The regular season is finally over and the conference is breaking off into its own classes as the state enters regionals weekend. The WMC will take on the hills of Twinbrook and challenge the rest of the west to qualify for the State meet next week. The race will be anyones game, it’s going to be mud fun. Those who've ran Twin Brook's in the rain, or after it’s rained, knows that it’s all mud, and as runners trek through the trails, it just gets worse, and worse. We’ll have action in all three classes as the boys of class C start it off.
Matt Malcom goes into Saturday as a veteran of running Twin Brook in its finest conditions as well as its worst. Malcom has clocked the fastest 5k time this year of any runner in Class C, WMC, with a 16:49. But even with his experience and his ability to drop a sub 17, Malcom isn't the favorite from the WMC, but rather young Tucker Pierce from Merriconeag. Pierce has been running better and better with each meet this season and has shown that he can run sub 17, as he went 16:56 already this season. Pierce lost to Malcom twice this season and faced up against him again this past weekend, and as the saying goes, “Third time’s the charm,” and sure enough it was, as he ran to a 10th place overall and running a 17:41. Last year at this race, Pierce ran 17:44 placing 4th in perfect conditions at Twinbrook.
Though Malcom was 18th overall at WMC, he’ll look to bounce back and show off his talent. Malcom ran a 17:59 last week, but like it was said before, Malcom is capable of running 16:49. Last year Malcom ran a 17:15 placing a strong 3rd to Ben Allen. If Malcom can man up and run like he did in the past, he’ll be able to run with Allen, and possibly beat him and win the Regional title.
Watch for Merriconeag’s Zack Neveu. Neveu has been Merriconeag’s #2 runner for most of the season and will look to place in the top 5. Neveu last week clocked an 18:17 as he ran to a 25th place on a challenging St. Joe's course. Neveu went 17:57 and placed 8th last year at this race and will look to run a faster before he closes out his senior year.
There’s no question that Merriconeag has the better team of any WMC team in Class C. Last week Merriconeag was a close second to Fryeburg in the Division 2 race, 42-47. They averaged 18:36 with a 2:13 split. According the virtual meet, Merriconeag is the favorite for this race as they look to out do returning champion, Boothbay. Although it won't be easy as Boothbay has a little better depth. At Festival of Champions, Boothbay ran past Merriconeag going 573-763 as they placed 17th and Merriconeag was 24th. Merriconeag was without top runner Pierce though at FOC. Looking to be in the top 5 will be NYA. If Malcom is on his game, they’ll for sure be in the top 5. NYA was 6th last week in the Division 2 race and lost to Waynflete. Waynflete last week placed an impressive 4th and will try to match their results this Saturday.
Hannah Austin has been running strong all year and will continue to do so at Regionals. Austin placed 3rd overall at WMC’s as she ran a 20:33. Austin will take her experience and skill to Twinbrook and win. For the past 2 years she’s been 2nd and ran a 20:39 last year.
Looking to chase her down, is Olivia Skillings. Skillings, the young freshman, has been placing in the top 5 in most of her races and she’s won 2 of 6 this year. At WMC, Skillings was 4th with a 20:43. If she continues to run like she has been, she’ll be able to compete with Austin for most of the way. If she knows how to run Twinbrook correctly, she’ll be able to run with Austin for all the way.
Also watch for in the front is senior Samantha Pierce. Pierce, was 15th last week with a 21:40. Pierce has ran a PR of a 20:55 this year. Last year she was 9th with a 22:23 at regionals and will try to place in the top 5
Merriconeag girls will try to match the boys and try to win the regional title. But they have to get past Waynflete to do so. The two matched up at Festival and Waynflete got the better of Merriconeag going 711-721 as they were 24th and 25th. This past week, Waynflete was the 2nd and Merriconeag 3rd, 62-77, in the division 2 race. The Flyers went 22:20 for an average and a 2:02 split. Where Merriconeag averaged 22:40 and a huge 5:17 split. Though Merriconeag has a strong front runner, and their 2-4 can match Waynflete’s 2-4, Merriconeag is missing a #5 runner, and that’s where Waynflete beats them every time.
Falmouth has been one of the best teams in the whole state, and will be challenged for the second time this year by #1 Scarborough. The last time the two matched up was at Festival and Scarborough got the best of Falmouth by a mere 4 points. Leading the Yachtsmen has been Bryce Murdick. Murdick is coming off a huge win at WMC’s as he ran 16:49. Murdick will go into Twinbrook with a high confidence and help lead his team as they battle with Scarborough.
