CUMBERLAND — The Class C and B regionals had all the finishes and exciting aspects of a cross country race one could ask for.
Saturday’s finishes at Twin Brook featured dominating teams, close and runaway finishes, insane kicks, and even freshmen winning the Class A and C girls’ races.
In the first race of the day, the Class C girls took off in what turned out to be a showcase for the overpowering Maranacook Black Bears.
“I am very psyched, they just worked so hard,” Maranacook coach Rosalea Kimball said. “I told them this would be our practice because we get to run here again next week. So I said if there’s anything they want to correct they’ll have a chance next week.”
After the first mile, Maranacook only had one runner, Molly McGrail who finished in second behind Maine Coast freshman Olivia Reynolds, in the top eight. That quickly changed at the second mile, when the Black Bears moved three girls into the top seven. Kimball used a unique team-based running game plan to get her top-four runners into the top eight.
“We planned on running in groups, we did some pack running. I thought it worked really well. I’ll talk to the girls after, but it seemed to me to work well.”
St. Dom’s Alexandra Hammerton finished fourth with a time of 21:11, while teammate Caroline Gastonguay finished in 22:27, good for 12th place.
In the second race, the Class C boys ran in what turned out to be the closest race of the day. At the mile marker it was Sacopee Valley’s Troy Hendricks and Waynflete’s Henry Spritz at the front by themselves. Things changed in the coming mile and after two the leaders gained a couple runners in their pack.
“The past couple races I have been beaten by the Sacopee runner, so my plan for this race was I wanted to just stick right behind him,” Spritz said. “I didn’t even realize there were two other runners that were with us, as well, that were right at our level. I wasn’t expecting that … It made for the whole second mile to be this back-and-forth.”
By the end of the race, Spritz’s kick was the strongest as the Waynflete junior ran in the victory over the group. Spritz attributed his familiarity with the course to helping him in the end.
“I think I do have a bit of an advantage,” Spritz said. “I sort of knew when it was smart to speed up and when it was not.”
While Spritz won the individual race, followed by Hendricks and Luke Bartol of Maranacook. Maine Coast was able to take home the team title on the boys’ side.
Mark D’Alessandro of St. Dom’s finished 10th with a time of 18:42, followed by Dirigo freshman Owen Libby, who finished in 18:48.
The St. Dom’s boys finished in sixth place as a team, earning a spot at the state meet, while both the girls’ teams of St. Dom’s and Monmouth Academy qualified for states by finishing in third and fifth, respectively.
In Class B, it was mostly a two-person race by the end, with Anneka Murrin of Yarmouth edging out Lily Horne of Freeport at the end with a time of 19:31, a three-second win.
Murrin was the first of four Clippers to finish in the top 11, leading her team to a regional victory.
Right behind Horne was freshman Lila Gaudrault of Cape Elizabeth, who outperformed her own expectations.
“I knew that I wanted to just stick with the lead girls through the mile mark and I was hoping to break 20 so I beat both my goals so I am happy about that,” Gaudrault said. “I’m confident I can have a top-five finish at states and I want to improve on my time from this week because it’s on the same course.”
Poland Sophomore Olivia Ouellette finished in 21:51,1 good enough for eighth and a spot at the state meet. Sydney McCarren followed with a time of 21:53 for ninth place.
In the final race of the day, the Class B boys, there was no one that could catch Luke Laverdiere of Yarmouth, who won with a time of 16:11, more than 40 seconds ahead of second place Mitch Libby of Wells.
Laverdiere and Libby came through the first mile marker together at around 5:15, a surprising turn events until you saw them come through the woods at the two-mile, where Laverdiere dropped the hammer and turned his four-second two-mile lead into a 41-second win.
Gray-New Gloucester’s Parker Morse finished in twelfth with a time of 18:26.
As for the Class B boys title, Lincoln Academy ran away with the victory.