Saturday’s cross country state championship meet in Belfast had a decided Forecaster Country feel to the top of the standings as three teams: the Freeport boys, Greely girls and Merriconeag boys, all took home state titles.
And there was plenty of other triumph as well.
The Merriconeag boys tallied 72 points to edge Orono by six for the top spot. Tucker Pierce (fourth in 17 minutes, 10.49 seconds), Nick Neveu (sixth, 17:30.50) and Zach Neveu (eighth, 17:45.07) all placed in the top 10. Dylan Wu (21st, 18:13.58) and Lars Gunderson (33rd, 18:48.97) also scored.
North Yarmouth Academy (189) placed eighth. Matt Malcom was ninth (17:45.96). Also scoring were Haley Cunningham (23rd, 18:20.88), John LeBlanc (39th, 19:07.71), Jack Kostelnik (55th, 20:40.87) and Patrick Jackson (63rd, 20:57.52).
In the girls’ meet, won by Orono with 31 points, Merriconeag (113) placed fourth and NYA (145) finished fifth.
Merriconeag was led by Olivia Skillins, eighth in 20:30.51. Also scoring were Samatha Pierce (12th, 20:51.48), Fiona Ahearne (13th, 20:59.92), Louise Ahearne (19th, 21:34.78) and Emma Goldberg-Courtney (61st, 24:23.77).
The Panthers, as always, were paced by Hannah Austin, who was third in 19:58.21. Sarah Austin (24th, 22:10.13), Megan Alberding (28th, 22:20.45), Sarah Cooper (34th, 22:33.55) and Kate Hilscher (56th, 24:06.03) were the other scorers.
Freeport’s boys had 57 points to win a first Class B title. The Falcons featured Chandler Vincent (second, 16:26.50) and Eric Brobst (fifth, 17:02.74) placing in the top five. Also scoring were Henry Jaques (12th, 17:18.21), Tyler Frye (14th, 17:22.40) and Liam Gallagher (24th, 17:48.12).
“On Saturday, we had the chance to put it all together for the first time this year,” said Freeport coach Brian Berkemeyer. “My top five runners all set (personal records) on the same day. When you have that kind of team effort, it’s hard to be beaten. We knew that we weren’t the favorites going in, but we also knew we had the talent. The team all knew that they were running for each other. No one wanted to let the team down.
“Liam, who has been our 5 or 6 runner all year, came through with a 49-second improvement. Chandler and Erik had great days making the top 10. Henry, our lone sophomore, improved by 30 seconds. Tyler is the only senior in our the top five and he had a solid race after cramping up at regionals. We have a little depth and this is a great opportunity to spur on all of the underclassmen. Next year should be very interesting, but it will take another team effort.”
Greely (108) placed fourth. The Rangers were led by Ryan Morrison (sixth, 17:05.16). Troy Cochran (10th, 17;17.37) also finished in the top 10. Greely’s other scorers were Kyle Hansen (16th, 17:26.70), Connor Rog (29th, 17:59.27) and Max Stickney (47th, 18:32.69).
“Ryan, Troy and Kyle all had personal best times on a very muddy course,” said longtime Rangers coach David Dowling.
Yarmouth didn’t score as a team, but Luke Laverdiere (seventh, 16:53.15) and Sammy Potter (28th, 17:47.33) ran as individuals.
In the girls’ meet, Greely (59 points) edged regional champion Yarmouth (64) for the title.
The Rangers had the top two individuals: Katherine Leggat-Barr (19:17.12) and Izzy Evans (19:33.58). Also scoring were Emily Mason (11th, 20:10.54), Sophia Stickney (19th, 21:01.40) and Kate Curran (26th, 21:13.52).
“We got extraordinary performances by all seven girls,” said Dowling. “After losing to Yarmouth by six points at regionals, the taper week was welcome and had its intended effect. The girls ran aggressively and with focus. Katherine and Izzy, who knew they could run with the leaders, executed their plan perfectly. Emma Mason split the Yarmouth foursome and Sophie Stickney and Kate Curran ran very well to keep the team just ahead of a very strong Yarmouth squad.”
The Clippers, who had their best finish ever, featured Anneka Murrin coming in sixth (19:52.95), Grace Cowles placing eighth in 20:01.52 and Abigail Hamilton (ninth, 20:07.45) also finishing in the top 10. Caitlin Teare (13th, 20:16.93) and Lucy Alexander (28th, 21:24.68) were the other scorers.
Freeport didn’t qualify, but Lily Johnston was 21st individually in 20:37.80.
Falmouth took part in its second Class A state meet and again, performed well.
The boys, who edged Scarborough at the regional championship meet, weren’t as fortunate this time around, finishing runners-up, as their 87 points left them 14 behind the Red Storm. Falmouth was led by Bryce Murdick (second, 16:01.12). Also scoring were Sean Soucy (15th, 16:46.54), Spencer Brown (21st, 16:57.85), Scott Lambert (24th, 17:07.47) and Josh Simensky (25th, 17:11.20).
The girls had 151 points to come in fifth (Scarborough won with 92). The Yachtsmen were led by Mira Wyman, who was 18th in 20:17.88. Other scorers included Hannah Berzinis (24th, 20:50.19), Antoinette Lambert (32nd, 21:05.41), Gina Pardi (35th, 21:13.22) and Paige Chamberlain (42nd, 21:26.59).
The cross country season comes to a close Saturday in Manchester, Connecticut with the New England championships.
The Falmouth, Freeport and Merriconeag boys and the Greely and Yarmouth girls all qualified.