Cape boys repeat as Class B cross country champs
A season of excellence and dominance ended in ultimate triumph for the Cape Elizabeth boys' cross country team Saturday at the Class B state championship meet at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland.
The Capers tallied 49 points to beat talented Ellsworth by 12 and win their second title in a row.
Liam Simpson was the top finisher, coming in second behind Ellsworth's Dan Curts in a time of 16 minutes, 19.45 seconds on the 5-kilometer course. Peter Doane dazzled as well, placing fifth in 16:37.64. Mitch Morris turned heads with an eighth-place showing (17:00.26). Kyle Kennedy placed a strong 12th (17:30.65) and Julian Pelzer rounded out the scoring by coming in 22nd (18:04.02).
"It was a heavyweight fight with Ellsworth," said Cape Elizabeth coach Derek Veilleux. "Since day one of summer practice, we knew that they were a top-notch team and that played out throughout the season. We talked all week about running our race and not getting caught up in the state meet atmosphere. We didn't mention Ellsworth or winning the state title at all, we just focused on what we could control, that was each athlete's own race.
"We got out well, as did Ellsworth. They had five runners with our number four runner at the mile, with our number five back about 15 seconds. By two miles, we had moved into a position to win if we ran a strong last mile. The last half-mile, our training paid big dividends as Mitch, Kyle and Julian all passed runners. Liam and Peter did their thing once again in the front pack. Peter equalled his best time at Twin Brook. Mitch had the race of his life, as he made up four spots in the final 400. He'll be the number one returner in Class B next fall. Kyle fought tough to finish 12th with some breathing issues. He ended up in the ambulance after the race. Julian came up big in the last mile, moving from eight spots behind Ellsworth's number five runner to 10 spots in front of him. The win wasn't easy. Ellsworth put in a great effort and pushed us to the limit. The win was enjoyable for the whole team, they knew they earned it.
"Coming into the season we knew that we had a chance to be one of the best teams in the state. All season our goal was to get back to the state meet and bring home another title. The loss of number three runner Will Britton to injury could have sunk most teams, but the team didn't let that get in the way of their goals. This senior group (gave new life to) the program and returned it to the top. We will miss their leadership and talent next fall."
Cape Elizabeth will have a new look in 2014, but can't be overlooked.
"We have several underclassmen who are motivated to make the jump next fall along with a few talented freshman who will be joining the program," Veilleux said. "If they put in the work next summer, we will once again contend for a state title.
It will be a different team, but one that I know it will make a name for itself."
In the Class B girls' meet, Cape Elizabeth, the regional runner-up, tallied 165 points to come in fifth (Mt. Desert Island was the winner with 49). The Capers were led by Emma Shedd (18th, 21:26.68). Also scoring were Sam Feenstra (31st, 22:15.17), Dana Hatton (33rd, 22:19), Rhoen Fituak (38th, 22:37.43) and Emily Faria (45th, 22:57.41).
In Class A, the Scarborough boys were hoping for another title, but the Red Storm's 94 points left it second behind Lewiston (51). South Portland (264) came in 13th.
Scarborough was paced by Colin Tardiff (seventh, 17:14.28). Also scoring were Jacob Terry (11th, 17:20.97), Andrew Sholl (14th, 17:26.27), Sean McGovern (25th, 17:52.96) and Maxim Doiron (37th, 18:15.28).
"Our team ran well," said Red Storm coach Jim Harmon. "We knew Lewiston was the favorite, so we did our best to stay with them, but they were just too strong."
Scarborough could return to the top spot as soon as 2014.
"We're a young team compared to many with only one senior in our top seven, so the future looks great, but this was a very successful year," said Harmon. "We went undefeated in the regular season, won the Western A meet and were second in the state meet behind a team with three seniors in their top five."
South Portland's top finisher was Gavin Damian-Loring (42nd, 18:21.09). Also scoring were Saadeldin Zacharia (50th, 18:37.05), Jonathan Bagley (51st, 18:37.18), Jacob Guay (54th, 18:50.76) and John Salamone (67th, 19:08.82).
In the girls' meet, won by Bonny Eagle with 82 points, South Portland (157) finished sixth, its best showing since 2002.
The Red Riots had the individual runner-up in Shannon Conley (whose time of 19:40.75 left her six seconds behind Bonny Eagle's Kialeigh Marston). Casey Loring also placed in the top 10 (eighth, 20:08.53). Also scoring were Serena McKenzie (20th, 21:32.17), Ariana Mohammad (59th, 23:20.47) and Casey Kelley (68th, 23:58.17).
Scarborough didn't score as a team, but sent two individuals to states.
Marisa Carbone had the 40th-best time (22:11.49) and Laura Volan had the 45th-best time (22:24.09).
The New England championships are Saturday in Manchester, N.H.
Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough's boys' teams will attend, as will individuals Conley and Loring of South Portland.