State Championships On The Line At Twin Brook
Soggy conditions expected after a week of rain.
The state's best cross country runners will contend for state titles on Saturday at Twin Brook Recreation Park in Cumberland. The Class B girls race will kick things off at 11am.
Defending Class B champion Lila Gaudrault of Cape Elizabeth will be the individual favorite, she is coming off a win at Southern Maine Regional where she ran a Twin Brook personal best of 19:12.40 to win by 40 seconds.
Behind Gaudrault the race should be a good one with freshman Charlotte DeGeorge of Cape, and senior Marin Provencher of Greely, the two placed sccond and third to Gaudrault last weekend. Both ran faster on the much tougher Twin Brook course than those harriers who competed in the Class B Northern Maine Regional.
Northern Maine Regional champion Anna Jandreau of Presque Isle isn't afraid to push the pace so expect her to be at the front with the chase pack.
All eyes will be on the team race as Southern Maine champion Greely and Northern Maine winner Mt Desert Island are expected to battle it out for the hardware. The Rangers have some expected low sticks with Provencher, plus freshman Abby Hollis & Charlotte Taylor who won't be holding hands this week across the finish line. Hollis & Taylor clocked 20:59.20 last week. While Mt Desert Island hopes it's tight pack which had a compression of just 34.12 seconds at regionals can get the job done.
Based on our virtual meet which added thirty seconds to the Northern Maine times from a week ago, the two teams are tied with 84 points each. If in fact it came down to a tie breaker, MDI has the edge with the faster sixth runner.
Cape Elizabeth, York & Freeport look to be the next best teams looking for a top three finish.
The Class B boys race will go off at 11:40pm and will feature an excellent individual race as three seniors will look to win their first individual cross-country state title.
Southern Maine Regional champion Jack Bassett of Cape Elizabeth is the favorite after he turned back a stout challenge from Jarrett Gulden and Griffin Allaire a week ago. Bassett has shown he is a savy racer over the course of the season, he's not afraid to let his competitors set the pace then use his finishing speed to secure the victory which he has down a handful of times this fall.
Gulden came the closest to Bassett a week ago as he finished less than three seconds behind him, he'll have to employ a different strategy this week if he is going claim the title.
Don't count out Allaire who has been within seconds of Bassett on a couple of occasions this fall, he'll be looking to put it all out there to win the title.
The Greely duo of Sam Wilson and Riley Franklin will be fighting for every spot as they look to lead the Rangers to the team title, they could pick off one of the top three if they falter.
Northern Maine champion Josiah Webber of Lawrence is a confident runner who excelled on the flat and fast Belfast course but he'll have to conquer the ups and downs of Twin Brook to compete for a top ten finish.
Greely edged York by three points to win the Southern Maine Regional title last week so the defending Class B champion Wildcats will be looking to reverse the finish this week. The Wildcats just might have the advantage this week as they had a 1-5 compression of 49.1 seconds compared to the 1:50.3 for the Rangers. There was a 22 second gap between York's 5th runner and Greely's 5th runner last week, so the Rangers will likely need to close that down to win again. Check out the virtual meet for full details
Lincoln Academy, Northern Maine champion MDI, and Cape Elizabeth look to be the teams gunning for top five finishes.
Not to be missed will be the first ever wheelchair division state championship with Leavitt's pioneer Jonathan Schomaker competing on a modified 1.9 mile course which he completed in 37:21.49 a week ago.
At 12:20pm the Class C girls will toe the line, and Maine Coast junior Olivia Reynolds will be in pursuit of her third state title. Reynolds is the overwhelming favorite to repeat. Last week she cruised to the Southern Maine regional title in 20:05 for a winning margin of one minute.
If anyone is to push the two time defending champion look for Northern Maine champion Thea Crowley of George Stevens Academy. Crowley a freshman sped her way to Class C North title last weekend clocking the third fastest time overall between the three classes. Look for Northern Maine runner-up Erin Gerbi of Orono to go with Crowley again the two ran together for over 2 miles last weekend.
The team race should be terrific with Southern Maine champion Maine Coast Waldorf a slight favorite over two time defending champion Orono. Not much separates these two teams so every place while be important. Check out our virtual meet to see more details.
The Class C boys are expected to get off the line at 1:00pm as they chase glory. Look for the individual race to be a rematch of last weekend's Southern Maine C regional as senior Will Perkins of Boothbay/Wiscasett will be the favorite after he ran to a eight second win a week ago.
