AUGUSTA — Will Shaughnessy ran alone towards the finish line at the Scot Laliberte Invitational, crossed it, and asked over his shoulder what his time was.

He certainly had nothing else to worry about.

Brunswick’s Shaughnessy won the Laliberte Invitational and set the record at the 2.4-mile course in the process, coming in at 13:01.25 to break Luke Laverdiere’s mark by 17 seconds and beat the rest of the field to the finish by more than 50 seconds.

“My expectation coming in was to win, and I accomplished that goal,” said Shaughnessy, who finished ahead of Grady Satterfield, Jace Hollenbach, Lucas Bergeron and Nate Cohen, all from Mt. Ararat. “That’s super satisfying. It’s a good indicator of my fitness right now.”

Mt. Blue’s Kahryn Cullenberg was the highest-finishing girl, coming in at 16:38.61. She was 36 seconds ahead of Edward Little freshman Payton Bell, while Caribou’s Kayley Bell, Mt. Blue’s Emma Charles and Mt. Ararat’s Camila Ciembroniewicz rounded out the top five.

“It’s definitely surreal. This is a race I’ve been coming to my whole life, pretty much, having siblings older than me,” said Cullenberg, who was third last season. “To finally have it be my senior year and accomplish winning the race is a goal I can check off.”

The event has the boys and girls run together, and as such combines both scores into an overall total. Spurred by its dominance of the boys race — even with state champion Lisandro Berry-Gaviria sitting out the race — Mt. Ararat won the title with 543 points, while Brunswick (615), Cony (700), Mt. Blue (728) and Caribou (752) made up the top five.

Shaughnessy, who finished second to Berry-Gaviria last year, knew the race was his to lose with the Eagles’ star runner out after a college visit that ended just before the event.

“I never like to say anyone’s unbeatable,” Shaughnessy said, “but he is about the closest thing to it in terms of the state of Maine.”

The Brunswick senior cruised by the competition, using the course’s daunting hill just under a mile in to make his move on the field.

“Nobody really was going, so I kind of just went,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I was going that fast. I thought it was reasonable.”

He looked no worse for the year when he crossed the line after the 2.4 miles.

“I definitely felt like I had a lot left,” Shaughnessy said. “I wasn’t shooting for time today, I kind of just wanted to get the win. I felt like I could have given it a bit more.”

After Shaughnessy came a line of Eagles. Satterfield, who was third last year, finished next at 13:51.73, and teammates Hollenbach (14:05.49), Bergeron (14:07.39) and Cohen (14:11.57) followed.

Satterfield said the presence of so many teammates near the top fueled the runners to their finishes.

“We have a new runner (in) Jace, so that’s a big deal, and we pretty much returned most of our varsity top seven,” he said. “The team aspect can really push you as an individual. Your team is relying on you. So it really pushes you to become a better athlete.

“It’s competitive in the team, but we use each other to excel. So we’re not trying to beat each other, we’re trying to win as a team.”

Cullenberg found the key to her finish in the first 200 meters. Mt. Blue runners were lined up on the far right side of the starting line and Cony’s course narrows to the left, so Cullenberg knew that when the pack first got to the bottleneck, she had to be in front with the hardest-charging boys.

“The boys tend to have more aggressive starts than the girls,” she said. “It’s really crucial to have an aggressive start and be able to get your spot before everyone else boxes you in. I definitely tried to go out hard for this race, and try to maintain the spot.”

The plan worked perfectly.

“It’s definitely encouraging,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to keep with it.”

The next girl across the line was Payton Bell, who won all but one race in middle school. The freshman wasn’t sure if her dominance would transfer to the varsity level. Seventeen minutes and 14 seconds later, she had her answer.

“I definitely couldn’t have gone faster,” she said. “I was expecting to get top 10, maybe. I didn’t really know anything else. … I just kept counting every person I passed, hoping I would get pretty far up. The more people I passed, the faster I tried to go. That was what I kept thinking about.”


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