With the 2008 XC season nearly upon us, it is time to look at the contenders for both team and individual glory this fall in the Western Maine Class B. The season is sure to provide XC fans in Southern Maine with the opportunity to watch several top notch athletes chase their dream of a state title come November. The battle for the title this fall is also sure to be a close with several of the top teams from last fall returning key members of their squads. Cape Elizabeth & Greely look to be the early favorites but don't count out other traditional powers Falmouth & York either. What team will establish itself? Will anyone catch Rand? Who will surprise everyone?
Cape Elizabeth:The Capers are the defending Western Maine champions, after an impressive showing at regionals last fall. The team went onto finish 5th place at states. The team was very young last fall and with another year of experience under their belts, they look primed to battle for the top spot in the very competitive Class B West Regional. Leading the way for Cape will be the top returner in Class B, Matt Rand. Rand had an exceptional fall last year, he was the runner-up in Western Regional, finished 4th in the state meet and at the New England's ran to a 36th place finish. Behind Rand, the Capers will look to Chris Flathers (Sr. 5th in 2007), Reid Douty (So. 16th in 2007), Bobby Yokabaskas (Jr. 27th in 2007), Sean Thomas (So. 22nd in 2007), & Peter Brigham (Jr. 44th in 2007). The team is still young but certainly learned a lot last fall, they will be eager to get back on the trails to show everyone what they have this year.
Greely:The Rangers were the Western Maine runner-ups in the regional meet last fall but a week later they rebounded and captured the state championship. Greely has a strong squad returning this fall, as they aim to repeat. Greely will be led by a dynamic duo up front, James LePage (Sr. 76th in 2007), he struggled at the regional meet but got redemption at states, and Logan Price (Jr. 8th in 2007) will give Greely a strong 1-2 punch. Behind them, the Rangers will look for new to XC Mark McCauley (Jr.), who is a standout for them on the track as well as returner Andy Fitch (Sr. 13th in 2007).
Falmouth: Falmouth is coming off a 6th place finish at last year's Western regional (they ran without their #1), they rebounded at states with a 6th place showing. They lost top runner Ethan Shaw to graduation but still have a strong nucleus returning and a handful of talented freshman joining the team. Top returner for Falmouth is Jamey Epstein (Sr. 15th in 2007), behind him is Scott Gardner (Sr. 39th in 2007), Eric D'Agostino (Jr. 46th in 2007), Luke Barbour (Sr. 57th in 2007), & Charlie Swerdlow (Jr. 62nd in 2007). Also look for Mike Serunian, who was a standout in the 800 this spring, he should factor into the top 5, plus add in talented freshman, Timothy Follio (39:37 at the Beach to Beacon) & Conor McGory (40:45 at Beach to Beacon) and Falmouth has another solid team.
York: The Wildcats will look to improve on their 2007 campaign which saw them finish 4th in the Western Regional & 10th in the State meet. They return 5 of their top 7. York will count on Alex Moser (Jr. 9th in 2007) to be a front runner, Moser had a great xc season last fall and should be one of the contenders for the individual title. York also returns Dan Herbin (Jr. 29th in 2007), Tristan Palhof (Jr. 41st in 2007), Nick Lumenello (Sr. 30th in 2007), & Brian Farrell (Sr. 51st in 2007). York has been known to have large teams in the past, so the likelihood of someone emerging from their JV team this fall is more than likely. With another year of experience under their belts, this team looks primed to improve on last year’s success.
Other teams to watch
Top 5 Teams 2007 Western Class B Regional
1 Cape Elizabeth High Schoo 59 2 5 14 16 22 27 44
2 Greely High school 88 8 13 19 23 25 54 76
3 Fryeburg Academy 115 3 12 28 34 38 47 67
4 York 154 9 28 29 40 41 49 51
5 Poland HS 154 1 10 21 59 63 70 81
Matt Rand: Rand is probably the odds on favorite to capture the Western Class B title this fall based on his 2007 results. Rand is the top returner, and has an impressive resume of results. His 36th place finish at the New England Championship meet concluded an outstanding season last fall, where he was also 4th in the state meet. Rand showed he’s been doing his summer training, as he clocked 35:10 (5:40 pace) in the recent Beach to Beacon.
James LePage: LePage will look to have a better regional meet this fall, last year he struggled home in 76th place. However, LePage showed that he’s as talented as anyone with his 6th place finish in the state meet. LePage will be looking to close the gap that Rand had over him last year, with this being his senior season, look for him to have excellent fall. James had a solid track season; he was on the state championship 4x800, 3rd in the 1600, & 4th in the 800.
