Northern Maine Class A Regional XC Championship Preview
Last week's KVAC Championship gave us a preview of what we might see in Belfast on Saturday. While the courses are vastly different, the competition remains the same. Flo50 #1 Camden Hills leads the girls team's looking to punch their ticket to Twin Brook for the Class A state meet next weekend. The Windjammers in their first season in Class A have been the best team for over a month, finishing as the top Maine team at the Maine Festival of Champions, and easily winning the KVAC Class A crown last week by 15 points over Mt Ararat. They are the deepest team in the Maine this fall.
Mt Ararat showed they are worthy of a top ten team ranking (Flo50 #8) with their runner-up finish at the KVAC Class A meet last weekend as they averaged 21:37 on a tough course. The Eagles top runner Katherine Leckbee was off her usual front running performance last week and was seen with a bag of ice of her foot post race. The Eagles hopes of a regional title will certainly require a healthy Leckbee. The Eagles look to be easily in states with or without there star runner.
Brunswick & Brewer were separated by just a single point at KVAC's with the Dragons edging them at spots 2,4,5. Cony performed well on their home course a week ago placing 5th. Bangor finished ten points back of the Rams in 6th place. The Rams ran without top runner Lydia Gilmore last week, she has a 20:02 clocking to her credit this fall.
All eyes will be on how many runners the Skowhegan Indians send to the starting line, last week they didn't have the required 5 to score as a team. If they don't have the require five start the race only 6 teams will move on to the Class A state meet the following week, if they do 7 team will advance out of the region.
Mt Blue & Hampden Academy figure to be the teams on the brink. Hampden edged Mt Blue by 4 at KVAC's a week ago. However don't count out Messalonskee or Lewiston who based of season best 5k's will be in the mix as well.
Individually Flo50 #2 Grace Iltis has been had her best stretch of races over the last three week's. Iltis won the KVAC title last week running 19:56, the only girl in the field under 20 minutes. The week before she clocked 19:18 to win the Camden Hills invitational, and at FOC she placed 4th running a lifetime best 18:46. She'll be the favorite to win on Saturday.
Look for Iltis's teammate junior Augusta Stockman (Flo50 #9) the KVAC runner-up to be up front as well. Stockman who has never run in a regional meet, will look to continue her strong fall. Her fastest 5k on the year came at Belfast at Festival of Champions where she ran 19:04.
Previously mentioned (Flo50 #14) Katherine Leckbee is the defending regional champion. If healthy Leckbee can run with Iltis & Stockman. She'll look to rebound from last week, and owns a 18:46 personal best on the Belfast course. She has yet to run on a fast course this year.
Flo50 #13 Jillian Richardson of Edward Little placed third in the KVAC, and ran a personal best 19:20 at FOC on the Belfast course. She's not afraid to push the pace, and don't expect anything different on Saturday from her.
Other runners to watch are Karli Leighton who has come on in the latter half of the season, last week she was fourth at KVAC's. Her freshman teammate Camila Cembroniewicz has run very well this fall placing 7th last week, and has a best of 20:01 on the season. Miranda Dunton of Camden Hills is a top 5 threat as well, Dunton has a personal best of 19:41 on the Belfast course this season.