The Scarborough boys’ cross country team is once again in championship form. The Red Storm, winners of five of the past seven Class A state titles, took first place at Saturday’s Western A regional championship meet at Twin Brook in Cumberland.
Scarborough had 61 points, 40 better than runner-up South Portland. The Red Storm had the individual champion as well, senior Nick Morris, who completed the 5-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 3.30 seconds. Sophomore Ian Morris (seventh, 17:55.17), junior Robby Hall (ninth, 18:00.30), junior Jack Sullivan (15th, 18:07.02) and senior Wout Moulin (29th, 18:38.18) also scored.
“I was very pleased with our performance,” said Scarborough coach Jim Harmon. “I think our runners ran strong, but saved just a little to have a great state meet. South Portland and Bangor look to be our closest competition, but if our runners have a good day I think we can be victorious. On the other hand, anything can happen, so it should be an exciting day.”
South Portland featured four runners bunched in eight spots. The team’s top finisher was junior Ryan Tuttle (13th, 18:04.87). Also scoring were senior Thomas Salamone (16th, 18:13.18), junior Max Knutsen (17th, 18:13.39), junior Austin Gotts (23rd, 18:31.14) and sophomore Robert Graff (32nd, 18:40.86).
“Overall, I was extremely happy with our the team’s performance,” said Red Riots coach Andrew Lupien. “We fell short of our top goal of winning the meet, but we were happy to bring home the runners-up trophy. Our underclassmen performed extremely well and gave us that push we needed. If our boys run well as a team, we can challenge Scarborough, Massabesic, Bangor and Mt. Ararat for the team title. The boys also have made it a goal to finish in the top six teams out of all classes and qualify for the New England championships in Rhode Island.”
The girls’ meet was won by two-time defending state champion Cheverus with 45 points. South Portland had 155 points and qualified for states. Scarborough had 278 points and was 12th, failing to qualify for the first time since 2002.
The Red Riots were led, as usual, by sophomore Nyajock Pan, who was fifth in 20:16.97). Junior Angela Tirabassi (20th, 22:15.93). senior Kateri Jeffery (40th, 23:30.99), sophomore Ariana Mohammad (43rd, 23:51.03) and freshman Kyndra McKenzie (47th, 24:00.20) were the other scorers.
“The girls did a nice job,” said South Portland coach Karen Reardon. “Our focus once again was to qualify for the state meet as a team. The goal was to finish in the top four and we were fourth, so that was good. Nyajock ran a real solid race on the course, probably her best race on the course to this date. She worked to get out under control and go from there. Angela did a real good job for us. She was very strong throughout the race and allowed us to have two finishers in the top 20, which of course is important score-wise. The progress that Angela has made over the course of the season has been very important for our team. Kateri, running her first race at Twin Brook, led a group of three runners in the 40s. We’ve been helped all season by our pack of three or four runners coming in together ahead of a lot of other teams’ number four or five runners.
“What we’re looking to do this week is to try and move that pack up a little bit more. Hopefully, the course will not be as muddy this week as it was for us last week. It’s very exciting going into this week’s race. We know we have some very strong teams from the West in Cheverus, Massabesic, and Windham to contend with. Mt. Ararat, Brunswick and Mt. Blue will be tough from the East region. As a team, we’re going to try to go out and improve on last week’s performance and try to finish in the top five.”
Red Storm scorers included senior Maggie Smith (27th, 22:52.05), senior Kat Gadbois (38th, 23:28.70), senior Mary Scott (60th, 24:22.91), senior Sarah Marshall (72nd, 25:16.46) and junior Stephanie Ostrowski (81st, 25:47.09).
Both Cape Elizabeth teams qualified for the Class B state meet.
The boys had 88 points and were second to Falmouth (50). Sophomore Peter Doane led the way in sixth place (17:31.82). Junior Thomas Bottomley (17:42.87) and sophomore Liam Simpson (17:49;14) went 11-12. Also scoring were senior Thomas Robinson (27th, 18:23.62) and sophomore Julian Pelzer (32nd, 18:29.73).
“Heading into the regional meet I didn’t quite know what to expect after our finish at the Western Maine Conference championships,” said Capers coach Derek Veilleux. “I knew we would run better, but the boys exceeded my expectations. We executed our race plan to perfection getting out on pace for the first mile, the top three stayed together for two miles, then tried to pass as many people as possible. Doane ended up with personal best by 30 seconds. Bottomley hit a seasonal best and Simpson hit a personal best by 13 seconds, but it was the fourth and fifth runners that made all the difference. Robinson stepped it up with a 22 second personal best, and probably made the difference as he outkicked two York runners in the final 100 meters. Pelzer had a huge run, improving 54 seconds from his run on the same course two weeks ago. It was a complete team effort and I couldn’t have been prouder of the effort.
“Falmouth is the team to beat Saturday. They have the best team. The battle for second should be pretty good with York, Greely, Cape, Caribou and Ellsworth. We’ll have to run even better than last week to get on the podium, I feel the boys are peaking at the right time and their best race will be this weekend. If we compete and run up to our potential, I like our chances.”
The girls’ team placed fourth with 101 points (Greely, 79, was tops). Scorers included senior Tori Brigham (14th, 22:02.05), junior Ellen Best (15th, 22:04.44), junior Emma Inhorn (17th, 22:10.52), sophomore Dana Hatton (26th, 22:33.71) and Noelle Webster (29th, 22:43.30).
The state championship meet is right back at Twin Brook Saturday. The South Portland girls run at 12:30 p.m. The Class A boys start at 1:15 p.m. The Class B girls’ meet begins at 2 p.m. The boys start at 2:45 p.m.
The rest of Western Class A was no match for the Scarborough boys’ cross country team Saturday in the regional championship meet. The Red Storm’s pack included (from left) Ian Morris, Jack Sullivan and Robby Hall.
South Portland junior Angela Tirabassi heads toward her 20th-place finish in the Western A girls’ regional championship meet Saturday. The Red Riots qualified for the state meet next weekend.