Alex Moser: Moser emerged on the scene last fall with some impressive results in the big meets, a 9th place finish at the Western Regional & 10th place finish at the State meet. Heading into his junior year, Moser is primed to continue his excellent results; a top 5 finish is well within reach for him. Alex had some injuries this spring, but still ran to an 8th place finish in the 1600 at states.
Chris Flathers: Flathers had a great fall last year, finishing 5th at the regional meet, following that up with a 14th place showing at states. He doesn’t run track so he may be the forgotten one out of these talented runners, but his talent will shine through his fall for the Capers. He recently ran a solid 36:35 at the Beach to Beacon.
Dylan LaJoie: LaJoie, who finished 10th in last years Western Regional is one of the top returners. "Pickle" as he is known around the area, had a great track season this spring setting pr's at every distance, and will look to carry that success over to this fall. LaJoie was 12th in the 1600 & 10th in the 3200 at the state meet. He has run some excellent times this summer as well at local road races.
Logan Price: Price is slight in stature but that doesn't seem to faze him when he's racing. Price had a great fall last year, 8th in Western Regional & 9th at the State meet. On the track this spring Price excelled, 6th in the 1600 & 2nd in the 3200 at the State meet. Price had his best race of the season at the New England's running a huge pr in the 3200, 9:39.58.
Others to Watch
Kendi Hall (Jr. Fryeburg Academy)
Andy Fitch (Sr. Greely)
Jamey Epstein (Sr. Falmouth)
Reid Douty (So. Cape Elizabeth)
Ben Nickerson (So. Yarmouth)
Mark McCauley (Jr. Greely)
Top 25 Individuals for 2007 (Returners in Red)
1 Williams, Nick Poland HS 5:13.5 16:13.80 1
2 Rand, Matt JR Cape Elizabeth 5:16.2 16:22.25 2
3 Even, Timothy SR Fryeburg Academy 5:27.2 16:56.30 3
4 Howland, Michael Lincoln Academy 5:37.6 17:28.81 4
5 Flathers, Chris JR Cape Elizabeth 5:38.7 17:32.10 5
6 Knox, Jacob SR Maranacook 5:39.9 17:35.80 6
7 Ward, Gary Lincoln Academy 5:40.1 17:36.40 7
8 Price, Logan 10 Greely High school 5:40.8 17:38.60 8
9 Moser, Alex SO York 5:41.0 17:39.40 9
10 Lajoie, Dylan Poland HS 5:42.7 17:44.60 10
11 Betts, Cameron SR Gray-New Gloucester 5:47.7 18:00.28 11
12 Hall, Kenedi SO Fryeburg Academy 5:48.2 18:01.80 - 12
13 Fitch, Andy 11 Greely High school 5:48.4 18:02.40 13
14 Backer, Davis SR Cape Elizabeth 5:48.7 18:03.10 14
15 Epstein, Jamey JR Falmouth 5:49.8 18:06.70 15
16 Douty, Reid FR Cape Elizabeth 5:52.2 18:14.10 16
17 Nickerson, Ben FR Yarmouth 5:53.1 18:17.00 17
18 Cobean, Sam SR Falmouth 5:53.9 18:19.50 18
19 Emery, Jake 12 Greely High school 5:54.2 18:20.20 19
20 Mitchell, Tucker SR Maranacook 5:55.0 18:22.80 20
21 Provencher, David Poland HS 5:57.9 18:31.80 21
22 Thomas, Sean FR Cape Elizabeth 5:58.2 18:32.70 22
23 Adams, Spencer 12 Greely High school 5:59.2 18:35.80 23
24 George, Andrew FR Yarmouth 5:59.9 18:37.90 24
25 Crosson, Ethan 12 Greely High school 6:00.1 18:38.60 25
Cape & Greely should battle back and forth all season; I don’t see either team have a clear cut advantage over the other at this point. McCauley could be the difference maker for Greely though. Behind them watch out for York, Falmouth & Fryeburg all teams that have a good shot at making the state meet, who finishes in the front of this pack will be the team who has the best quality depth. A surprise team could be the young Yarmouth squad.
2. Cape Elizabeth
Matt Rand is the heavy favorite heading into the season; his quality running at the end of last year vaulted him ahead of everyone else. LePage/Price of Greely are both talented, and should challenge Rand throughout the season. Flathers is under the radar because he only runs XC, but he beat both of them last year, and could give Cape a 1-2 finish. Moser and Lajoie will try to close the gap on the guys ahead of them; both have the ability to move up.