With September coming to a close in one more day it's time to look back at the first five weeks of the 2019 cross country season. We have had a great start to xc season with several fast times, course records, and breakthroughs.
Class A Girls
As expected Sofie Matson of Falmouth has been phenomenal this fall, starting off with her course record at the SMAA Relays at Bonny Eagle, followed up with another on her home course at Falmouth where she took an amazing 34 seconds off of Emily Durgin's 2012 course record. Her best effort came a week later at the Southern Maine XC Classic where she obliterated her own 18:15 course record with a winning effort of 17:29, her time moves her to third fastest in state history. The junior a 2018 Footlocker finalist currently ranks 23rd in the MileSplit 50 national rankings.
Karley Piers, Matson's teammate has been on fire as well. Piers ran under the old course record at the Southern Maine Classic with her 18:13.51 effort. She previously clocked the third best time on the tough Falmouth three mile course.
Up in the KVAC Kahryn Cullenberg of Mt Blue is off to a fast start winning four races so far this season. While Lydia Gilmore of Bangor has been another standout winning three races including a fast 19:25 at Hampden Academy.
Despite graduation loses, the Bonny Eagle girls remain the top team in the state. The Scots have been paced by sophomore Delaney Hesler this fall. The surprise team maybe the Red Storm of Scarborough who have one of the best 1-2-3 punches in the state with Kayla Werner, Megan Randall, and Kristen Werner. The most improved team from a year ago is the Bulldogs of Portland, who have seen an influx of freshman bring them among the top teams in the state.
Class A Boys
Lisandro Berry-Gaviria the two time defending Class A champion and 2018 Nike Cross National finalists has raced sparingly so far in 2019. In fact he has yet to run a real race opting to "tempo" with his teammates a couple of times. With the NXN championship in December this approach is geared towards him running well when it counts in championship season.
Brunswick's Will Shaughnessy has taken his running to another level this fall running undefeated in the seniors three races. He has been on a course record setting spree starting with the Laliberte Invitational in August, then at the Quabacook Relays, and last time out the fourth fastest 5k ever run in the state with his 15:13.30 on the new Brunswick course.
An anticipated matchup with Berry-Gaviria looks like it will have to wait until the post-season though.
Also excelling in the KVAC has been sophomore Daniel McCarthy of Bangor who is undefeated on the season in four races. McCarthy has a best of 16:09.20 for 5k which he ran at Hampden Academy
Down in the SMAA senior Benjamin Potter of Falmouth has been tearing up the trails. Potter started with a strong win at the SMAA Relays as he held off Ethan Eickmann of Kennebunk for the win. He added another win on his home course before setting a new personal best 15:42.86 in winning the junior/senior at the Southern Maine XC Classic with the third fastest time in course history.
Potter's teammate Ben Greene has made the successful transition from soccer pitch to cross country trails this fall. In his first official cross country 5k he ran 15:47.49 the fastest ever debut in state history, and a time good for fifth fastest in meet history at Southern Maine Classic.
Kennebunk senior Ethan Eickmann has been crushing it as well as he broke the 16 minutes barrier at Southern Maine Classic with his 15:51.56 effort. Eickmann has added two other course victories, and just set a new course record at Marshwood on Friday.
After a slow start to the season due to an illness Scarborough senior Tristram Coffin is starting to takeoff as he has won his last two races in commanding form including a new course record at Biddeford on Friday with his 16:07 for 5k.
As expected the Red Storm of Scarborough, the defending Class A champions have started strong despite missing one of their top runner Connor Coffin due to an injury. They won the Southern Maine Classic to establish themselves as a title threat.
Speaking of Berry-Gaviria, his team Mt Ararat has come out very strong and is a threat to win the class A title in November. The Eagles are six deep right now, and have had a tight compression in all of their races this fall.
Class B GirlsDefending state champion Lila Gaudrault of Cape Elizabeth is running better than ever so far in 2019. Gaudrault a junior has won four times this fall including a 19:32 solo effort at Twin Brook last Friday. The time at Twin Brook was a new personal best on the course and in the process she handled one of the top runners in Class B Marin Provencher by over a minute. A week earlier she placed fourth in the large school race at the Manchester Invitational.
The only girl to run a faster time than Gaudrault this fall is Greely senior Marin Provencher who is back in Class B after two years in Class A. Provencher clocked a 19:21.29 in placing fifth in the junior/senior race at the Southern Maine XC Classic.
