53), Hayley Steckler (13th, 22:04), Elly Bengtsson (17th, 22:29) and Kayla Belanger (19th, 22:32).
In Division II, Yarmouth took the top spot with 37 points. Merriconeag came in third with 64.
The Clippers had the top two finishers in the division, Caitlin Teare (20:48) and Ellie Teare (21:33). Also scoring were Emma Pidden (eighth, 22:28), Emma Egan (11th, 22:53) and Gabrielle Beaulieu (15th, 23:25).
"It's a five-team race for the top spot at regionals with Greely and Falmouth getting pre-meet votes, followed by Yarmouth, Freeport and Cape. Every team is hoping that Lake Region will have five healthy girls to start the meet, if not then only six teams qualify for states."
Merriconeag's top finisher was Samantha Pierce (third, 21:51). Other scorers were Teagan Wu (seventh, 22:17), Zoe Chace-Donahue (14th, 23:22), Carlin Tindall (19th, 24:15) and Emelie Chace-Donahue (21st, 24:24).
NYA didn't score as a team. Hannah Austin had the seventh-best time, regardless of division (21:03).
The regional championships are Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland.
The Falmouth, Freeport, Greely and Yarmouth boys run at 12:30 p.m. The Class B girls start at 1:05. Merriconeag and NYA's boys compete at 2:30 p.m. The Class C girls begin at 3:05 p.m.
The state championships are Saturday, Oct. 27, at Belfast.
The New England championship meet is in Maine this year, back at Twin Brook, Nov. 10.