Keep a keen eye out for Spencer Brown. Brown has established himself as Falmouth’s #2 runner. At Festival, Brown was edged out Murdick by .38 seconds. At WMCs, Brown was 4th with a 17:13 as he passed Patrick Carty and Kyle Kennedy in the last mile. With his time at Twinbrook earlier this season, 18:36, he’ll be sure to drop that down to mid 17’s, given the conditions.
You know, just watch for all of Falmouth in this race. Falmouth has won all the regular season meets this year. Also in the mix for Falmouth’s top 5 has been Josh Simensky, Scott Lambert, and Sean Soucy. These three have been mixing up the order of finishes and it’s hard to say who’s Falmouth’s #3 runner. Soucy finished as Falmouth’s #3 runner at Festival, but Lambert was the #3 guy this past week. Two weeks ago, so was Simensky. All that matters now is if Falmouth can get a runner in front of Scarborough in every spot. Falmouth won WMC’s in a dominating fashion, as they put their top 5 in the top 15. With a :58 second split and 17:26 average. Falmouth will seek revenge on Scarborough this weekend
On the Lady Yachtsmen side of things, sophomore, Mira Wyman, has been leading the girls team. Wyman, like Murdick, had a huge upset of Hannah Austin and Grace Cowles as she ran away with the win at WMCs. Wyman separated herself from the pack in the last mile and won in a 20:17. Wyman last year, ran to a 17th place clocking of 21:14. Earlier this year, Wyman opened up her season with a 21:53 at Twinbrook but that was under hot and humid conditions.
The lady Yachtsmen will go into this race as one of the highest ranked teams. They ran against Class A teams at Festival and were the third best team. They 34 points behind Massabesic and 29 behind Scarborough. Earlier this year, Falmouth beat Massabesic in a 2 mile scrimmage and will try to do that again and make up for their loss to Massabsic. Falmouth has the advantage over the two teams as they’ve been to Twinbrook and usually race their in the regular season every year. Falmouth was 3rd overall this past week at WMC’s and 2nd in Division 1. If they can run like this again, they’ll have a good chance of edging out Massabesic and Scarborough.
The Class B race is well represented from the WMC. With a great field of talent, Mitchell Morris of Cape Elizabeth will look to lead that way. Morris has been running the season of his life. In the past few weeks Morris was 3rd in the small school race at the Manchester Invite, 4th at Festival, and won his last home meet in 15:41 for 3 miles. Morris went into WMC’s last week looking for another impressive performance as he was the conference’s best heading in. That didn't play out the way he wanted it. Morris was second with 16:59. Some would say thats not a bad time, put this in perspective, earlier this year he ran 17:02 at Twinbrook. But that’s in the past, Morris is looking foreword to running Twinbrook, a course he knows better than St. Joes. Look for him out front
Looking to be with Morris is his teammate Kyle Kennedy. Kennedy has been hurt for the past couple of weeks, slowing his training down, along with his performance. This week, he’s been feeling better, and looks to race through the pain cave one last time with a statement before going into States. Kennedy was 5th with a 17:17 at St. Joes. Earlier this year Kennedy dropped a 16:50 at Twinbrook and will try to repeat this weekend at mud fest.
Luke Laverdiere will take the lessons he learned from the senior duo of Cape Elizabeth and try to pass their test. Laverdiere first raced against the two at Twinbrook and was more than capable of running with them through 2 miles. But like it was once said, If you go out too hard at Twinbrook, you’re gonna have a bad time. And it happened. Laverdiere was still able to clock a 17:32. Laverdiere was 3rd overall at WMCs as he ran to a 17:10. Laverdiere will once again try to hang on to Mitch Morris, but this time beat him in the final 400 meters.
Junior, Patrick Carty will try to make his way up front. Carty has been running mid to
low 17’s this year and even broke 17 once this year as he was 16:57 on his home course. Carty is coming off a 6th place finish at WMC’s with a time of 17:23. The week before he was 2nd to Chandler Vincent of Freeport with a 17:04, Carty was able to get back at Vincent this week as he was 3 seconds in front of him. Carty ran 17:25 last year, placing 13th at regionals. Without last year’s class, Carty will be able to place higher up and hope to be top 5.
