Orono senior Camille Kohtala led from the gun to the tape and became the only Maine runner on regional championship weekend to claim both an individual title and lead her team to the team championship. The eleven other races featured individual champions whose teams finished out of the money.
Kohtala (20:04) had some company as the race wound down. Teammate Erin Gerbi (20:08) narrowed the gap over the last 150 meters. Also scoring for Orono were Julia White (5th), Nora White (9th), and Amneh Wise (15th). Early in the race in seemed possible that Orono could sweep as their first four led and Wise was just off the pace. Just past the two mile marker, Orono held the top four spots but Dolcie Tanguay of Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM), and Teagan Ewings of Greater Houlton Christian Academy (GHCA) ran strong late in the race to move into the third and fourth spots. Even so, Kohtala and Gerbi would cross the finish line with nearly a minute and half lead over the rest of the field.
Tanguay was joined by 6th place finisher Madison McCarthy of MSSM to give the Penguins a solid 3rd place team finish. Houlton High School, led by Emmalyne Drake (9th), took the runners-up plaque with a total of 85 points. Rounding out the top ten were Sophia Mcvicar (8th) of Calais, and Alyssa Turner of Narraguagus. Orono, Houlton, MSSM, and Fort Fairfield will all return as teams next weekend to compete in the State meet. George Stevens, a perennial title contender, was only able to enter four runners and so will not compete as team next weekend; all four GSA runners did qualify as individuals based on finish position and will be back at Belfast next weekend.
On the boys side, the individual title went to Evan Merchant of Jonesport Beals. The senior, who placed fourth in regionals last season, ran a 17:30.70 to top Travis Hunt of Narraguagas (17.39.50). Like many of the runners from the Northern Region, Merchant is looking forward to another shot at the Belfast course next weekend. Jonesport Beals is a smaller school and cannot field five runners, but the Royals train regularly with Calais so Merchant will have company and fans along the rope lines next weekend at States.
Thorin Saucier led Orono to the team title with his third place finish (17:42.10). It was a new PR for the sophomore but the Red Riots relied on their tightly packed two-five runners to clinch the title. The group ran 7th, 9th, 10th, and 11th with just George Stevens's Ian Renwick squeezing in at 8th among the pack. Along with Saucier, Orono's scorers were Tucker Ellis (7th), Marius De Lannee (9th), Colby Pawson (10th), and Eli Ewer (11th).
Runners-up George Stevens Academy, finishing with 43 points, were led by Caden Mattson (5th) and Clark Morrison (6th). Rounding out the top ten was Luke Barnes of Sumner High School with a 4th place finish.