Top Teams & Athletes Highlight Southern Maine XC Classic
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In it's third year the Southern Maine XC Classic has produced numerous personal bests in its first two years, and more are expected this Saturday as 26 teams mostly from Southern Maine will toe the line at Naragansett course.
There will be four different races throughout the day starting with the girls freshman/sophomore race starting at 10am, which will be followed by the freshman/sophomore boys at 10:45, next will come the junior/senior girls at 11:30am, with the racing closing out with the junior/senior boys race at 12:05
The course has been slightly altered due to construction so won't be exactly the same as the previous two years. Nine of the top fifteen runners in the state will compete.
A year ago Sofie Matson of Falmouth posted the fastest time of 18:15.80 in winning the freshman/sophomore race setting a new course record in the process. In the junior/senior race Kate Tugman of Gorham made a run at the record coming up just short with her personal best 18:18. Both will be back on Saturday and this time will be in the same race.
Matson has shown great form thus far in 2019, clocking the fastest time at the SMAA relays by 39 seconds, and just last week crushing the course record of Emily Durgin by 39 seconds on the Falmouth course. She'll be the favorite heading into Saturday, and a sub 18 clocking has to be withing reach given how well she has competed this fall.
Behind her Tugman comes in ranked Milesplit #3, and on her home course will certainly be looking to match last year and hopefully run a bit faster. She ran a 18:52 last week winning at Thornton Academy showing she is in good form.
Milesplit #4 Karley Piers was fourth in the freshman/sophomore race a year ago running 19:28.55. Piers has had a strong start to get 2019 campaign, she equalled Tugman's time at SMAA Relays and clocked the third fastest time 19:03 in course history at Falmouth a week ago. A sub 19 effort is well within reach for Piers on Saturday.
Bonny Eagle sophomore Delaney Hesler was the runner-up in the freshman/sophomore race last year in a personal best 18:39.51, the time was good for the fourth best overall. Hesler comes in ranked MileSplit #5, a week ago she ran 19:52 for 5k on a difficult Massabesic course. She'll likely be a front of the freshman/sophomore race and might have to push the pace on her own.
Milesplit #6 Iris Kitchen of Gorham missed this race due to injury a year ago, she is back healthy and in good form this fall. A week ago she ran a 19:26 for 5k at Thornton Academy good for a runner-up finish to her teammate Tugman.
Senior Marin Provencher of Greely is a top competitor and enters ranked MileSplit #9. Provencher ran 19:08 last year finishing 7th overall in 2018. She opened up her 2019 campaign last week edging Olivia Reynolds at Poland.
Two time defending Class C state champion Olivia Reynolds is ranked MileSplit #10 in the early season. Reynolds tends to turn it up a notch in big competitions so don't be surprised to see improve on her ranking on Saturday. Reynolds ran 19:11 a year ago finishing third in freshman/sophomore race, she opened her season with a 20:43 effort finishing second at Poland.
Milesplit #13 Kayla Werner of Scarborough was just getting her feet wet last fall during the Southern Maine Classic. Werner clocked a 20:28 good for 24th overall, and finished 9th in the freshman/sophomore race. Her fitness is much better than a year ago evidenced by her 19:41 effort at Falmouth last week for three miles.
Others to watch are Emmaline Pendleton of Bonny Eagle who finished 13th overall and 5th in the freshman/sophomore race. Annabelle Brooks of Portland is a freshman to keep an eye on she ran 20:06 at TA last week. Scarborough's Kristen Werner is another freshman to watch she was 4th at Falmouth last week.
Teamwise seven of the the top ten teams in the state will compete. Bonny Eagle (MileSplit #1), the defending champion is the favorite to win again. The Scots will have a lot of fire power in the freshman/sophomore race with their top three being sophomores.
Portland is ranked MileSplit #3 after there victory over Gorham last week. The Bulldogs have a influx of new talent so watch for them in the freshman/sophomore race. Falmouth, Yarmouth, Gorham, Scarborough, & Windham are the other MileSplit ranked teams.
After Saturday we should have a much better understanding of where teams stand in the early part of the season.