With all the rain this past week, the runners changed tires — sort of speak.
“We came prepared for awful conditions. I put in half inch (spikes) in (my cleats). Yesterday, we found muddy conditions and practiced turns,” Ben Allen of Winthrop said. “It was a little wet. Nothing wrong with that. It was definitely good for us and helped me out a ton.”
Allen, who won the Western Class C race, said he normally wears three-eigths spikes. The Class B champion Mitch Morse of Cape Elizabeth also went to half-inch spikes.
“I think three eighths would have been good,” Morris said. “I am thankful I had (half inch) spikes for the grassy portions, because you couldn’t really see it, but it was slick and mud underneath (the grass). It paid off there.”
Morris normally wears quarter-inch spikes.
Gray-New Gloucester’s Ben Garcia, who finished eighth in the Western Class B race, had to change spikes no matter what the conditions were.
“I had to put in new spikes in because my old spikes were really dull,” Garcia said. “That might had something to do with it, but overall, I just brought it today.”
He’s unsure how long the spikes were, but he’s pretty sure they were bigger than a quarter-inch.
Leavitt, which also wears quarter-inch spikes, moved three-eighths or half inch spikes at Twin Brook in Cumberland on Saturday. Spruce Mountain usually doesn’t wear spikes, but the one runner who does wear spikes, switched to bigger ones for the regionals.
Poland bought a whole new set of spikes, but at the last minute reverted to its old ones. Lisbon didn’t change its routine or its spikes.
Most of the teams practiced in the rain this week.
“There wasn’t really any differences this week to any other training,” Monmouth’s Luke Thombs said. “We train through the rain. We were outside still practicing like we normally do.”
At the end of the day, no one had any advantage because everybody was running on the same course.
“We were ready for it,” Monmouth coach Tom Menendez said. “We knew it was going to be wet. We knew it was going to be muddy. We didn’t expect it to be as hot like it was.”
Dirigo was hoping for a better day
Dirigo coach Gunnar Bradbury was hoping his boys’ and girls’s teams would make the state championship on Saturday. But both teams found themselves on the outside looking in by the end of the day.
The boys’ team finished seventh, 10 points (173) behind Madison which finished sixth. The girls’ team finished 10th, three spots behind the last qualifying spot.
“We figured the top five would be under 19 minutes, we only had one finish in the 19 minute, which hurt us,” Bradbury said.
Keenan Martin did manage to qualify for states with a 26th-place finish and will be the lone Dirigo boy to be competing.
It was a tough day for Jacob Larsen who was leading the Dirigo team for a part of the race.
“Especially when my No. 1 runner was the No. 5 runner today,” Bradbury said. “He was leading my group of kids there and he ended up getting tripped up there and pushed down a couple of times in one spot. He never recovered from it.”
On the girls’ side, Bradbury was missing two runners who had other commitments on Saturday.
“They ran really good today,” Bradbury said of the girls’ team. “ My No. 2 runner ended up with my No. 1 runner at the end there, which helped both out.”
“Two of my girls’ aren’t here today. My No. 2-3 runners and my No. 5 runner — because of the rain they are dual-sport athletes — they are playing in a soccer game instead of being here. We would have qualified as a team, probably not now.”
Dirigo girls’ soccer lost its preliminary Western Class C game to St. Dominic Academy, 3-0
Going the extra mile
St. Dominic Academy didn’t compete in the Festival of Champions where the state championship meet will be running. That didn’t stop a couple of the Saints’ runners to go check out the course in case if they make the state meet.
“We had one runner who ran it a couple of years ago,” St. Dom’s coach Marc LePage said. “We had a couple of runners who went down a week after (the Festival of Champions) and ran it. So we have some kids who have ran it and passing along their information to other kids.”
Belfast isn’t a hop, skip away from the St. Dom’s campus, which is 78 miles away from Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast where the cross country course is located.
“The went on their own and hoping we would qualify, as the season went on, pretty much knowing we would qualify if we ran a good smart race, which we did,” Lepage said.
The girls’ team qualified along with Diego Villamarin from the boys’ team.