Cross country South regionals: Area boys qualify for state meet

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Leaders come around a corner during the Class A boys’ regional cross country championship Saturday in Cumberland, Maine. (Joel Page/Portland Press Herald)

CUMBERLAND — The Class B race was supposed to come down to defending state champion Lincoln Academy and challenger Cape Elizabeth.

Instead, for the second weekend in a row, the York boys took the championship plaque.

“It’s a really young team and they’ve just been getting better,” York Coach Ted Hutch said. “They grow like an inch each week. They’re getting taller and stronger and faster.”

The Wildcats won a tiebreaker over Cape Elizabeth to claim the Class B South cross country title Saturday afternoon at blustery Twin Brook Recreation Area. Both teams finished with 82 points, meaning the sixth runner for each team would break the tie. York sophomore Cavin McNamara placed 30th overall, more than 20 spots ahead of Cape’s sixth runner.

“We thought it was a possibility,” Hutch said of the regional title, “but we needed a little bit of luck. We had some sicknesses during the season, but (Saturday) we seemed to be pretty healthy and happy.”

Freeport, led by individual winner Martin Horne, was two points behind in third, with defending state champion Lincoln Academy another eight points back in fourth.

In Class A, Scarborough prevailed over Falmouth by 13 points, and Deering senior Alec Troxell defended his individual title with a best-of-the-day time of 16 minutes, 51.63 seconds over five kilometers of roller-coaster hills.

In Class C, Maine Coast Waldorf beat Maranacook by 14 points, and Waynflete senior Henry Spritz cruised to a second straight regional crown by 23 seconds in 17:40.

Schools finishing in the top half of their field qualified for next Saturday’s state championships at Belfast, along with the top 30 individuals from each class.

Area runners who qualified for the Class B boys’ state meet are Williams Maines of Gray-New Gloucester, who finished 16th, and Jake Twigg (26th) of Poland.

Lisbon’s David Schlotterbeck placed third third in the Class C boys’ regional race, and St. Dom’s runner Mark D’Alessandro came in fourth. He’ll be joined at state by teammate Liam Levasseaur, who placed eighth, Dirigo’s Blaine Wilkins (ninth) and Owen Libby (13th), Lisbon’s Aidan Laviolette (16th), Winthrop’s Loal Vance (24th), Monmouth’s Joe Crocker and Winthrop’s Zakary St. Germain.

“The pace was kind of slow,” said Troxell, “but I wanted to make sure I could save something for next week, so I just sat back and waited until a good opportunity to kick and go for the win.”

Despite his team’s win at the Western Maine Conference championships over Cape Elizabeth and Freeport, Hutch said he didn’t expect a victory Saturday, in part because the Wildcats would have trouble putting anyone in the top 10. Senior Griffin McNamara finished ninth, followed by junior Elisha Hulstrom in 11th, freshman Joseph Neal in 18th, junior Braedon Harrod in 19th and junior Josiah Mackaman in 25th.

“We were depending on our pack,” Hutch said. “We go pretty deep.”

Indeed, with McNamara 30th and sophomore Alexander Hames 32nd, York accounted for a fifth of the top 35 runners in a field of 124. That helped overcome the 2-7 tandem of Cape Elizabeth’s Jack Bassett and Peter DiNinno.

Horne emerged late in the race to earn individual honors in 16:56, with Bassett six seconds behind and Griffin Allaire of Wells – who led through two miles – another four seconds back.

“I was originally just going to try to stay with the leaders,” Horne said, “but I felt good with a half mile to go, so I tried to pull away a little bit.”

In Class A, both Scarborough and Greely were missing a top-three runner because of injury.

Scarborough junior Tristram Coffin came in four seconds behind Troxell in second place, and teammates Zachary Barry, Harrison Osborne and Erik LoSacco finished 11-12-13. John Auer and Ben Potter went 4-9 for Falmouth, and Luke Marsanskis and Matthew Todd finished 5-7 for Greely, which wound up third, 13 points behind Falmouth.

“I think they all ran hard, but hopefully still left a little in the tank for next week,” Scarborough Coach Jim Harmon said. “Next week is the one we really want to win.”

In Class C, Matinicus Neveu and Aiden Kusche finished 5-10 to lead Maine Coast Waldorf. Spritz, who won both the regional and state titles with late kicks last fall, ran away from the field Saturday.

Runners head up the hill after leaving the starting line during the Class A boys’ regional cross country championship Saturday in Cumberland, Maine. (Joel Page/Portland Press Herald)
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