Matson Breaks Meet Record, Shaughnessy Speeds to Victory at 18th Festival of Champions
Falmouth junior Sofie Matson came into the 18th Festival of Champions as the heavy favorite, and as soon as the gun went off it was obvious of her intentions. Unlike previous seasons where Matson had the opportunity to run at Belfast twice this was her only chance of her junior season.
"This course is a good course to PR on" Matson told MileSplit
The two time FOC champion stormed to the front early, and continued her relentless pace through the 5k layout at the Troy Howard Middle School course on Saturday.
"I felt a bit anxious" Matson commented after her fast 5:20 first mile.
The two time defending Class A champion had no one around her but that didn't stop her from pushing the pace on her own as she was after the meet record of 17:56.69 set by Waterville's Bethanie Brown in 2012.
In the end with meet announcer Glendon Rand encouraging her home, the lanky junior cross the finish line with a new meet record of 17:35.91, and the second fastest time in course history, she ranks only behind the 17:31.65 mark set by Julia Robitaille of Manchester West, NH at the 2017 New England championship.
While she didn't set a new PR, Matson was pleased with her effort.
"It's a good indicator of how I'm progressing in the season, I'm able to consistently run under 18 which is exciting."
Behind her junior Siona Chisholm of JH Gillis in Nova Scotia ran a strong 18:08.60 while Ava Thurston of Harwood Academy in Vermont finished third with a 18:16.72.
Matson's teammate Karley Piers moved well after the mile into the fourth position just off her best time with a course best of 18:23.22, behind her two time defending Class C champion Olivia Reynold of Maine Coast Waldorf hit a personal best of 18:42 as she held off Maririn Canning of JH Gillis in the final strides.
Gorham senior Kate Tugman who ran in third place for the first mile, finished 8th in a course best 18:45.06 while Bonny Eagle sophomore Delaney Hesler broke 19 minutes with her 18:56 effort. Rounding of the top 10 was sophomore Megan Randall of Scarborough in 19:06.
The girls team competition was very close as the top three squads were separated by just three points.
Harwood Academy of Vermont took top honors with 151 points, they were led by third place finisher Ava Thurston. Harwood had a team average of 19:49.62.
The runner-up was Maine MileSplit50 #1 Bonny Eagle with 153 points. The Scots placed three runners inside the top 18. While JH GIllis from Nova Scotia was third with 154 points, the Royals actually had the fastest team average of 19:36.89
Scarborough was the second Maine team in 5th while MDI & Cape Elizabeth were 6th & 7th respectively just six points apart.
Anna Robinson of JH Gillis won the freshman race with an outstanding time of 19:11.72. Cape Elizabeth's Charlotte DeGeorge was the runner-up with her 19:24.10 effort.
In the unseeded race Lewiston sophomore Paige Collins took top honors with a 22:00.60 to win by 25 seconds.
In the boys seeded race Will Shaughnessy started out in the lead pack but shortly before the mile the senior burst into the lead and never was challenged after that.
"My plan was to go at the mile but the pace didn't feel that fast for me so I decided to go a little earlier."
Shaughnessy who entered with the fastest seed time of 15:13 showed he has taken his running to another level from a year ago when he finished third in 16:06 at FOC.
He raised his arms in victory as he crossed the finish line in 15:32.86, clocking the third fastest Maine effort in the races 18 year history.
"I wanted to run a pretty fast time so I could compare it to other greats that have come before me."
Behind him sophomore Daniel McCarthy of Bangor, the winner of the freshman race a year ago in 16:56, shattered his personal best with a runner-up finish of 15:41.72.
Falmouth senior Ben Potter ran 15:45.99 for third while Cape Elizabeth senior Jack Bassett lowered his personal best under 16 minutes with a 15:50.36 with is fourth place effort. More importantly for Bassett he was the top Class B runner in the field.
Junior Ben Greene also finished under 16 minutes as he sprinted to line in 15:59.17, behind him Classical, RI senior Connor Murphy ran 16:03.11 for sixth.
Brunswick junior Tyler Patterson closed the last 2 miles very well as he moved up to seventh overall with his personal best 16:05.29, while Lincoln Academy senior Jarrett Gulden set a personal best of 16:06.41 for eighth place.
The surprise run of the day might have come from Bangor junior Gordon Doore who placed ninth running a lifetime best 16:16.79.
The early race leader Tristram Coffin of Scarborough faded to tenth running 16:19.73.
In the team race there was no question who the best team was today as the defending champion Brunswick Dragons won by 87 points. Brunswick had all 5 scorers under 17:18, and had the fastest team average as well on the day at 16:31.61.
York showed that they will be the team to beat again in Class B later in November as they had a great performance to finish as the runner-ups. The Wildcats did it the unconventional way with no one in the top 20, but a pack time of just 54 seconds proved to be very important.
Bangor ran to a third place finish behind Daniel McCarthy's runner-up finish while Maine MileSplit #1 Scarborough was just fourth. Falmouth rounded out the top 5 teams.
In the freshman race Eli Palmer of Brunswick pulled away in the late stages of the race to score a 17:18.55 victory. Charlie Collins of Hampden Academy ran most of the race with Palmer was second in 17:26.47.
In the boys unseeded "A" race it was senior Raymond Woodworth of Gray New Gloucester who took top honors in 19:53.15 while in boys unseeded "B" race Louis Walker of Maine Coast Waldorf crossed the first in 18:11.43.