AUGUSTA — Winthrop’s Jacob Hickey brought along an accessory to push himself at the MVC cross country championships.

A pair of sisters paced each other and paced the Monmouth girls to the conference title, and an Oak Hill sophomore came out of essentially nowhere to finish second in the girls’ race.

“I started running with a watch today to basically try to have (the feeling of having) another person next to you,” Hickey said. “It’s a lot easier to run with people … you can feed off of each other. But I’ve been practicing running by myself, just trying to get the feel of it; it’s mostly feel when you run, see how you’re doing.”

Hickey, a senior, ran a majority of the 5 kilometers alone Saturday morning. He took a large lead early in the race and never looked back, earning the MVC boys’ championship and breaking a school record for the course at the University of Maine at Augusta. He finished in 16 minutes, 35.5 seconds, nearly two minutes ahead of Boothbay’s Kyle Ames (18:21.1). Ames’ teammate, Blake Erhard, came in third (18:31.8).

“It was him versus the clock today,” Winthrop coach Ed Van Tassel said.

Hickey came into the MVC championships as the overwhelming favorite, and he overwhelmingly lived up to that billing rather than being overcome by the associated pressure.


“I think it fueled me,” he said. “I always want to get better, definitely. I don’t really think of it as pressure, I think of it more as motivation.”

Hickey wasted no time taking his spot at the front, sprinting as soon as the electronic gun sounded.

“The first mile, I went out pretty fast, tried to get ahead of the pack,” Hickey said. “I just tried to maintain it throughout the race. I think I did that pretty well, executed, and I think it showed.”

Van Tassel said Hickey was gunning for the school’s course record of 17:20, and together they mapped out the splits he needed to break that mark. A five-minute first mile left little doubt that that Hickey was going to be the new record-holder.

“He crushed it,” Van Tassel said. “Really proud of him, really happy for him. He’s put in a ton of time all year.

“That time’s going to stand, at least for the Winthrop record books, for a while.”


Boothbay sophomore Faith Blethen crushed the girls’ race even more than Hickey did the boys’. Blethen finished in 20:57.6, more than two minutes before the runner-up.

That runner-up was Oak Hill’s Haley Gunn, which was a bit of a surprise. Not only is Oak Hill a brand new cross country program in 2016, but Gunn has battled injuries this season.

“I’m really proud of myself,” Gunn said.

Raiders coach Derek Anderson wasn’t stunned by Gunn’s high finish.

“She’s a really strong runner,” he said. “She’s sort of battled a knee injury to start the season, and so she missed a bunch of meets, but she’s been able to run consistently the last few weeks, so that’s really paid off.

“She’s clearly very talented, so just being able to run consistently (is important for her).”


Gunn wasn’t the only Oak Hill runner in the top 10: freshman Isabella Coulombe finished ninth. In fact, Gunn gave credit to Coulombe for her second-place finish.

“I just tried to keep my pace and keep going,” Gunn said, “and Isabella, my teammate, I wanted to see if I could beat her, and I was kind of pacing myself against her, and then I ended up passing her, and kept going.”

Gunn’s time of 23:00.0 was 17 seconds faster than third-place finisher Kaitlyn Hunt of Monmouth (23:17.1). Hunt, a freshman, has been chasing older sister Abbie, a junior, all season, and finally finished ahead of her.

“I was really surprised that I went that fast,” Kaitlyn Hunt said. “I’ve usually been second for the team, so that’s what I was expecting. My sister’s usually first, so I’m always trying to beat her. It felt really good.”

Bea Stewart placed 10th to give Monmouth three top-10 finishers. Three others Mustangs finished in the top 15 (Danielle Parker was 11th, Elliott Sharples 13th and Megan Knowles 13th). All nine Monmouth runners placed in the top 25 (Emma Veirling took 20th, Moira Burgess came in 22nd and Amber Currie was 24th).

Needless to say, it was a dominating day for the Mustangs. The claimed the MVC girls’ team championship with 39 points. That was far ahead — by a Hickey- and Blethen-type length — of second-place Boothbay and third-place Madison, who had 64 and 68 points, respectively.


“I think they stepped it up,” Monmouth coach Tom Menendez said. “They were all keyed in and ran as a pack.”

None of the Mustangs are seniors, so they should be a force again at next year’s MVC championships.

The Winthrop girls were the fourth-highest scoring team with 89 points, and Oak Hill was fifth with 91.

Lisbon was the highest-placing boys’ team from the tri-county area, taking third with 71 points. The Greyhounds were led by brothers Mike (seventh) and David Schlotterbeck (ninth) and Kyle Laroche (11th).

“(Mike) ran kind of what we talked about all season, and the last week here,” Greyhounds coach Jeremy Williams said, “just to kind of know where you’re at in the race, know where a few guys are and keep them close by, and if you can get by them, get by them, and keep going.”

Boothbay won the boys’ title with 28 points. Carrabec was second with 61. Two other local teams had enough runners to compete for the team title: Winthrop, missing one of its top runners behind Hickey, was fifth, and Oak Hill took seventh.


Hickey was voted by the conference’s coaches as the MVC male runner of the year. Blethen received the female runner of the year. Menendez was voted the girls’ coach of the year.

The top seven finishers in both of Saturday’s races garner first-team all-conference honors. The second seven, places eight through 14, make up the second team, and the next seven earn honorable mention.

Hickey, Telstar’s Gaelan Boyle-Wight, who placed sixth, and Mike Schlotterbeck are the tri-county’s boys first-teamers. David Schlotterbeck and Laroche are on the second team. No area boys received honorable mention.

Local girls on the MVC first team are Gunn, Kaitlyn Hunt, Telstar senior Kristi Hanscom, who placed fifth, Abbie Hunt and Winthrop’s Maya Deming, the seventh-place finisher. On the second team are Coulombe, Stewart, Parker and Sharples. Earning honorable mention are Knowles; Emma Sommers (16th), Mountain Valley’s only runner at the MVC championships; Telstar’s Marta Opie (18th); Veirling; and Winthrop’s Sam Allen (21st).

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.