It could be a wet and windy Saturday in the state capital when the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Mountain Valley Conference hold their conference cross country championships.

With heavy rains forecast for Friday, and showers extending into Saturday, cross country courses around the state could take a pounding. These races will be held on two different courses — the KVAC at Cony High School, the MVC and the University of Maine at Augusta — so that should save some wear-and-tear, but course conditions could still be an unknown factor in both meets.

The KVAC will have a lot of feet on the ground at once, as both the Class A and Class B runners will compete simultaneously, through they will be scored as separate races. How the Cony course holds up could be anyone’s guess.

“It’s got a big, huge uphill, followed of course by a lengthy downhill, but other than that, it’s fairly flat,” Edward Little coach Ralph Fletcher said. “I’m not sure how the footing’s going to be as far as the mud factor and that kind of thing.”

The UMA course can get quite swampy with excessive rainfall, but at least one coach thought it had a ways to go before runners would have to worry about treading water.

“It can certainly get wet, but we were up there the other day and it’s pretty dry,” said Monmouth coach Tom Menendez. “It probably can absorb quite a few inches before we get to swampy.”


In any conditions, KVAC defending champion Edward Little will need to overcome a recent spate of illness that has swept through the team. Two of the Red Eddies’ top five, Justin LeClair and Izaac White have been affected this week

“The good thing is we’re sick now and not next week or states week,” said Fletcher, who said most of his other runners have already had their bouts with the virus. “We were hoping to do well Saturday, but they’re tough. They can rally. They’re on the upswing and getting better.”

The Eddies’ top three, Faisal Noor, Hussein Mohamed and Lucas Bourget, should be at full strength, but regardless health, Fletcher expects a close meet.

“All of our meets, we haven’t exactly dominated, so on any given day…” Fletcher said.

Pushing the Eddies will be Mt. Ararat, Mt. Blue and Lewiston. The Eagles recently won the Mt. Blue Relays, with the Cougars finishing second. Jaron Jones, Jonah Jones and Brody Hines lead Mt. Blue’s pack. Hussein Ibrahim and Kevin Lavertu will pace the Blue Devils.

Noor and Messalonskee’s Harlow Ladd are expected to battle for the individual title.


The girls’ race features defending champion Mt. Ararat, which is favored to defend its title after shattering the course record at the Mt. Blue Relays. Emma Wood, defending individual champion Kate Spies, Emma McGrath and Lauren McNett are a formidable top four for the Eagles. Mt. Blue’s Gwen Beacham and Addie Cullenberg will help break up the pack, but the Cougars will need young runners such as Eliza Richard and Amy Hilton to step up to challenge for the league title.

Brunswick’s Katie McMahon, who was a runner-up to Spies as a sophomore, is the favorite for individual honors, followed by teammate Teresa Murphy, Wood and Messalonskee’s Meaghan Collier. Beacham, Cullenberg and EL’s Abby Hart should be top 10 contenders.

The MVC girls’ team championship was decided by four points between three teams last year and could be that close again this year, although defending champion Monmouth doesn’t figure to be in the mix.

“St. Dom’s, Winthrop and Lisbon are going to be battling it out,” Menendez said. “St. Dom’s doesn’t have a number one runner, but they’ve got a real nice pack. Winthrop’s got that real good girl up front, Anna Doyle, but then their pack is spread out a lot more. And Hank (Fuller, Lisbon’s coach) has got himself a nice pack again. I think the girls’ meet will probably be decided within five to 10 points between three teams.”

Individually, Boothbay’s Sophia Thayer is favored to become the second consecutive freshman to win the conference title, following 2009 champion Laura MacDonald of Hall-Dale. Doyle and Lisbon’s Meagan Thomas figure to be her toughest competition, while Morgan Lee of Telstar, Monmouth’s Tiffany Pease and Alyse Carney of St. Dom’s are among the other contenders for the top 10.

Defending boys’ champion Boothbay is a strong contender once again. Led by Chase Brown, the Seahawks edged out Monmouth in an early regular-season meet by two points. Now the Mustangs, led by Kevin Desmond, Patrick McInnis and Matt McInnis, are looking for revenge.

“We’re not going to worry about Chase,” Menendez said. “Our main goal is going to be to break up their pack and try to stay in front of them. If we can break up their pack, then we’ve got a real good shot at upsetting them.”

Lisbon, Winthrop and Telstar should battle for third place. Defending conference and Class C state champion Matt McClintock of Madison is the runner to beat. Telstar’s Joe Holt-Andrews, Kameron Souza of Winthrop and Hayden Stewart of Lisbon are other runners to watch.

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