Bonny Eagle was expected to have the inside track on the Girl's Class A Team Championship for 2018 beginning late last spring season. With rising seniors Ami Beaumier, Kayla Raymond, and Christine Toy already well decorated in their cross-country and track & field careers and with other upper class-men ready to pitch in, the Scots looked great. Their dominance at the state track and field meet in the 4x800 and other distance events showed real depth. But fast forward four months and Toy has only been able to run in two 5Ks this season, most recently at the testing ground of the SMAA JV meet.
The arrival of a stacked first year class was no doubt welcome for the Scots.
Hesler in particular has scored well, but all have posted top five teams scores for the Scots during the season. Even so, today's fourth place finish (19:02.57) notwithstanding, Hesler acknowledged some nerves before her first state meet. She and Beaumier (5th,19:05.87) ran much of the race together, and the team's other scorers Raymond (13th), Stevens (21st), and junior Emma Abbott (29th) also remained close together for much of the rest of the race. At the two mile mark. Beaumier and Helser ran as a pair while the other three came through as a loose string perhaps twenty meters long. The three-four-five string had been stretched a bit by the finish line and Beaumier had to make a late push to get back on Hesler's heals, but the team result was never really in doubt.
The Scots finished with just 63 points. Falmouth led by the individual champion Sofie Matson finished with 106 points, as did the defending state champions from Camden Hills. Camden Hills was led by senior Augusta Stockman (9th, 19:19.14). Mt Ararat with 172 points (Camila Ciembroniewicz, 15th), and Cheverus at 193 (Rosie Train, 41st) completed the top five teams.
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. These teams join the other class winners Orono, Bonny Eagle, and Ellsworth. In addition, the individual champion of each class would qualify even if their team did not along with the twenty-two fast times of the merged race.
The Championship run was a far different affair than in 2017 when Falmouth's Sofie Matson gapped the field by 20 meters within the first 400. The sophomore still won, repeating as Class A champion and putting up the best time on day after the classes were merged, but for two miles she had company. Gorham's Kate Tugman and Edward Little's senior Jillian Richardson have been at the top of the field all season and were destined to make a race of it.
One distinction between this year's race and Matson's 2017 win is that neither Richardson nor Tugman led a team that was likely to contend for the team title. As a result they could let it all out and run for themselves. By contrast the 2017 runner-up, Augusta Stockman, and third place finisher Grace Iltis led a Camden team that was contending for, and would win, the team title; the pair needed to run for position rather than time.
Edward Little had just two entrants in this year's race and right now Gorham lacks the depth to compete as a team. Richardson and Tugman were free to fly. The race was tight over the first mile with the trio running in an easy pack. By the second mile, Matson had strung Tugman and Richardson out somewhat, but the pair still looked strong.
In the end Matson ran away at 18:33.51, Tugman finished 2nd at 18:49.24, and Richardson came 3rd at 18:56.49, but it was nothing like the thirty-six second margin Matson enjoyed in 2017.
Hesler and Beauimer came 4th and 5th, with Mt. Blue's Kahryn Cullenberg 6th. Gorham's Iris Kitchen, running just her third 5K of the season finished 7th, Karley Piers of Falmouth followed in 8th, Camden Hills' Stockman took 9th, and Marin Provencher of Greely rounded out the top ten.
With weather and conditions suppressing times the last two weeks at Belfast, Mt. Blue's Cullenberg is showing herself to be a poor weather competitor. Last week at regionals she put up a significant PR and loped another two-seconds off today to finish at 19:08.49. It was the only personal best among the top-ten finishers. Followed in scoring most of the season by three Mt.Blue freshman, Cullenberg may be poised to lead Mt. Blue back to the KVAC prominence during her senior campaign.