H.S. Cross Country: Lewiston’s Harris takes 5th at Festival of Champions

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The Lewiston High School senior crossed the finish line in fifth place out of 870 runners, completing the 5k Festival of Champions in 16 minutes, 12.46 seconds on Saturday at Troy Howard Middle School. Harris shaved off nine seconds from last year’s race, when he finished eighth. 

“It feels amazing,” Harris said. “I achieved my personal goal of low sixteen (minutes) and beat the people I wanted to beat. I’m feeling good right now.” 

Harris held off Mt. Blue’s Aaron Willingham, finishing less than a second in front of the Cougars’ senior. Harris averaged a 5:13 mile. 

“He’s a force,” Lewiston coach Rebecca Dugan said. “He ran really well. This course definitely suits his strengths. He pulled it off. He ran well.” 

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Harris’ teammate, Osman Doorow, finished 11th in 16:20.69 as the Blue Devils took 12th as a team with 424 points. 

Harris said the weather conditions, which consisted of a light mist throughout the race, was more of a help than a hindrance. 

“I don’t mind this weather at all,” Harris said. “I think it’s good racing weather. It’s not too hot and the mist kind of cools you down when you’re heating up in the race. It was good weather.” 

Despite 72 teams from all around Maine competing, the boys’ race belonged to those from out of state. Sam Nishi of Harwood Union (Vt.) won the race in 15:50.48, a second faster than Cumberland High School (R.I.) junior Sean Laverty.

Scarborough’s Jacob Terry (16:00.32) and Cape Elizabeth’s Mitch Morria (16:06.11) rounded out the top five. 

Cumberland took the team crown with 135 points. Its top six runners all placed in the top 55. Scarborough took second with 144 points, followed by Falmouth with 148. Mt. Blue, which had the sixth- and seventh-place finishers, was eighth with 397 points. 

Brunswick’s Cassidy takes 4th in girls’ 5k

Nobody enjoys the rainy weather quite as much as Brunswick High School’s Tessa Cassidy. The misty conditions were exactly what the junior runner was hoping for. 

She made good on Mother Nature’s plans, finishing fourth in 19:05.68, setting a personal record by one second. Cassidy was one of four runners in the first group to cross the finish line. She finished four seconds behind the leader and within two second of the second- and third-place finishers. More than 700 runners started the race. 

“I took the lead for some of it and had a one-second PR,” Cassidy said. “Missed my seed place by one but still happy with my time.” 

Cassidy said she lost the lead with approximately 600 meters remaining. Cumberland junior Amy Laverty crossed the finish line first at 19:01.02. Oreno High School’s Hannah Steelman (19:03.65) took second and Marshwood’s Maddy Doyle (19:04.70) grabbed third. 

The Dragons cracked the top 10 as a team, placing 10th with 428 points. Brunswick’s Ruth Van Kampen and Tiffany Tanner finished 34th and 73rd, respectively. 

“We were pretty pleased where we ended up,” Brunswick coach Dave Delois said. “We finished 10th and were probably first in the Eastern region. Most of the girls had personal bests. Cassidy had a great race, but the girls behind her did very well.” 

Cape Elizabeth took the girls’ team title with 137 points as its top five runners placed in the top 40. Orono (166), Yarmouth (175), Cumberland (175) and Harwood Union (181) rounded out the top five.

Lewiston had the top finish among tri-county teams, placing 28th with 756 points. Mt. Blue (941) and Monmouth (952) finished 35th and 36th, respectively. 

“Overall it was a really great day,” Dugan said. “The kids were excited to come out. We had been running on courses that were long or short or really hilly, so this was a good opportunity to come and run a true 5k and see what they could do.” 

mkraft@sunjournal.com

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