Quincey Lyden of Westbrook is our pick for the 2016 Freshman Runner of the Year. Lyden proved to be the elite of the class after winning the freshman race at the Festival of Champions in Belfast back on October 1 running 19:35.60. For the season Lyden won four out of seven regular season meets, and ran under 20:00 three times in total. Despite not finishing the Southern Regional at Twin Brook's in Cumberland, Lyden responded with her finest race of the season at the state Championships. She finished finished seventh running a personal best of 19:25.21, and was the top freshmen in the field. Her performance led the Blue Blazes to a seventh place finish. Lyden concluded her season at the New England Championships finishing 98th in 19:56.78. Her PB of 19:25.21 ranked first among all freshmen in the state. She is the fourth fastest returner from the Class A state meet, and expects to be in contention for the individual title for the next three years.
The best of the rest
Hailey Applebee Windham
Applebee quickly emerged as one of the top runners in Southern Maine this year, regardless of age, as she won her first three meets of the regular season. She broke 20:00 for the first time at Festival of Champions running 19:45.76, finishing third in the freshmen race. Weeks later at the Southern Regional at Twin Brook's she finished eighth running 20:38.91. Seven days later Applebee had her best race of the season placing eighth at the Class A state Championship running a personal best of 19:30.17. She concluded her season at the New England Championships running 19:58.65 finishing 104th. Applebee will be the fifth fastest Class A state meet returner in 2017.
Iris Kitchen Gorham
With Gorham's No. 1 runner Anna Slager out for most of the regular season, Kitchen admirably filled the void that had been left for the Rams as she quickly emerged as one of the top Class A runners in the Southern Region. She broke 20:00 for the first time at Festival of Champions in the freshmen race running 19:56.38, finishing fourth. At the Southern Regional on October 29 Kitchen finished ran to a sixth-place finish running 20:32.97. She qualified for the New England Championships individually after finishing 12th in Class A running 19:45.93. At New England's Kitchen finished 81st, and was the eighth fastest freshmen in the field running 19:37.40. Her PB of 19:37 was the third fastest among all freshmen.
Grace Iltis Camden Hills
Iltis proved to be a vital component for the Windjammers team success this season. The freshmen was a consistent top-three performer on the team and ran very well in the postseason. She was great in the regular season as well, and finished sixth in the freshman race at Festival of Champions running 20:30.08. At the Northern Regional Iltis was the second Camden Hills runner to cross the line finishing third running 19:58.83, breaking 20:00 for the first in her career. She continued to improve at the Class B state meet as she ran lowered her PB to 19:43.05, which was good enough for a 10th place finish.
Trinity Montigny Ellsworth
Montigny ran as Ellsworth's No. 1 runner in 2016 and certainly didn't disappoint. At the Festival of Champions she finished seventh in the freshmen race running 20:30.94. Nearly a month later at the Northern Regional back at Belfast she lowered her PB by nine seconds running 20:21.94 finishing seventh overall. She concluded her season at the Class B state championships as she broke the 20:00 barrier for the first time of her career running 19:59.09, finishing 16th.
Molly McGrail Maranacook
McGrail had a terrific first year on the trails as we saw her capture the Class B KVAC Championships Individual title back on October 15. The freshmen ran 20:40 which was the third fastest time among all classes at the conference championships. Two weeks before at the Festival of Champions in Belfast, she finished fifth in the freshmen race running 20:27.50. McGrail placed 11th at the Southern Regional at Twin Brook's running 20:44.44 before concluding her season with an 18th place finish at the Class B state meet running a personal best of 20:05.09.