BELFAST— The Massabesic “Mudders” proved they could win on a dry surface.
One week after dominating their cross country regional in muddy conditions, the Mustangs top five runners finished among the first 25 to cross the finish line in capturing their first-ever boys Class A state crown.
The Mustangs edged the Lewiston Blue Devils by an 82-91 margin.
In the West regional, the Mustangs took five of the top 11 spots. While they didn’t have any dominating runners, their depth proved too much for the Blue Devils. George Morrison was the top Mustang finisher and his ninth-place finish barely cracked the top 10.
“We’re not as fast as other teams,” said Massabesic head coach Mark Crepeau. “We’re mudders. We practice in all sorts of weather conditions and enjoy running in the mud. The run last week was like a gift from the gods.”
The Blue Devils impressed by finishing fourth, fifth and sixth, led by Mohamed Awil. Behind the top three was Mohamed Mohamed in 15th place. But that’s where the chances of victory ended for the Lewiston squad. Brothers Andrew and Jordan Balsamo were in the top 35 after the mile mark, but they came out too fast and both faded to finish in 69th and 70th place respectively.
“They went out way too hard,” said Lewiston coach T.J. Niles. “They knew it was going to come down to how they did. They were aggressive and got a little excited. They were out 20 seconds too fast. At least it was close.”
“(Lewiston) had a tough 3-4,” said Crepeau. “Our kids did pretty much what they did all year long. They’re close and run tight. They’re like a large body out there.”
Biddeford senior Cam Nadeau took the top individual honors for the Class A boys. His winning time of 16:36 was even more impressive when you consider he didn’t begin running until his sophomore year. Edward Little’s Lucas Bourget was the top local finisher, He came in third while Mt. Blue’s Josh Horne finished fourth. Mt. Blue’s 141 points was good enough to place fifth in the team standings.
On the girls’ side of Class A, Bonny Eagle kept Massabesic from sweeping the team events, winning by a 66-87 margin. Lawrence’s Erzsebet Nagy (18:50) finished first.
The best individual race of the day was for first place in the Class B boys division. Running neck and neck throughout the race, Ellsworth’s Dan Curts and Fryeburg’s Silas Eastman jostled for positioning before Curts pulled out in front down the back stretch area in the open field. As the two sprinted the final 100 or so yards, Curts eked out the win in a time of 15:47.52. Eastman finished in a time of 15:47.56.
“He was trying to pull away from me all race long,” said Curts. “I raced him earlier in the season in Manchester, N.H.. It was a similar race and I outkicked him at the end.”
Gray-New Gloucester’s Will Shafer came in 10th place.
Waterville’s Bethanie Brown flirted with the course record in winning the girls’ Class B race, but her time of 17:56 fell eight seconds shy of her desired mark.
“I was trying to go out a little slower this time,” said Brown when comparing her race at Belfast’s Festival of Champions meet a few weeks ago. “It was a little more conservative and I felt really good during the race, but I sort of wish I’d gone out a bit faster.”
Mount Desert Island held off Camden Hills by a score of 67-99 to win the girls’ team title. Poland’s Kristina Smith placed fifth and was the top local finisher.
Merriconeag’s Jack Pierce and Telstar’s Josef Holt-Andrews renewed their rivalry once again in the boys’ Class C race. This time it was Pierce who won. His time of 15:47 was 23 seconds better than his all-too familiar competitor.
“I pulled away from him just after the 2-mile mark.” said Pierce. “That was the plan all along. I was surprised he wasn’t able to stay with me. In both my sophomore and junior year he’s beaten me at the state meet. It’s great to break that tradition.”
Winthrop’s Marc Hachey came in third as did the Ramblers’ team behind state champion Hall-Dale (86 points) and runner-up Orono (115).
On the girls’ side of Class C, Washburn defeated Orono by a 58-82 margin. Washburn’s Carsyn Koch’s time of 19:30 was 56 seconds ahead of runner-up Lily Koffman of Orono. Dirigo’s Natalie Bolduc was the top local competitor, finishing fourth.