AUGUSTA — The Mt. Ararat boys cross country team huddled together after the boys race at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships, and Lisandro Berry-Gaviria went to work getting his team focused on the road ahead.

There’s another one next week, he said. We’re not finished, he said.

“My focus today was on helping the team make a statement,” Berry-Gaviria said. “We’ve kind of been, I think, underrated by the rest of the state all season. … We definitely came in here wanting to make our mark.”

He did, and so did his team. Berry-Gaviria raced to first place in the Class A boys race and led Mt. Ararat to the team title, as the Eagles, who placed four runners in the top 10, scored 34 points to beat Brunswick (54), Bangor (57), Hampden (131) and Messalonskee (162).

“We looked at this as the first step in a three-step, or even four-step process,” said Berry-Gaviria, who was followed by teammates Grady Satterfield (fourth), Lucas Bergeron (eighth), Jace Hollenbach (10th) and Nate Cohen (11th). “We’ve got regionals next week, then we’ve got the state meet and hopefully New Englands. Definitely, our focus is on performing well at the state meet. This is just the first step in the road.”

In the girls race, Camden Hills won its third straight KVAC A title, totaling 57 points to top Bangor (83), Mt. Blue (102), Mt. Ararat (113) and Brunswick (149).

“We talked to our coach, Helen (Bonzi), and yesterday she gave us a lot of race strategy,” said Claire Wyman, who was the Windjammers’ top runner with a fourth-place finish. “She told us to stay on our toes on the hills, and how we could go out a little easy but work on picking people off towards the finish, so we tried to follow that.”

Mt. Blue’s Kahryn Cullenberg, running in her last KVAC championship, came in fifth in the girls race with a time of 20:56.4.

“My goal was to get in the top five, because I know a lot of the other girls in the top five were having really strong seasons,” she said. “I just wanted to try to stay in the chase pack, which I think I did a good job with.”

Cullenberg finished 10 seconds ahead of Edward Little freshman Payton Bell, who placed sixth. Mt. Blue’s Emma Charles took ninth and teammate Brynne Robinson was 14th, while Edward Little’s Lily Vincent placed 20th. Oxford Hills’ Ashley Child came in 23rd, and sophomore Paige Collins was Lewiston’s top finisher at 26th.

Mt. Blue senior Evan Hornbach had the area’s highest finish in the Class A boys race, coming in 28th. Isaac Roy of Oxford Hills took 39th, Julien Turmenne topped Lewiston by placing 44th and Edward Little’s Weston Hartley was 63rd.

Leavitt senior Ava Petrin placed seventh in the Class B girls race. Hornets freshman Logan Ouellette took 13th among the Class B boys.

Leavitt sophomore Jonathan Schomaker, who uses a wheelchair, finished in 45:35.6. Schomaker, Leavitt and the Maine Principals’ Association have yet to come to an agreement regarding how Schomaker will compete at next Saturday’s regional meet.

The Class B boys title went to Lincoln for the fourth straight year. The senior-laden Eagles had the top B finisher in Jarrett Gulden and seven of the top 13 runners in the field, giving them 29 points and an easy win over Morse (52), Erskine (94), Medomak Valley (128) and Lawrence (136).

“This season was not without its challenges,” Lincoln coach Garrett Martin said. “To see them all sort of rise up and be at their best when it counts is awesome.”

There was a changing of the guard in B girls, where Medomak Valley totaled 53 points to beat defending champion Maranacook (58), which was without injured top runner Molly McGrail. Gardiner was third at 95, while Winslow was fourth at 99 and Waterville took fifth with 100.

Medomak coach George Gould, whose team has had to make do all season without No. 2 runner Alexis Parent, was surprised to find out his team had enough to top the Black Bears.

“I’m just kind of stunned,” said Gould, who had Serena Blasius, Olivia Parent and Mackenzie Emerson finish fourth through sixth. “Those kids at the top, they ran their hearts out today. … There wasn’t much between those top three finishes, and that’s probably what saved us.”

In the boys race, a duel between two of the state’s best runners in Berry-Gaviria and Brunswick’s Will Shaughnessy took place on the difficult Cony High School course. Berry-Gaviria, who has run a lighter load than in previous years due both to college visits and an effort to keep him fresh for the big meets, pulled away to win at 16:18.5. Shaughnessy (16:38.8) was second, followed by Bangor’s Daniel McCarthy, Satterfield and Bangor’s Gordon Doore.

Berry-Gaviria, who has won all there is to win in Maine, said these victories don’t get old, in part because a rival like Shaughnessy pushes him to stay in front.

“Obviously Will has been running really well all season and he had a huge run at the Festival of Champions,” Berry-Gaviria said, “so I think he pushed me to really challenge myself and get afraid of someone.”

The A girls win went to Bangor’s Lydia Gilmore at 19:58.3. The senior likewise had a big margin of victory, coming in well ahead of Brewer’s Olivia Mosca (20:40.5).

“Being up in front is definitely, I would argue, just as hard as being around people,” she said. “You’re never going to run your best race alone. … With the scenery moving so slow, I think it’s definitely a mental challenge. But I couldn’t be more grateful to be competing among these ladies.”

Like Berry-Gaviria, Gilmore found some motivation — in her case, a chance for the perfect cap to her KVAC career.

“It’s definitely been on my mind for a while,” she said. “Senior year, even if you’ve had motivation to do well, I think it kind of puts an ultimatum on it. It’s now or never.”

In the boys race, Lincoln’s Gulden took first among Class B competitors with a time of 17:12.6.

“I just kind of took a step back and wanted to focus on the team,” he said. “I wanted to win individual coming in, but just thinking about the team and doing it for the team really helped me with that extra gear.”

Winslow’s Olivia Tiner was the top finisher among B girls, taking 10th overall at 21:27.4.

“I haven’t been really hitting my PRs for the season or what I wanted to run, so I just came in with the mindset of, ‘You know what, leave it out there, see what I can do,’ ” she said. “For me, it was really just kind of thinking ‘OK, I can push it a little bit more, it hurts right now, but I was coached to be mentally tough.’ ”

Second among B girls went to Waterville’s Abby Williams (21:31.6), who as a freshman was competing in her first KVAC championship.

“It was really nerve-wracking, because I haven’t been doing the best the past two races,” she said. “It could have been the second-to-last race of the season, so I kind of wanted it to be really good.”


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