CUMBERLAND — In the day’s first race at the Southern Maine cross country championship meet Saturday, Monmouth Academy senior Alexa Allen won Class C individual honors (20:02.73) by a minute over Winthrop sophomore Haley Williams. Maranacook won the team competition, 47-53, over Waynflete of Portland, with Monmouth edging out Maine Coast Waldorf for the third and final qualifying slot into next Saturday’s state championship meet at Belfast.

From each class, the top 30 individuals and top half of the teams advanced to the state meet. Because only six Class C schools entered teams with the five-runner minimum, only three schools advanced. Spruce Mountain finished sixth.

In Class B, Cape Elizabeth coach Andrew Lupien knew his girls were better than their third-place showing at last week’s Western Maine Conference championship cross country meet.

On Saturday, he found out just how much better.

Led by sophomore Hadley Mahoney’s individual victory, the Capers edged a pair of conference champions — York and Lincoln Academy — in a closely contested Southern Maine Class B race at Twin Brook Recreation Area.

Only three points separated Cape Elizabeth from York (WMC) and Lincoln Academy (KVAC) in a 5-kilometer race that included 13 schools and 87 runners. What’s more, fourth-place Greely was only seven points behind Lincoln, which lost a tiebreaker with York for the runner-up spot.

“I felt like we were just going through the motions last week,” Lupien said. “We talked all week about how we need to be mentally and physically prepared and warm up better.”

Under overcast skies amid temperatures in the low 50s, Mahoney ran to victory in 19 minutes, 15.83 seconds, comfortably ahead of fellow sophomores Cary Drake of York (19:27) and Annie Reynolds of Greely (19:49).

Sophomore Emma Young (seventh), junior Charlotte DeGeorge (14th), senior Marcella Hesser (26th) and sophomore Maddie McEvoy (31st) completed Cape Elizabeth’s scoring.

A week earlier, DeGeorge was 30th overall and fifth on her team at the conference meet. Also on Saturday, McEvoy moved up from her usual seventh spot to place fifth and figure in the scoring. Young, plagued by injuries earlier in the season, continued her resurgence.

“Just a good team effort all around,” Lupien said. “I knew it was going to be really close. We could have been anywhere from one to five depending on how things go, but things broke the right way.”

Mahoney ran the hilly Twin Brook course only once previously, a year ago, and “that was in the midst of all the COVID so it wasn’t a big race,” she said. On Saturday, a short steep hill dubbed The Pain Cave that comes late in the race proved most challenging for her.

“That was probably the hardest part,” she said. “Conditions were really good. The weather wasn’t too cold and there was nothing muddy.”

In Class A, Bonny Eagle swept the top three places and trounced a field of 15 teams. Senior Delaney Hesler turned in the only sub-19 performance in any of the three classes, crossing the line in 18:52.82 – almost a minute ahead of sophomore Addy Thibodeau (19:40) and senior Emmaline Pendleton (19:47).

The Scots easily outdistanced runner-up Marshwood by 44 points (27 to 71), with Falmouth (119) and Cheverus (124) a distant third and fourth.

“It was really special to be able to win my first regional title and have my two teammates right behind me,” Hesler said. “I was really impressed and happy with them.”

Senior Hannah Stevens and sophomores Meseret Day and Allie Hesler came in 11th, 12th and 13th to complete Bonny Eagle’s dominant scoring. Delaney Hesler said she was only thinking about place rather than time until, shortly after the 2-mile mark, she heard her father, Bonny Eagle boys’ coach T.J. Hesler, call out that she had a chance to run faster than 19 minutes.

“Not many people have done that, so I was pretty fired up to try to do that,” she said. “I always hear my dad on the course. You never can’t hear him.”

In Class B, Morse of Bath, Yarmouth and Freeport joined Cape Elizabeth, York, Lincoln and Greely in qualifying. Poland was 10th, Leavitt 11th and Gray-New Gloucester 13th. Poland’s Lisha Powell was the highest-finishing area runner, in 21st.

In Class A, Thornton Academy of Saco, Portland, Kennebunk and Gorham advanced because although only 13 teams officially scored, 15 started the race. One runner each from Noble and Deering dropped out.


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