Saturday’s regional cross country championships were once again kind to Forecaster Country squads as 10 of 12 local teams managed to qualify for this coming weekend’s state meet.
Falmouth’s boys won Western A for the first time, while the girls qualified as well after placing third.
In Class B, Yarmouth’s girls made history by winning their first regional championship. Greely came in second and qualified, while Freeport placed seventh, just missing qualifying by one spot. In the boys’ meet, Greely was second and Freeport came in fourth. Both qualified. Yarmouth’s ninth-place finish wasn’t enough to get the Clippers to states.
In Class C, Merriconeag (second) and NYA (fifth) both qualified on the boys’ side, while Merriconeag placed second and the Panthers were third in the girls’ meet, qualifying as well.
Falmouth’s boys were regional runners-up in 2013, placing second to Scarborough. This time around, the squads swapped places.
The Yachtsmen finished with 49 points, while the Red Storm managed 52.
Falmouth was paced by Bryce Murdick, the overall male champion at the previous week’s Western Maine Conference meet, who came in third individually Saturday, completing the 5,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 53.47 seconds. Spencer Brown (fifth, 17:03.16) was also in the top five. Scott Lambert (12th, 17:29.94), Sean Soucy (13th, 17:29.99) and Josh Simensky (16th, 17:44.82) also scored.
“The kids ran well,” said Yachtsmen coach Jorma Kurry. “The boys are getting more healthy as the season goes and that’s a big part of the results. It was an extremely close race from start to finish and the boys executed well.”
In the girls’ race, Falmouth tallied 101 points, which left it behind Massabesic (70) and Scarborough (81).
The Yachtsmen were led by Mira Wyman, who was the overall female champion at the Western Maine Conference meet. Wyman placed 11th Saturday with a time of 21:16.69. Also scoring were Vishva Nalamalapu (16th, 21:24.37), Antoinette Lambert (19th, 21:48.53), Hannah Berzinis (23rd, 22:02.78) and Paige Chamberlain (32nd, 22:14.63).
“The girls had a good day, but will look to take it up a notch going into the state meet,” Kurry said. “They will work on being more assertive.”
Yarmouth’s girls were fourth at both regionals and states in 2013, but a relatively young squad has dazzled this fall.
Saturday, the Clippers placed four runners in the top six and that led the way to a 39-point team performance, which was six better than Greely. Freeport wound up with 185 points, which was 21 shy of the final qualifying team, Morse.
Yarmouth placed two of its precocious runners, sophomore Grace Cowles (20:22.17) and freshman Anneka Murrin (20:23.06), in the second and third spots, respectively. Sophomore Abigail Hamilton finished fifth (20:35.12). Seniors Caitlin Teare (sixth, 20:35.28) and Sarah Myers (23rd, 21:58.10) were the other scorers.
“It was a very nice victory,” said longtime Clippers coach Bob Morse. “We pulled out a close win by just beating the strong teams from Greely and Cape.”
While Greely didn’t come in first as a team, it did produce the individual winner in sophomore Katherine Leggat-Barr, who had a time of 19:46.76, nearly 36 seconds better than runner-up Cowles. Also scoring for the Rangers were freshman Izzy Evans (fourth, 20:33.08), Emily Mason (ninth, 20:46.90), Sophia Stickney (14th, 21:22.80) and Kristina Smith (17th, 21:39.97).
Freeport’s Lily Johnston was 16th. Other Falcons scorers included Hannah Schnyder (32nd, 22:44.96), Ella Russell (37th, 23:16.96), Chloe Hight (44th, 23:39.76) and Lucy Zachau (56th, 24:53.83).
The Class B boys’ meet was won by York with 72 points. Greely’s 92 points left it second. Freeport (118) placed fourth and Yarmouth’s 212 points gave it the ninth spot, 56 behind seventh-place Maranacook, which was the last team to qualify.
The Rangers were led by Kyle Hansen, who was 12th in 17:49.55. Also scoring were Ryan Morrison (17th, 18:01.12), Troy Cochran (18th, 18:03.64), Connor Rog (19th, 18:15.49) and Max Stickney (26th, 18:32.76).
The Falcons placed Chandler Vincent in the fifth individual spot (17:32.05). Also scoring were Eric Brobst (11th, 17:46.34), Henry Jaques (16th, 18:00.58), Ethan Sclar (42nd, 19:11.30) and Tyler Frey (44th, 19:21.15).
The Clippers didn’t qualify as a team, but freshmen Luke Laverdiere (fourth, 17:26.71) and Sammy Potter (30th, 18:38.51) did so as individuals. Yarmouth’s other scorers were Sam Gerken (53rd, 19:54.66), Sam Steinbock (62nd, 20:08.29) and Devin Shields-Auble (63rd, 20:14.47).
