BELFAST — A lot can change in a week. Just ask the Mt. Blue girls cross country team.

On Oct. 16 at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships in Augusta, the Cougars finished in fourth place. Bangor finished that race as the KVAC Class A champion.

On Saturday at the Northern Maine Cross Country Championships at Troy Howard Middle School, it was Mt. Blue edging out Bangor for the Northern Class A regional title. And getting the title didn’t come easy.

The Cougars and Rams finished in a 53-53 tie among the team’s top five runners, which meant counting the sixth runner’s place to determine the tiebreaker, giving Mt. Blue a 3-point edge over Bangor. The Cougars were led by Emma Charles, who finished third (19:48.47), followed by Bridget Reusch (10th place), Nora McCourt (11th place) and Brynne Robbins (13th place).

“I knew that if I stuck with the two girls ahead of me, I’d be able to do it,” Charles said. “It’s awesome to be able to push each other throughout the whole thing and still give each other high-fives at the end (of the race).”

“I can’t even tell you how proud I am,” Mt. Blue head coach Kelley Cullenberg said. “We knew that we had our work cut out for us after last week. I think there’s a lot that didn’t happen last week that could have. But the whole talk of the week was, ‘You guys are the underdogs, and that’s great. People aren’t going to be looking at you like they would have had you done better.’ I think it just relieved some stress… Our No. 2, 3 and 4 girls have been doing workouts together the whole entire time, so it’s really great to see them racing all but the last final stretch together.”

Megan Randall of Bangor (18:48.17) finished as the top finisher in the girls race, followed by Payton Bell of Edward Little (19:45.79) and Charles.

Bell’s Red Eddies didn’t have enough runners to score as a team, while Lewiston finished ninth and Oxford Hills 10th.

The race of the day was the Northern A boys, featuring a showdown of Bangor’s Dan McCarthy and Hampden Academy’s Abbott Valentine, who have traded wins throughout the season. On Saturday, it was McCarthy (15:25.13) who took the victory, using a strong finishing kick to get away from Valentine and Mt. Ararat’s Grady Satterfield in the last 1/2-mile. Valentine (15:33.02) finished second, while Satterfield (15:47.84) finished third. Mt. Blue’s Cyrus Evans was sixth.

Edward Little’s Payton Bell runs for second place overall during Class A cross country North regionals Saturday in Belfast. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I knew it was going to be a challenge,” McCarthy said. “I knew (Valentine) was going to be a challenger, I knew Grady was going to be a challenger. I was really unsure about how it would go. But it’s good that I’ve been on this course before, that does help.”

Brunswick (53 poinits) took the Northern A boys title, led by Eli Palmer, who finished fifth. Hampden (57 points) finished second and Bangor (73 points) finished third. Mt. Blue was sixth, Oxford Hills ninth, Lewiston 10th and Edward Little 11th.

Mount Desert Island made a clean sweep of the Class B titles. Amelia VanDongen (19:39.69) of MDI was the individual girls champion, followed by Abby Williams of Waterville (19:59.27) and Kayley Bell of Caribou (20:09.78).

“I kind of had it in my mind that I was going to do good today, no matter what,” Williams said. “I was going to give everything on the race. If I felt like I did my best, that’s good enough for me.”

Connor Daigle of Medomak Valley (15:53.52) dominated the boys race, with Sam York of MDI (16:45.61) finishing second and Cony’s Jacob Pelletier (16:51.82) who was third.

“I felt great,” Pelletier said. “My whole goal for this race was to break 17 (minutes) which I did, and I was so happy.”

The Cony girls — who nearly swept the KVAC B titles on its home course last week — had another impressive outing in Belfast. The Rams finished second in team points (59) behind MDI (30 points), with Waterville (75) finishing third. On the boys side, Cony finished fourth (106 points), trailing MDI (81), John Bapst (91) and Caribou (91).

Lewiston’s Zawadi Debola runs during Class A cross country North regionals Saturday in Belfast. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“Every kid that came down here had their best time of the year,” Cony coach Shawn Totman said. “I can’t ask for anything more than that, and you just have to let the team score fall where it does.”

Orono had a near-sweep of the Northern C titles. The Red Riots won the boys title (34 points), led by Kyle McClellan (16:51.42), the top finisher, with Bucksport’s William Hileman finishing second and (17:25.90) and Daniel Ross of Houlton (17:27.38) placing third. Following Orono in team scores were George Stevens Academy (69 points) and Bucksport (74).

On the girls side, Orono (40) fell just short of champion Houlton (37 points), but had the most dominant female runner of the day in sophomore Ruth White, who had a time of 17:41.10. The time was just short of the course record she set in Belfast (17:28.46) at Festival of Champions on Oct. 2.

“I was feeling good, my legs were feeling fresh,” White said. “Our coach got us ready for this. We were all excited and ready to race hard and feel good.”

White was followed by Thea Crowley (18:27.30) of George Stevens and Teanne Ewings (19:35.28) of Houlton.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.