Runners jockey for position at the start of Saturday’s MVC Championship cross country race in Augusta.

AUGUSTA — Haley Abbott’s asthma backed off enough Saturday for the Boothbay runner to run to an easy — though surprising — victory at the Mountain Valley Conference cross country championships.

Abbott, who is normally third on her team, felt well enough to finish the 5-kilometer race in 21:16.

“My goal was to get at least top three,” Abbott said. “But once I went through that first mile, I was kicking it in very hard because my asthma was not kicking in at all and my lungs felt really good.”

Abbott came out of the first part of the wooded trails in a pack of yellow jerseys, something Monmouth coach Tom Menendez expected to see more of.

But with the rest of the Boothbay team less than healthy, Menendez’s Monmouth squad broke up the Seahawks’ pack and earned the MVC girls’ team title, the Mustangs’ 10th in 13 years.

“Two of the Boothbay girls were having some health problems so we took advantage of it; strike while the iron is hot,” Menendez said. “I hoped that my girls could break up the Boothbay three, that was our goal, and to bring up the rest of my girls to push their four and five back as far as we could. I think we were pretty successful.”

Monmouth had five runners finish within the top 10 in the girls’ race, led by Danielle Parker with a time of 22:38. While the Mustangs came out in front this week, Menendez knows South regionals will be a different story.

“There’s no doubt that we are going to have the same problem next week,” Menendez said. “They’ll be healthier and better runners, so we’ve got to take what we got today and see if we can do it again next week.”

Abbott, who is used to being in the pack with her teammates, found herself all alone at the second mile and received some motivation for the finish.

“After the second mile, my coach was telling me this was my race so I was very excited and started kicking it in,” Abbott said. “I knew this was mine, I knew I could finish it. I know that I have the confidence to finish like this and I know that I have a lot left in the tank that I didn’t know about.”

In second place was Maya Deming of Winthrop, who finished with a time of 22:33. Deming’s search for motivation didn’t go far.

“I’m kind of competing against one of my teammates right now and she has been beating me for my last two races,” Deming said. “So I was like, ‘I am going to be very stoked for her if she passes me, but I am a competitive person and this is my sport.’ Honestly, I came in here and was like, ‘Maybe I’ll get top-10 or something,’ but I had no idea I was going to get that.”

In the boys’ race, Boothbay runner Blake Erhard won with a time of 18:11. Erhard had a worthy competitor, however, and it wasn’t who he expected.

“Mine and my teammate’s plan was to go one-two, but this kid from Telstar got a lot faster,” Erhard said. “He actually gave me a run for my money and he beat my teammate (Kyle Ames). He did a really good job, I was surprised.”

The “kid from Telstar” was Gaelan Boyle-Wight, who finished with a time of 18:20, even though he said he was not feeling his usual self pre-race.

“It wasn’t one of my best pre-race feels,” Boyle-Wight said. “I knew I would be in the front so I was going to stick with them. I didn’t know if I would be able to maintain it, but I was pretty sure of it.”

Boyle-Wight broke up Boothbay’s top-two runners, but could not stop the Seahawks from winning the boys MVC title. Owen Libby of Dirigo finished in fourth with a time of 18:53. 

Monmouth’s Danielle Parker, #72 and other teammates race close to the front at the start of Saturday’s MVC Championship Cross Country meet in Augusta. Monmouth won the team title.Boothbay’s Haley Abbott is way ahead of the field as she heads to the final stretch and victory at Saturday’s MVC Championship in Augusta.Boothbay’s Blake Erhard, left, begins to overtake Telstar’s Gaelan Boyle-Wight as they head up a hill in the woods during Saturday’s MVC Championship race in Augusta.Winthrop’s Sylvia Ryan battles Wiscasset’s Maia West to the finish and managed to hold her off at the end of Saturday’s MVC Championship in Augusta.Telstar’s Gaelan Boyle-Wight, right, leads the pack at the start of Saturday’s MVC Championships in Augusta.Winthrop’s Maya Deming races up a hill in the woods during Saturday’s MVC Championships in Augusta.Monmouth’s, left to right, Abbie Hunt, Elliott Sharples, and Amber Currie stuck together most of the race and finished in the top 11 to help their team win the MVC Championships Saturday in Augusta.Monmouth’s Danielle Parker, #72 and other teammates race close to the front at the start of Saturday’s MVC Championship Cross Country meet in Augusta. Monmouth won the team title.

Runners streak across the field at the start of Saturday’s MVC Championship Cross Country meet in Augusta. Monmouth won the team title.


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