Laverdiere ties record as state cross country titles handed out

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CUMBERLAND — Luke Laverdiere knew he was close to setting the state meet record at Twin Brook.

As he lunged to the line at the end of the Class B boys’ cross country state championship race Saturday, Laverdiere fixed his gaze on the clock.

“I didn’t know where I’d be at the end,” Laverdiere said. “And I saw the clock and was like, “Whoa that’s really close.”

Aware of the record at Twin Brook, Laverdiere took the lead early and didn’t look back. As he crossed the line, he still wasn’t sure what his official time was. Turns out, he was more than close — he was right on it. His finishing time of 15:43 tied the record set by Will Geohegan of Brunswick in 2009.

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That finish was among a handful of exciting moments during the six state title races Saturday, which also featured freshmen winners in two of the three girls’ races.

Perhaps the best race of the day, though, was in Class C boys, a race that started with a large pack of top runners, including Henry Spritz of Waynflete, Brendan Penfold of Deer Isle and Troy Hendricks of Sacopee Valley.

At the second mile, the pack came through at around 11 flat, with Spritz back in fourth place. Spritz thought it was all over at the point, but didn’t give up.

“I didn’t think I had a chance,” Spritz said. “I got to the second mile and thought, ‘It’s gone for first.’ I heard someone yell to go get him and I thought, ‘Waynflete hasn’t won in twenty years, my coach, I need to give him a champion.’ I knew I had to give it everything I had, I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t win knowing that I might have had a shot.”

Penfold, who led most of the way, slowed down in the final 200 meters and Spritz took advantage of the opportunity and won the race with a time of 17:01.

Coincidentally, although this was the first time Penfold and Spritz had raced each other, it wasn’t their first interaction.

“Right before the race he came up to me and we realized that we had gone to the same summer camp when we were kids where we were really good friends,” Spritz said of Penfold. “In a weird coincidence, we ended up racing against each other after years of not seeing each other.”

Penfold finished in second with a time of 17:08.

In the opening race of the day, freshman Olivia Reynolds led the favorites in Class C girls.

Through the first mile, St. Dom’s Alexandra Hammerton led the lead pack with a mile time of 6:38. Reynolds hung around in the pack, along with a couple of Orono runners.

Hammerton slowly faded and finished in seventh with a time of 20:47, helping the Saints to a sixth-place team finish. After mile two, Reynolds and the Orono runners came through at 13:05.

“It was really nice,” Reynolds said. “Everyone pushed me a lot going through and the pace was a lot faster than I remember from last week. I wasn’t used to running in front but I was pushed a lot and it was a good experience.”

Reynolds won with a time of 20:13 to cap off her first season of running in years.

“It’s really good,” Reynolds said “I wasn’t expecting to win, necessarily, but this is my first year of running since elementary school, so I’m still getting into it. I’ve had a really good year.”

Orono edged Maranacook by one point, 71-72, to win the girls’ title. Their two top runners, Camille Kohtala and Erin Gerbi, finished in second and fourth, respectively.

Class A

In Class A, the girls’ individual winner was all but crowned before the race started. Falmouth freshman Sofie Matson, who won the girls’ race at Festival of Champions, cruised to the title with a time of 18:41.

Right behind her were Augusta Stockman and Grace Itlis of Camden Hills, who finished in second and third, respectively, separated by just four-tenths of a second.

Edward Little’s Jillian Richardson finished in 17th with a time of 20:25.

On the boys’ side, Lisandro Berry-Gaviria finished off his illustrious season with a win at KVAC’s, Class A regionals and, on Saturday, a state title with a time of 16:31.

Berry-Gaviria was yo-yoing the lead with Yahya Nure of Deering and Wyatt Lord of Hampden, who finished in third and second, respectively, throughout the race, but finished stronger than everyone for the victory. After the race, Berry-Gaviria was at a loss for words.

“My head is really scrambling right now, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” Berry-Gaviria said. “…I went into the race thinking I had a chance to win it hopefully with a 1K to go and thought ok, I really got to go, I can do this.”

Dominic Sclafani of Oxford Hills finished in 12th with a time of 17:13 and qualified for the New England championship meet.

Class B

In Class B, Freeport junior Lily Horne won the title in 19:10. Horne got the lead early and knew she had to finish what she started.

“At the top of the pain cave there’s a 90-degree turn that you can use to look back without losing time so I looked and I didn’t see them coming,” Horne said. “And so I thought, ‘Ok, I have this,’ but in the back of my mind I was like, ‘You’ll never forgive yourself if you give up now.’ So, I just kept going. It felt really amazing.”

Poland sophomore Olivia Ouellette finished in 17th with a time of 21:35. On the team side, Yarmouth ran away with the title over York.

Lincoln Academy won the Class B boys’ team title with three runners in the top ten.

Yarmouth High School’s Luke Laverdiere crosses the finish line to win the Class B boys’ cross country state title while he’s looking at the clock on Saturday. Laverdiere officially tied the course record in a time of 15:43.

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