Mt. Blue’s Kahryn Cullenberg (572) and Messalonskee’s Charlotte Wentworth (539) were among early leaders during the KVAC cross country championship on Saturday Oct. 14, 2017 at Cony High School in Augusta.

AUGUSTA — On a day when unseasonably warm temperatures affected many runners at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference cross country championships, the Maranacook girls remained cool and calm.

The Black Bears breezed to the KVAC Class B title placing five runners among the top 10 finishers. The hilly course at Cony High School produced slower-than-usual times as temperatures soared to the mid-70s under sunny skies.

“We came in hoping to come in first place,” Maranacook coach Rosalea Kimball said. “They’ve been working hard, they were ready for it.”

Winslow freshman Olivia Tiner won the Class B race in a time of 20 minutes, 41 seconds. She was followed by a trio of Black Bears led by sophomore Molly McGrail, who finished in 20:56. Laura Parent and Sophie O’Clair followed in third and fourth while Lillie Mitchell placed seventh and Madelyn Dwyer 10th.

Maranacook, which dropped to Class C this season, will compete in the South regionals next week at Twin Brook in Cumberland, also the site of this year’s state championships.

The Maranacook boys, led by junior Luke Bartol in sixth, placed second in the B boys race behind Lincoln Academy which posted a score of 21 points. Lincoln’s Sam Russ was the indivdual winner, beating Waterville junior Nick Dahl by eight seconds.

Hampden Academy won the Class A boys race followed by Bangor and Mt. Ararat. Sophomore Lisandro Berry-Gaviria won placed first with a time of 17:05.1 Camden Hills sophomore Grace Iltis captured the Class A girls race in 19:56.3 to lead the Windjammers to the team title ahead of Mt. Ararat and Brunswick.

Berry-Gaviria finished fifth at the KVAC’s a year ago although his time was faster.

“It was a bit harder than last year,” he said. “And we went out really slow for the first mile so that took away any chance we had of running a really fast time. But the (course) is slow anyway so I wasn’t really going for time.”

Many coaches estimate Cony’s course is a minute slower than the one at Troy Howard Middle School where the North regionals will be held next week, and where Berry Gaviria said he hopes to break 16 minutes. And the heat was a factor.

“To have a KVAC meet and have kids hurting because of dehydration is just crazy,” Mt. Blue coach Kelley Cullenberg said.

The Mt. Blue boys, who won the meet a year ago, placed fifth while the girls finished eighth.

“We are rebuilding and had a lot of kids have been recovering from injury, illness, whatever,” Cullenberg said. “So we’re just using this as a stepping stone to next week.”

Iltis, who finished fourth at the Festival of Champions this fall, didn’t finish the KVAC race last year.

“My nerves got the best of me and I dropped out in the middle of it, but I tried to go for it this year,” she said. “I would have liked to have gotten a faster time but then again this course is very, very hilly.

Tiner edged Maranacook’s McGrail by 15 seconds,

“I think I came out too fast,” she said. “Then I started picking people off one by one. By maybe about the two-mile mark we separated off as a pack and got into our positions, then it kind of stayed that way.

“I’m just here to run,” Tiner said. “I love running. I don’t care if I come in last place, I’d still be out there running. This is just a positive sidebar.”

Edward Little’s Jillian Richardson finished third in the Class A race while Dominic Sclafani of Oxford Hills took fourth in the Class A boys race. Host Cony finished fifth in the girls race and sixth in the boys event. Freshman Tessa Jorgensen, who also plays on the soccer team finished 14th for the Rams while Caleb Richardson was thee top boys finisher in seventh.

“The girls I thought ran very, very well,” Cony coach Shawn Totman said. “They talked about they had some tired legs out there but they should. Now’s the time when you bring them back to life and get ready for next week and hopefully the state meet. We’re going to be right in the middle for qualifying as a team

“Our boys are a little discouraged because they’ve improved so much over the last three weeks. They didn’t have their best races today.”

Mount Blue’s Kahryn Cullenberg during the KVAC cross country championship on Saturday Oct. 14, 2017 at Cony High School in Augusta.Oxford Hills’ Dominic Sclafani runs in the KVAC cross country championship on Saturday at Cony High School in Augusta.Lewiston’s Abbas Muktar runs in the KVAC cross country championship on Saturday at Cony High School in Augusta.


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