“The boys’ team gave it all that they had and if there had been 15 schools, I think we would have qualified for states,” Morse said. “The good news was that two freshmen qualified.”
Merriconeag’s boys actually tied Boothbay for first in Class C with 51 points, but the tiebreaker came down to the sixth place finisher on each squad and Boothbay’s sixth place runner was 20th, while Merriconeag’s came in 35th. Merriconeag did have three of the top six runners in Tucker Pierce (third, 17:42.52), Zach Neveu (fifth, 18:06.19) and Nick Neveu (sixth, 18:07.54). Also scoring were Dylan Wu (15th, 18:55.12) and Lars Gunderson (22nd, 19:23.22).
NYA’s 149 points left it fourth. The Panthers did have the individual runner-up in Matt Malcom (17:29.08). Also scoring were Haley Cunningham (12th, 18:44.74), John LeBlanc (36th, 20:13.50), Jack Kostelnik (49th, 21:36.49) and Patrick Jackson (50th, 21:51.97).
Waynflete was the girls’ champion with 39 points, 27 better than Merriconeag, which, like the boys, had three of the top six individuals. Olivia Skillings was runner-up (21:09.54). Samantha Pierce placed fourth (21:33.10). Fiona Ahearne came in sixth (21:50.78). Louise Ahearne finished 12th (22:52.42). Fiona Libby came in 42nd (24:59.45).
NYA’s 120 points placed it third. The Panthers did have the number one individual, as Hannah Austin had a time of 20:44.23, 25 seconds better than the runner-up. Also scoring for NYA were Sarah Austin (22nd, 23:28.27), Sarah Cooper (29th, 23:54.02), Megan Alberding (31st, 24:05.99) and Ellis Miskell (37th, 24:48.20).
The state meet Saturday begins with the Class C boys (Merriconeag and NYA) running at 11 a.m. The Class C girls’ meet begins at 11:45 a.m.
The Falmouth boys run in the Class A meet at 12:30 p.m. The Yachtsmen were fourth last season at their first Class A meet. Falmouth last won a championship in 2011, in Class B. Scarborough will again be standing in the Yachtsmen’s way.
“The two teams are extremely closely matched and it will certainly be a battle,” Kurry said. “We’re excited for the race.”
Falmouth’s girls’ team competes at 1:15 p.m. The Yachtsmen came in third last year. Falmouth’s last title came all the way back in the last millennium, 1999, when the Yachtsmen were in Class C.
The Class B boys’ meet starts at 2 p.m. Freeport and Greely will take part. The Rangers are looking for their first title in five years, while the Falcons hope to win for the first time (the program’s lone prior title came back in 1994, when there was still a Class D division).
The Class B girls’ championship ends the day at 2:45 p.m., as Yarmouth looks to win a first state title. The Clippers’ highest previous finish was third in 1986 (Class C) and again in 2002 (Class B). Greely will seek its first championship since 2001.
“The weather and the competition are going to be brutal,” Morse said. “The temperatures will be wet and raw. Cape, Caribou, Greely, MDI and Yarmouth will all be trying to win. I think that the team with the strongest 4, 5, 6 finishers will bring home the trophy. The bottom line, it’s a very close state meet. Too close to call.”
The cross country season then culminates with the New England championships Saturday, Nov. 8 in Manchester, Connecticut.
Falmouth’s Bryce Murdick’s third-place individual finish helped the Yachtsmen take the title.
Falmouth’s Vishva Nalamalapu came in 16th in the Western A girls’ meet.
Freeport’s Eric Brobst placed 11th in the Western B boys’ race.
Greely’s boys’ effort was fronted by Kyle Hansen Saturday. Hansen was 12th in Western B.
Greely’s Ryan Morrison came in 17th in the Western B boys’ race.
Greely’s Izzy Evans was the fourth-place finisher in the Western B girls’ meet.
Greely’s Katherine Leggat-Barr won the Western B girls’ title by 36 seconds.
Merriconeag’s Tucker Pierce was third in the Western C boys’ race.
Merriconeag’s Olivia Skillings was the individual runner-up in the Western C girls’ race.
NYA standout Hannah Austin was the Western C individual champion.
NYA’s Matt Malcom was the individual runner-up in the Western C boys’ race.
Yarmouth’s freshman sensation, Luke Laverdiere, was fourth at the Western B boys’ meet and will compete in the state meet as an individual.
Falmouth’s Spencer Brown speeds toward a fifth-place finish in the Western A regional meet Saturday. Brown helped the Yachtsmen edge Scarborough for the team title.
Yarmouth’s Grace Cowles (front) and Anneka Murrin were the second and third place individual finishers in the Western B girls’ race, as the Clippers won a regional crown for the first time.