Chandler Vincent is the best returner in Class B and will attempt to live up to those expectations. Vincent last week was 7th with a 17:26. Vincent knows he can run better than that, and will prove himself this Saturday. Chandler last year was sub 17 with a 16:51 at Twinbook with a 6th place finish. Vincent will try to run with Kennedy and Morris, like he did once this year, and try to break into the top 3.
The battle is on for the best, there is only one winner, and it's a showdown between Greely and York. York, last week, got the better of Greely in the Division 1 race by a margin of 67-70. But this is Greely’s turf, they know every twist, turn, loop, rock, root, tree, squirrel in all of Twinbrook. Greely will not go down without a fight. My guess is almost as good as anyone else’s but Greely is going to triumph on their home course. Greely averaged 18:04 with a 1:01 split last week. They could easily match those same results this weekend. York had the better 17:58 average and :34 second split. But York hasn't ran this course as much the Rangers. The other team with a chance to contend is Cape Elizabeth. Cape has ran well at regionals for the past 4 years as they have come back with hardware everytime. If Cape’s 3-5 runners step up, they could yet again, come back with more hardware. Calling it now, It’s going Greely, York, Cape. All within 10 points of each other.
On the lady side of things. It’s a three way battle for first between Cape Elizabeth, Greely, and Yarmouth. Katherine Lagget-Barr will lead this field as she’ll have fresh legs to race on after she rested at WMCs. Barr, the soccer transfer has been posting impressive times all season, winning all her WMC races and coming in 2nd in the small school race at Manchester. She ran Twinbrook in a 19:28 once this year and won by 31 seconds over her freshman teammate Izzy Evans. Barr will look to lead her girls to another victory this weekend.
Izzy Evans will also help her team fight for a victory this Saturday. Evans, like Barr, is a new comer to the team as she's a freshman, and again, like Barr, Evans sat out last week as well to rest her legs. Evans started her season off running 21:34 at Twinbrook, and has yet to go over 20 again this seaosn. Two weeks ago, Evans PR’d at Freeport as she ran a 19:27.
Another runner to watch is Grace Cowles, the WMC runner up. Cowles lead her team last week to an overall win to beat Cape Elizabeth 54-61. Cowles worked her way up throughout the whole race as she was 12th at the mile, 6th at the two, and finished 2nd overall. Cowles ran 20:28 at Twinbrook earlier this year as she placed 3rd to Greely’s top two runners. Cowles will try with all her mite to stay with Evans, but it wont be easy, considering Greely knows everything about Twinbrook.
Abigail Hamilton of Yarmouth is another harrier that will look to excel. Hamilton was 6th at WMC with a 21:03 and could easily match that time this weekend. Earlier this year she was 20:46 at the ‘Brook and placed 4th. She could post similar results again if she runs the hills correctly and doesn't get caught in the postseason environment. Last year Hamilton was 21:58 with a 26th place, she’ll easily be in the top 10 this weekend, even a top 5 looks possible.
Keep an eye on the Cape Elizabeth pack of Sam Feenstra, Rhoen Fiutak, and Liv Palma. The ladies have been running together all season and will do so again. At WMCs Sam Feenstra lead the ladies as she was 5th with a 21:01. She was followed by Liv Palma and Rhoen Fiutak as they place 7th and 8th place respectievly. Last season, Fiutak lead the way with a 21:05 placing 5th at regionals. If she repeats what she did, and not ride the struggle bus through Twinbrook, it could put her team on top in the competition.
Like the boys race, the girls race should be much closer. And like the boys race, Greely goes into the race as the all knowing. Greely’s top three runners will all be fresh and ready to kill it. Barr, Evans, and Emma Mason will all have fresh legs, and definitely all capable of top 5 finishes. Greely won the small school race earlier this year at the Manchester invite. Greely also won the match up against Cape and Yarmouth earlier this year and looks to be the favorities to do it again on their home course. But a battle second might be fun to watch. Cape and Yarmouth will duel it out. Yarmouth has gotten the best of Cape, two out of their three match ups, including once at Twinbrook. Cape has had a bad history of running Twinbrook as they coast through the first mile an a half with ease, but then ride the struggle bus from the 2 mile all the way to the finish. If Cape can figure out how to run Twinbrook, they could easily beat Yarmouth, like they did at Festival. Last week Yarmouth won WMC’s overall with a 21:18 average and 1:51 split. where Cape was second with a 21:26 average with a 1:00 split. All the difference in the race was the #4 runner.