BELFAST - After a monsoon blew through the Pine Tree State last weekend, it was a perfect day to run in midcoast Maine Saturday as Eastern Maine's best gathered at Troy Howard Middle School here for the regional championships.
When the dust settled, two new reigns started while another team kept hold of its regional crown.
Mount Ararat and John Bapst can both call themselves Class A and B champs for the first time since 2004 while Orono continued its Class C reign.
John Bapst unseated three-time defending champion Mount Desert Island Saturday, as all five scoring Crusaders in the top 15 as coach Joe Capehart's squad won going away, 53 points to 84.
Ellsworth finished second in the 14-school Class B field with 125 points, while Presque Isle was fourth with 138 and Medomak of Waldoboro fifth (138).
The top seven teams qualified for next week’s state meet in Cumberland, meaning Winslow (150) and Hampden Academy (154) advance as well.
John Bapst’s title crusade was slowed slightly at the PVC championship meet a couple weeks ago, but the team used the extra week of practice after the regionals were postponed to this cloudy but mild Halloween after rainy, cold weather on Oct. 24 to get some extra work in.
“I think it really helped to have another week of training, that way we didn’t have to train too hard," commeted John Bapst sophomore Mary Carmack, who was the Crusaders' second runner, finshing ninth.
Mary’s sister, Adrienne, a freshman, led the Bapst pack in seventh place while senior Kim Spencer was 11th, sophomore Sarah Dickens 12th and junior Laura Donovan 15th to round out the scoring.
The impressive thing is all five of these purple-clad runners finished ahead of MDI’s No. 2 girl, making up for a subpar conference championship effort.
Spencer, one of only two seniors in the Bapst lineup, was happy to finally come out on top.
“This is my fourth time running here so it feels good to finally win something,” she said.
Spencer’s classmate, Stesha Rudnicki, finished 38th and Jennie Wainer, a junior, 58th.
Old Town junior Dacie Manion continued her assault on the Eastern Maine trails this fall, capturing individual honors in 20 minutes, 10.5 seconds over a dry, fast 5,000-meter course.
She pulled away from two of the region’s other top runners, Alecia Palmer of Presque Isle, who finished second, and Brianne Dunn of Ellsworth, who claimed third place.
Also finishing in the top 10 were Molly Schassberger of Winslow in fourth, Gewn Moiles of Medomak in fifth, MDI's Malia Demers in sixth, Rosie Vachon of Ellsworth in eighth and Lianne McCluskey of Camden Hills in 10th.
In Class A, Mount Ararat outdistanced Mt. Blue of Farmington 54-58 to win a tight race.
Edward Little finished third with 95 points with Brunswick right behind in fourth (98). Defending regional champion Brewe ran a strong fifth wtih 165 while Messalonskee claimed the sixth and final state-meet berth with 171 points.
Cougars’ senior Melody Lam (pictured left-photo by Glendon Rand) earned some redemption from conference competition as well, posting the afternoon’s fastest time at 19:37.72 to win her second straight individual crown.
“Compared to KVAC’s, today I felt a lot better,” Lam commented. “Last week, I had a really big issue with not eating breakfast and being sick, so today I forced myself to make sure everything was OK.
It certainly was, as she blizted through the first mile in 5:48 and never looked back, and Mt. Ararat's Kate Spies and Brunswick's Kathleen McMahon couldn't keep up, much to Lam's surprise.
"I wasn’t planning too but when I went out really fast I thought that people we’re going to be with me but they weren’t," Lam said.
Spies finished second to lead MA's winning effort while Emma Wood was fourth. Addie Cullenberg and Gwen Beacham backed Lam's efforts by finishing 6th and 9th for Mt. Blue, but the Eagles' 3-4-5 runners, Emilia McGrath, Lauren McNett and Ariel McNett claimed places 12-16-20 to cement the narrow triumph.
Other top-10 finishers included McMahon of Brunswick, who finished third, Messalonskee's Meghan Collier in fifth, Sorrell Dunn of Oxford Hills in seventh, Sara Chavarie of Brewer in eighth and Abby Hart of Edward Little taking 10th.
And in Class C, Searsport’s Faith Mackey claimed the individual title in 21:41.43, but it was Orono winning team honors for the second year in a row.
The Red Riots edged Greenville 43-46 while Bangor Christian was third with 76 points.
Cassie Clemmer was second among scoring runners to pace the Red Riots while Holli Kenison was fourth and Leila Doerfler eighth.
Sibohan Harrity (13th) and Liz Nelson (16th) rounded out the scorers.
Foxcroft Academy's Chelsie Oldfield finished second while Nelly Winship of Bucksport was third overall, Brandy Carle of Calais fourth, Michelle Reidy from Islesboro fifth, Fort Kent's Cassidy Clemmer seventh, McKenna Peat of Greenville eighth and Lucy Wilcox of Limestone 10th.
All photos by Glendon Rand- for more visit http://sub5pictures.shutterfly.com/