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 Eastern Maine Class A. The season is sure to provide XC fans in Maine with the opportunity to watch several top-notch athletes chase their dreams of a state title come November. The battle for the team title this fall is sure to be a fight with several of the top teams from last fall returning key members of their squads. Brewer returns their entire top 7. Mt. Blue returns 6 girls from a 3rd place team a year ago. Never count out two time defending champ, Brunswick either. Will someone dethrone Brunswick? Who will be this year Silver Hunt? Who will have a breakthrough season? Stay tuned.
Brewer: The Witches are destined for success this fall, returning their entire top 7 off a team that was Eastern Maine runner-ups last fall. They followed that up with a 3rd place at the state meet a mere 9 points from the top spot. The talented Witches will be led by standout Michelle Haluska (So. 7th in 2007), she had a fantastic freshman year. Right behind her will be Bekah Clark (Jr. 8th in 2007), Katie Snow (Sr. 11th in 2007), Kaitlin Noyes (Sr. 13th in 2007), Caitlyn Wilson (Sr. 23rd in 2007), Ashley Geiser (Sr. 25th in 2007) & Brooke Madden (Sr. 26th in 2007). This team was the deepest last year and nothing has changed except they added a talented freshman in Sara Chavarie. They could possibly put their entire top 7 within the top 20 girls in the East this season.
Mt. Blue: The Cougars coming off a 3rd place finish in 2007 will look to improve on that mark in 2008. If it wasn’t for defending state champion, Silver Hunt, leaving school, they would have return their entire top 7, but still have 6 strong runners back to challenge. Leading the way will be Melody Lam (2nd in 2007) who will contend for the individual title. Following her will be Marjorie Hardy (Sr. 21st in 2007), Sasha Collins-Faunce (Sr. 28th in 2007), Hannah West (Sr. 34th in 2007), Alex Allen (So. 56th in 2007), & Sarah Deveau (Jr. 58th in 2007). Also returning is Lindsay Keenan (Jr.) who was injured last fall. Freshman Addie Cullenberg, along with new to XC Shelby Aseltine & Gwen Beacham (both had very good track seasons) all could have an impact too.
Brunswick: The Dragons have won the last three Eastern Maine regional titles & Class A state championships. The repeat will be tough this year but they do return 4 girls from last year, and had a strong JV squad as well. The top returner for Brunswick is Meghan McDonough (So. 3rd in 2007) who had an outstanding freshman campaign. Also returning is Erica Noe (Jr. 14th in 2007), Sammy Youmans (Sr. 19th in 2007), & Farren Welzel (who competed at the state meet). While it looks like they have their work cut out for them, don’t count them out, champions know how to rise to the top when it counts.
Other teams to watch
Top 5 teams from 2007 Eastern Regional
1 A-Brunswick High School 42 3 4 5 13 17 18 44
Total Time: 1:47:04.71
2 A-Brewer High School 57 6 7 10 12 22 24 25
Total Time: 1:48:01.19
3 A-Mt. Blue High School 81 1 2 20 26 32 52 53
Total Time: 1:48:36.87
4 A-Mt. Ararat High School 108 8 9 23 33 35 50
Total Time: 1:52:31.70
5 A-Cony High School 108 11 16 19 21 41 51 59
Total Time: 1:52:00.08
Melody Lam (Jr. Mt Blue): Lam is coming off a runner-up finish in 2007, which saw her only lose out to her teammate, Silver Hunt. Lam is a threat to move up and capture the top spot with Hunt no longer running. Lam had a solid spring track season, where she finished 8th in 1600 at the state meet.
Megan McDonough (So. Brunswick): McDonough is coming off a great freshman season. She finished 3rd in the Eastern regional and followed that up at the state meet with a 13th place run. Another year of experience under her belt should help her as she tries to become the champion. McDonough was on the state champion 4x800 indoor team as well.
Michelle Haluska (So. Brewer): Haluska was a standout as a freshman, running to a 7th place finish at the Eastern regional and then an 18th place at the state meet. Haluska continued to improve during the track season, with a 2nd place in the indoor 2 mile (11:56.5). This past spring Michelle was 6th in the 1600 and 7th in the 3200.
Others to Watch
Bekah Clark (Jr. Brewer)
Katie Snow (Sr. Brewer)
Kaitlin Noyes (Sr. Brewer)
Erica Noe (Jr. Brunswick)
Rachel Huber (Jr. Bangor)
Jamie Russell (Sr. Edward Little)
Sammy Youmans (Sr. Brunswick)
Top 25 Individuals 2007 Eastern regional (Returners in Red)
1 Silver Hunt SO A-Mt. Blue 19:22.94 1
2 Melody Lam SO A-Mt. Blue 20:35.85 2
3 Meghan McDonough FR A-Brunswick 20:59.48 3
4 Caroline Webster SR A-Brunswick 21:00.14 4
5 Tiarah McKeen SR A-Lawrence 21:01.82
6 Clare Franco SR A-Brunswick 21:05.03 5
7 Michelle Haluska FR A-Brewer 21:18.92 6
8 Bekah Clark SO A-Brewer 21:21.51 7
9 Megan ST Laurent SR A-Mt. Ararat 21:24.42 8
10 Kayla Morong SR A-Mt. Ararat 21:24.58 9
11 Katie Snow JR A-Brewer 21:27.95 10
12 Morgan Beede SO A-Cony High School 21:28.89 11
13 Kaitlin Noyes JR A-Brewer 21:31.02 12
14 Erica Noe SO A-Brunswick 21:51.72 13
15 Rachel Huber SO A-Bangor 21:52.15 14
16 Jaime Russell JR A-Edward Little 22:03.12 15
17 Bethany Dumas SR A-Cony High School 22:08.22 16
18 Kristen Merrill SR A-Brunswick 22:08.34 17
19 Sammy Youmans JR A-Brunswick 22:09.06 18
20 Kaitlin Clifford SR A-Cony High School 22:09.56 19
21 Marjorie Hardy JR A-Mt. Blue 22:14.94 20
22 Rachel Salois SR A-Cony High School 22:16.33 21
23 Caitlyn Wilson JR A-Brewer 22:21.79 22
24 Haley Grover SR A-Mt. Ararat 22:37.26 23
25 Ashley Geiser JR A-Brewer 22:41.78 24
Brewer is clearly the team to beat this year, they return entire top 7 from last year’s runner-up squad, they will be hungry to win the title. Brunswick should never be counted out, they have shown they can perform when it counts, Mt. Blue is a solid team, if they get Silver Hunt back they could challenge for the top spot. After these teams look for Bangor or Hampden Academy to also make the state meet.
3. Mt. Blue
Will there be a Silver Hunt who surprises everyone to run away with the title? The chances are slim, look for a close battle throughout the season. Lam is a slight favorite based on her success last fall, but McDonough & Haluska the fabulous freshman from last year, have another year of experience under them and have the ability to be right there. Brewer has a number of girls that could be in the top 5.