Close calls but no titles at cross country states
Ten local cross country teams aimed for glory at the state championships Saturday in Belfast.
No local teams managed to win a title, but one individual wound up first.
In the Class B boys' meet, Falmouth tallied 87 points, but that left the Yachtsmen 11 behind Cape Elizabeth for the top spot. Freeport (203) came in seventh, Greely (252) was ninth and Yarmouth (278) placed 11th.
The Yachtsmen were paced by Bryce Murdick (17 minutes, 10.56 seconds on the 5-kilometer course) and Jay Lesser (17:11.29), who were 10th and 11th respectively for scoring purposes. Also scoring were Spencer Brown (17th, 17:36.59), Sean Soucy (24th, 17:52.42) and Josh Simensky (25th, 17:55.56).
Falmouth couldn't take the top spot in Class B, but the Yachtsmen did qualify for the New England championships, which will be held Nov. 10 at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland.
"We had a good day and the kids ran hard," said Falmouth co-coach Jorma Kurry. "The course was tough with the soft conditions, although the Belfast crew did a great job having it runnable at all. The boys ran smart and hard, but just couldn't quite catch Cape, who had a great day and closed the race with a fury. Bryce and Jay closed the gap on the top guys well and Spencer bounced back from a tough regional race. Sean ran a tremendous race for us as well. With six runners back, things look good for (a likely) move to Class A next year. The boys are looking forward to one more race together (at New Englands)."
Freeport was led by Abrim Berkemeyer (29th, 18:00.11). Also scoring were Mark Donahue (30th, 18:00.61), Zach Merrill (42nd, 18:23.02), Mason Cyr (43rd, 18:23.79) and Austin Williams (59th, 18:50.41).
Greely featured Nathan Madeira, who was fourth (16:40.83), and qualified for New Englands as an individual. Also scoring were Troy Cochran (55th, 18:42.6), Ryan Morison (60th, 18:50.74), Ian Byron (65th, 18:59.3) and Ryder White (68th, 19:03.86).
Yarmouth was once again paced by Braden Becker, who placed fifth in 16:51.09 and qualified for the New England meet as an individual. Thomas Robichaud came in 13th (17:28.63). Also scoring were Sam Gerkin (83rd, 19:27.77), Colin Kerner (85th, 19:30.64) and Ian Grover (92nd, 19:49.68).
The girls' Class B championship was won by Mt. Desert Island with 67 points. Greely (142) placed fourth, Falmouth (148) was fifth, Yarmouth (152) sixth and Freeport (177) eighth.
Greely's Kirstin Sandreuter came in second individually to Bethanie Brown of Waterville with a time of 19:01.19. Eva Bates was fourth (19:40.58). Both girls qualified for the New England meet. Also scoring for the Rangers were Krista Marble (43rd, 22:06.31), Sarah Kurland (45th, 22:08.95) and Emily Mason (48th, 22:10.6).
The Yachtsmen had a pair of top 20 finishers, Vishva Nalamalapu (14th, 20;35.9) and Geneva Waite (18th, 20:44.7). Other scorers included Madeline Roberts (28th, 21:25.23), Abby Payson (32nd, 21:40.26) and Alta Farrell (56th, 22:37.99).
"The girls ran strong," Kurry said. "Hats off to Greely for a great run as well. Vishva had a great race again and Geneva ran strong. Madeline's comeback from injury helped her make good progress from regionals and Abby capped a great career with a nice race. Overall, the girls finished well and it has been a season that exceeded our preseason expectations. They were a great group."
The Clippers were led by Sarah Becker (12th, 20:28.72). Caitlin Teare (24th, 21:13.91), Ellie Teare (27th, 21:24.56), Emma Egan (39th, 21:58.22) and Emma Pidden (50th, 22:15.65) also scored.
Freeport was led by Elly Bengtsson, who was 25th (21:16.5). Also scoring were Nina Davenport (31st, 21:38.56), Bethanie Knighton (34th, 21:46.14), Hayley Steckler (38th, 21:56.35) and Ciera Wentworth (49th, 22:13.88).
In Class C, Merriconeag's two-year reign as champion ended as it came in fourth with 84 points, one behind third-place Waynflete, two behind runner-up Orono and 26 behind new champion Washburn.
Individually, Samantha Pierce led the way with a ninth-place showing (21:26.3). Also scoring were Teagan Wu (13th, 22:01.75), Zoe Chace-Donahue (14th, 22:10.37), Carlin Tindall (20th, 22:44.45) and Emelie Chace-Donahue (28th, 23:21.19).
North Yarmouth Academy didn't compete as a team, but Hannah Austin did run and had the third-best time (20:34.3).
In the boys' meet, NYA wasn't able to win a third straight title, tallying 179 points to come in eighth (Hall-Dale won it with 86).
The Panthers' top finisher was Matt Malcolm (ninth, 17:45.81). Also scoring were Jake Burns (29th, 18:43.83), John LeBlanc (39th, 19:09.46), Haley Cunningham (42nd, 19:16.15) and El Tayeb Dahia (60th, 19:59.39).
Merriconeag didn't run as a team, but did boast class champion Jack Pierce (15:57.41), who was third among runners in all classes and qualified for New Englands in the process.