Brayden Beardsley was as humble you could find after the Penobscot Valley Conference championships last weekend, acknowledging he'd prefer to finish behind his teammate, Dan Curts, in the regionals.
Curts, who had been nursing a hamstring injury over the last couple weeks, made his return to Ellsworth's lineup a triumphant one Saturday, as he and Beardsley finished 1-2 in the Class B race as the Eagles cruised to their second straight team championship.
Curts finished the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 0.95 seconds while Beardsley was right behind in second.
"After FOC it's kind of been frustrating not been able to run," Curts said in a video interview after the race. "I'm just trying to rehab right now."
Curts and Beardsley stuck together throughout the race, and by the time they reached a half-mile to go, they were all alone.
"We were just trying to go by feel," Curts said. "He said he was feeling good. We ended up working together a little earlier than we thought because he felt good."
The Eagles wound up tabulating 23 points to cruse to the team crown, as Robert Looker and Frank King finished 5-6 and Cooper Holmes ninth to spearhead Ellsworth's winning effort.
John Bapst won a tight battle for second over MDI, with the Crusaders scorign 109 points and MDI 116. Rounding out the qualifiers for next weekend's state championships at Twin Brook in Cumberland were Presque Isle (139), Caribou (160), Erskine Academy (186) and Waterville (197)
Class A: Lewiston was ready to prove they were ready for a challenge after Bangor knocked them off at the KVAC championships last week.
Sparked by Mohamed Mohamed's return, the Blue Devils rolled up 46 points while the defending champion Rams were second with 76. Mt. Blue (94), Messalonskee (115), Hampden Academy (115) and Brewer (125) also qualified for states.
Josh Horne of Mt. Blue cruised to the individual crown in 16:12.94, while the Blue Devils had too much pack power for their competition in the team race.
Isaiah Harris led the way with his third-place finish, and four other Devils finished in the top 15.
Mohamed Awil finished ninth, Farhan Abdillahi 10th, Osma Mohamed 11th and Mohamed Mohamed 15th.
Class C: Fort Kent's Matthew Toussaint and the Orono Red Riots made their way to the top of the podium.
The Riots outdistanced George Stevens Academy 33-51, while Fort Kent was third with 70 points, Washburn fourth with 127 and Bucksport rounded out the state-meet qualifiers with 134.
Toussaint, also the PVC champ, cruised home in 16:51.81.
"I feel like I had a good race," he said in a video interview. "The course was really good. "
Like many other individual winners, the dry course enabled Toussaint to be aggressive in how he approached the race.
"No stumbling around the corners and stuff like that," he admitted.
Orono's pack was led by James O'Neil, who finished third, while Tristan Butterfield was right behind in fourth and Conall Malloy took fifth.
Rounding out the Red Riots' scorers were Josh Marquis in seventh and Brian Westhaven in 14th.