BELFAST -- As we all know, every great drama has its subplots.
Caribou and Ellsworth have shone brightly on the biggest of cross country stages this decade, with a lot of Eastern Maine drama coming out of this Class B rivarly over the years.
But, joining the cast this fall was old PVC rival Hampden Academy, which dropped down from Class A, making for an even thicker Class B plot at Troy Howard Middle School Saturday.
When the curtain fell on Act One, the Vikings waltzed away with their second regional crown in as many seasons, besting Ellsworth 73-76 while Hampden finished a close third wtih 91.
The top seven teams qualified for next week's state championships at Twin Brook in Cumberland, meaning Presque Isle, Belfast, Medomak Valley and Winslow will also head south next weekend.
Brunswick captured the Class A crown behind ace Will Geoghegan while Orono won in Class C.
In Class B, Caribou coach Roy Alden apparently wasn't paying attention at the awards' ceremony, as he wasn't even aware of the final score of the meet, some-what.
"What was the final score?" Alden asked while I spoke with him after the ceremony.
Uhh, 73-76 coach.
"Yeah, that's pretty close," he replied. "I thought it could be, we prepared for it to be close."
Junior Christian Sleeper led the way with a ninth-place finish while seniors Tim Freme and Finn Bondeson finished 11-12 and junior D.J. Flynn fourth.
But none of those proved bigger than junior fifth man Jake Michaud, who came in 27th but passed a couple of runners in the final moments of the race to preserve Caribou's triumph.
“Jake really poured his heart out today, he had a real good race,” Alden said.
“It takes a lot of guts to do that, he has a lot of pressure on him being the fifth man,” added Freme.
Michaud’s effort was needed, as Ellsworth’s Ben Chapman finished fourth to lead the Eagles while their No’s. 2, 3 and 4 guys finished 16-17-18 to make it a close meet and the Vikes a tad apprehensive.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been more nervous sitting over there on the floor. I think we all were,” said Bondeson, who admitted some of the team's parents were aware that Caribou had won, but didn't bother to tell the Vikings.
Erskine Academy’s Sam Seekins captured the individual crown in 16 minutes, 30.72 seconds over a fast Belfast course which featured very little wet spots.
Gabe Stewart of John Bapst earned runner-up honors while James Ryan of Belfast was third. Hampden's Frye captured fifth, Ryan Widzgowski of Camden Hills sixth, Medomak's Patrick O'Donnell seventh, Eben Hodgkins of Erskine eighth and Hampden's Evan Piccirillo 10th.
Class C: Matt Guiod, a sophomore from Mattanawcook Academy, ran to the individual win in 17:27.23, but Orono proved tops in the team competition.
The Red Riots emerged with a 59-72 win over Bangor Christian while Lee Academy (74), Calais (115), MA (129) and Sumner of East Sullivan also qualified for states.
Alex Bulteel powered the Red Riots with a second-place overall finish, right behind Guiod, while Karl Koehler was fourth among runners who were on teams with five competitors.
Paul Robinson in 11th, Schuyler Collet in 15th and Avery Cole in 28th rounded out the Riots’ scorers.
Also finishing in the top 10 overall were Forrest Carle of Calais in third, Pat Brown of Limestone in fourth, Narraguagus' Merrill Johnson in fifth, Steven Morrill of Greenville seventh, Jake Kuester of Lee Academy eighth, Josh Boudreau of Central ninth and Bangor Christian's Brad Wilcox 10th.
Class A: Brunswick senior Will Geoghegan proved tops among his Eastern Maine brethren, posting the day’s quickest time at 15:46.02 while leading his Dragons to a 72-78 win over Edward Little of Auburn.
Cony of Augusta finished third, Mt. Blue of Farmington fourth, Lewiston fifth and Mount Ararat of Tospsham sixth to round out the state-meet qualifiers.
Geoghegan, the course record holder here, pulled away from Morse's Jason Kaake, who finished second, Mt. Blue's Kelton Cullenberg (third) and Luke Fontaine of Cony (fourth) to claim yet another race on the big stage.
Teammate Liam Cassidy's fifth-place run helped spur the Dragons to the crown.
Sam Nisbett, a Bangor senior, turned in a sixth-place finish, clocking in at 16:44.53 while Will Lundquist of Cony was seventh, Sadam Abdi and Omar Abdi of EL 8-9 and Faisal Abdillahi of Lewiston 10th.