Teamwise Cape Elizabeth might have established itself a the team to beat on Friday as they won a WMC meet over Greely & York by six points. Cape has been aided by freshman Charlotte DeGeorge & Lydia Branson.
Greely will be in the mix when it matters and having the state meet at Twin Brook could be a difference maker for the Rangers,
Up north Mt Desert Island Trojans have been the best team, they are coming off an easy victory at the Sectional XC meet at Old Town on Saturday where they averaged 22:01 with a 59 second compression.
Class B BoysCape Elizabeth senior Jack Bassett has established himself as a slight individual favorite to win the Class B title in November. Bassett has won four races this fall, and his only defeat was at the Quabacook Relays to Will Shaughnessy. Last time out he cruised to a 16:54 win at Twin Brook easily dispatching the competition. The week before he had a great duel with Griffin Allaire of Wells taking the win by one second at Wells.
Speaking of Allaire he is one of the title threats come November. Allaire ran a personal best of 16:11.68 for 5k at the Southern Maine XC Classic where he finished sixth in the junior/senior race. He was just one second back of Bassett on his home course two weeks ago.
Greely's Sam Wilson has put together a strong start to his junior season. Wilson placed 10th at the Southern Maine XC Classic in a personal best 16:26.47. He followed that up with a strong 17:18 effort on a hot day at the Manchester Invitational to lead all Maine runners.
The Greely boys back in Class B after two season running in Class A came out strong to start the season off. The Rangers finished as the runner-ups at the Southern Maine XC Classic, and followed that up with being the top Maine school at the Manchester Invitational.
The York boys the defending Class B state champions laid low during the first part of the season but they showed they will be capable of a repeat come November as they scored a four point win over Greely at Twin Brook (note Greely ran without Elias Leggat-Barr). The Wildcats don't appear any front runners yet but do have seven runners that finished within 37 seconds of each other last week.
Class C Girls
Two time defending champion Olivia Reynolds is the favorite to win her third consecutive state title. The Maine Coast Waldorf junior has the fastest time in Class C this fall with her 19:15.42 effort from the junior/senior race at the Southern Maine XC Classic. Reynolds has back to back victory the last two weeks.
In the PVC Erin Gerbi of Orono is the only other harrier under 20 minutes for 5k at this time. Gerbi ran 19:58.08 to win the Bucksport Invitational. She was seventh in the Sectional XC meet on Saturday.
It's hard to get a read on Maranacook's Molly McGrail as she has raced sparingly so far in 2019. McGrail's best effort was a 20:42 clocking on her home course, one of the tougher courses in the state.
In the MVC Glory Blethen won the MVC preview meet by 26 seconds making her the favorite. Blethen ran a strong 20:40.03 at the Southern Maine XC Classic to place 14th in the junior/senior race.
Teamwise Maine Coast Waldorf looks like the best team from the south. They finished 8th in the Southern Maine Classic against a quality field, and last time out they were just 5 points behind Class B Yarmouth. Orono once again looks to be the best team in the north, the Red Riots are a perennial title contender. In the MVC Monmouth won the MVC preview meet and looks to be in line for another conference title later this month.
Class C Boys
Boothbay senior Will Perkins has been one of the best in Class C this fall. Perkins has the fastest 5k time with his personal best 16:49.64 at the Southern Maine XC Classic where he finished 19th in the junior/senior race. He added a win in the MVC Preview meet last week by winning by 51 seconds making him the overwhelming favorite to win the conference crown.
In the PVC Thorin Saucier of Orono has won two meets including a 16:57.51 5k to win the Bucksport Invitational
While in the WMC, Seamus Woodruff a junior from Maine Coast Waldorf has been a standout. Woodruff has run a best of 16:5.54 at the Southern Maine XC Classic. He finished third his last time out at Yarmouth.
St Dom's senior Mark D'Alessandro has run sparingly this fall but appears to be in good form after winning at Fryeburg in 17:01 a couple weeks ago.
Maine Coast Waldorf has been the hot team to start the season off. MCW placed an impressive sixth at the Southern Maine XC Classic turning back several Class A & B teams. The only regular season defeat came at the hands of Greely in the first meet of the season since then they have won each WMC meet.
In the MVC Boothbay/Wiscasset took the victory over Lisbon by 17 points in the MVC preview meet.
Up north Orono is the team beat they won the Bucksport Invitational to open their season.