Perkins figures to be challenged by Maine Coast Waldorf junior Seamus Woodruff, and Lisbon sophomore Aidan Laviolette who finished second and third a week ago with just a scant second between them. If Laviolette can stay on his feet this week he might have a chance to move up, but it'll still be a challenge as Woodruff will be looking to secure the lowest stick he can for his team.
Northern Maine champion Kyle McClellan of Orono will be looking to carry the momentum from last week into the state meet to see if he can have another big breakthrough.
Maine Coast Waldorf the defending team champions are the heavy favorite to repeat. They dominated the Southern Maine race last week winning by 66 points, and in the process had all five scorers in the top nine finishers with just a 41 second compression.
Northern Maine champion Orono seems like a safe bet for the runner-up plaque, with George Stevens next in line.
At 1:40pm the Class A girls will take off, and new Twin Brook course record holder Sofie Matson will be chasing another sub 18 minute effort, and her third straight Class A individual title. Matson made history in winning the Southern regional last week as she ran 17:51.7 to break Abbey Leonardi's 18:08 course record and in the process become the first girl to run under 18 minutes on the famed course. Matson has never lost a race against Maine only competition, and the only thing to watch is to see how large her margin of victory is on Saturday.
Behind Matson there should be a strong race for the top five positions and deeper. Senior Kate Tugman had a fantastic race a week ago as she broke the 19 minute barrier with her 18:55.8 effort, if she can duplicate that effort again she would replicate her runner-up finish from a year ago. Tugman has run four 5k xc races this fall with 19:03 being her slowest effort.
Junior Karley Piers of Falmouth will be looking to stay with Tugman this week, she was third a week ago in a strong 19:11 effort. The Bonny Eagle duo of sophomores Emmaline Pendleton & Delaney Hesler will be looking to secure the low sticks for the defending champion Scots. Pendleton had a huge breakthrough last week running 19:35.5 for fourth, Hesler was fifth, will look to run better this week after dealing with a cold last weekend.
Northern Maine champion Lydia Gilmore of Bangor is a ferocious competitor who isn't afraid to push her limits, so expect her to stick her nose in it with the rest of the chase pack. Gilmore ran very well two weeks ago on the hilly course at Augusta so Twin Brook's layout should suit her style well. Her teammate Erin McCarthy had her best race of the season a week ago, McCarthy took the lead with a little over 800m left and went on to finish second overall in 19:38.
Defending champion Bonny Eagle, and winners of five of the last seven Class A team titles looks like a lock to repeat. The Scots have been the top ranked team all year and haven't had any hiccups all year. The sophomore trio of Pendleton, Hesler and Hannah Stevens give the Scots three low sticks.
Northern Maine champion Camden Hills the last team to beat Bonny Eagle at the 2017 state meet will look to do it again but the Windjammers are going need a big effort to pull off the upset.
Behind them Falmouth is right in contention for a podium finish, and having the best top two in the state doesn't hurt. Check out the virtual meet for complete details.
The final race of the day will go off at 2:20 with the Class A boys race and this one might be the most anticipated race of the day. Everyone will be chasing two time defending Class A champion Lisandro Berry-Gaviria of Mt Ararat. Berry-Gaviria has shown it doesn't matter the course layout he'll do what it takes to win whether it be control the race from the front, make a late race surge, or do just enough to secure victory. He'll have the target on his back on Saturday.
Brunswick senior Will Shaughnessy has had a great final season that has seen him run under 16 minutes three times so far including his runner-up finish last weekend at the Northern Maine regional where he was just three second back of Berry-Gaviria. Sophomore Dan McCarthy of Bangor has been within sight of the two seniors all season long and would love nothing better than to spring the upset.
Southern Maine champion Ben Greene of Falmouth used his superior speed to win the title a week ago, as the junior in his first season of cross-country after playing soccer the last two falls. clocked 16:32 in his first Twin Brook race. He'll be looking to challenge the three from the North along with his teammate Ben Potter who was the runner-up last week.
Senior Tristram Coffin of Scarborough will be looking to go out with a bang, a week ago he lead the Southern Maine race coming out of the pain cave with his sophomore teammate Zach Barry, they will be looking to secure two low sticks for the defending champion Red Storm.
Speaking of the team race this one should be a tight one. Northern Maine champion Mt. Ararat enters as the favorite after winning the KVAC and Northern Maine titles. With the low stick of Berry-Gaviria leading the way the Eagles will be looking for the school first state title since 1994.
It won't be easy as Northern Maine runner-up Brunswick was only six points behind a week ago, while Southern Maine champion Falmouth, defending state champion Scarborough, and Bangor all are in contention for a podium finish. Check out the virtual meet.