BELFAST — Winthrop’s Chris Pottle and Gray-New Gloucester’s Carter Libby ran to runner-up finishes and Portland ended a decades-long drought at the boys cross country state championships Saturday.

Lake Region junior Sam Laverdiere took an early lead and never relinquished it, winning the Class B race by five seconds over defending champ Libby, a senior, in 15:52. Freeport sophomore Alex Gilbert was another 20 seconds behind Libby.

“It feels good, especially with what happened a week ago,” said a subdued Laverdiere, referring to the tragic shootings in Lewiston 10 days earlier that killed 18 and injured another 13. “I live 10 minutes outside of Lewiston, and it feels good to do something good for my town (of Litchfield).”

In Class C, Sumner senior Kaleb Colson ran away from the pack to win by nearly a minute in 15:48, fulfilling a goal of breaking 16 minutes. (He had gone 16:02 at Festival of Champions earlier this season.) His team also won handily, 59-90 over Orono, with George Stevens another five points back.

Pottle, a senior, was second in 16:35.

Sumner won the Class C team title decisively over Orono and defending champion George Stevens Academy. Rounding out the scoring for Sumner: Ren Salisbury (fourth), Claire Willett (18th), Riley Hastey (19th) and Asa Berry (30th). All five are seniors.


“So excited,” said Colson, who unleashed a resounding “YES!” before collapsing a few yards past the finish line. “Huge PR. First cross country individual title. Just a great way for senior year to wrap up.”


Frank Myatt, Portland’s coach, waited patiently outside the scoring tent Saturday afternoon on a grassy field outside of Troy Howard Middle School, unwilling to assume anything about the outcome of the Class A state championship meet.

The race had been over for 10 minutes, but runners arrived at the finish line so closely bunched that it was hard to determine whether the Bulldogs, whose last title had come in 1978, had been able to withstand an impressive effort from a Scarborough squad primed for an upset.

Finally, the verdict arrive. Portland by 10 points. Myatt exhaled and allowed himself a smile.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “These guys worked so hard for it. They love the sport and dedicated their high school lives to it. They deserve this payoff.”


Seniors Nathan Blades, Ben Prestes and Elias Coleman placed second, eighth and 18th. Sophomore Owen Blades at 23rd and junior Charlie Jacques at 29th completed the scoring, giving the Bulldogs a 68-78 victory over Scarborough. Camden Hills was third at 109, followed by two-time defending state champ Hampden Academy at 111.

“Three years ago, we won regionals and we thought, ‘Oh, man, we’ve got a young team. We could definitely do something at states,’” said Nathan Blades. “To finally do it just feels really good. I know everyone on the team is super excited.”

In other state championship races earlier Saturday, Freeport extended its Class B title reign to three years as it held off York by eight points.

Individually, Noble senior Maddox Jordan won the final race of the day, in Class A, with the day’s fastest time: 15 minutes, 42.61 seconds. He dropped Blades over the final 400 meters to win by nine seconds, reversing their outcome from the Class A South meet two weeks earlier in Cumberland.

The day was cool and cloudy with very little wind and temperatures in the low 50s, a sharp contrast from last Saturday’s unseasonable warmth. Jordan said the extra week proved beneficial, allowing him further time to recover from a hip injury suffered earlier in the season and a bout of mononucleosis he received the day after regionals.

Hundreds of runners took a toll on the course, but Jordan said it held up fairly well.


“I did notice that the corners were really slippery,” he said. “One spot on the other side had really thick mud. My whole shoe would disappear in it. It was kind of hard through there, but I would throw a surge in after that and it was all good.”

Oxford Hills junior Lucas Hutchinson placed ninth, finishing in 16:32.14, and Mt. Blue’s Henri McCourt (16:48.73) took 11th.


In Class B, York put six runners across the line before Freeport could manage its fifth, but the Falcons prevailed thanks to Gilbert (third), senior Will Spaulding (fourth) and junior Conner Smith (seventh, after taking 10th at regionals) running so well. Senior Teo Steverlynck-Horne (20th) and junior Owen Dawson (31st) completed the scoring.

“Almost everybody had personal bests,” said Freeport coach Matt Greear. “It was great to peak at the right time of year.”

“Freeport just didn’t let down,” said York coach Ted Hutch, whose squad was back at full strength after being down a runner at regionals. “There was no chink in their armor. Their fourth and fifth runners moved up over the season and really improved.”

In addition to the three state championship teams and top 25 individuals overall, Scarborough, Hampden Academy and Bonny Eagle qualified for the New England championships next Saturday in Belfast.

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