The Class B Girls race, the fourth race of the day at Belfast's Troy Howard Middle School, yielded the closet team race, but the contest for the individual title that was anything but close.
Caitlin MacPherson's Ellsworth team was in their second nail-biter in the last seven days as, with MacPherson's third place finish leading the way, Ellsworth notched 87 points to squeak by Yarmouth (90), York (97) Mount Desert Island High School (101), and Cape Elizabeth (125). Just last week Ellsworth and MDI ended in a tie at Regionals with the title awarded to Ellsworth on the strength of its 6th runner's finish.
A junior, MacPherson has PR'd two weeks running. She cracked the twenty minute mark today at 19:58.50 to take the third spot. She was joined in scoring by Abby Mazgaj (9th), Trinity Montigny (17th), Sara Shea (23rd), and Emma McKechnie (39th).
As good as McPherson's run was she was nearly 40 seconds behind the 2017 champion Lily Horne of Freeport. Horne finished second (19:19.66) and was herself nearly 40 seconds behind Champion Lila Gaudrault (18:42.82) of Cape Elizabeth. A sophomore, Gaudrault finished first in all but two races this season. She was 7th over all at the Festival of Champions and came in second in the first-seeds race at the Quabacook relays when Edward Little's Jillian Richardson out-kicked her in the last 100 meters.
Gaudrault, who finished third in 2017 state meet, used a strong second mile to overcome a five-second deficit at the mile marker and glided over the bridge near mile two with a lead of about six-seconds; she then stretched it out over the last mile leaving nothing to chance, or to a strong kicker. Gaudrault had some company as Cape's senior Camilla Grosso finished 4th, but those two low finishers were not sufficient to power Cape to a team win as Yarmouth, MDI, Ellsworth and York packed 16 runners into the top 30 spots.
The top ten was rounded out by Katelyn Osborne (5th) of MDI, Heidi Fortin (6th) from Wells, a pair from Yarmouth, Maddie Marston (7th), and Abi Thornton (8th), Abby Mazgaj (9th) of Ellsworth, while the tenth spot went to Olivia Ouellette of Poland.
With the team championship Ellsworth joins Bonny Eagle from Class A, and perennial champion Orono from Class C in qualifying for the New England meet in Manchester NH on November 10th. Once the champions of each class are determined the entire meet is rescored and the three remaining fastest teams also qualify for New Englands; qualifying on points are Camden Hills, Falmouth, and Mt Ararat.
When the three classes were merged Gaudrault's time of 18:42 was second fastest across all classes behind only Falmouth's Sofie Matson.