A new course met runners at the Southern Maine Classic on Saturday at Narragansett School. The change in course was necessary due to a new skate park that was build were the old course used to start. The new layout was expected to be fast as many local coaches commented that there were a lot more straight aways and less twists and turns. Combine that with near perfect cross-country weather and the stars were aligned, the runners did the rest, and the result was a plethora of personal bests.
The freshman/sophomore boys got the action underway with the first of four races on the day. Marshwood freshman Henri Rivard went to the front and controlled the pace. He was tailed by Scarborough sophomore Ethan Keller as the duo pulled away from the rest of the field around the halfway point. Rivard edged ahead for good as he crossed the finish line first in 16:39.10 to set a new course record. Keller was nipping at his heels in second with a 16:41. Portland's Charlie Jacques finished third (17:01.2), then Evan Small of South Portland (17:08) while Aran Johnson of Portland rounded out the top five with a 17:21.
The freshman/sophomore girls race was up next. Bonny Eagle freshman Marina Violette set the pace early, and opened up a lead that would never be closed. Violette would be the only runner in the field to crack the twenty minute barrier as she stopped the clock at 19:53.3. Yarmouth sophomore Madeleine Jones closed well over the second half of the race with her 20:01.90, while Greely freshman Rowan Barry was next in 20:06.40. Rahel Delaney of Maine Coast Waldorf was fourth in 20:26.40 and Maeve Ginevan of Falmouth placed fifth in 20:50.50.
The junior/senior boys race was expected to be a good one, and it didn't disappoint at all. In the end Freeport senior Henry Horne made his final move just after the two mile mark, and was able to drop early race leader Nathan Blades of Portland. Horne who entered the meet with a cross-country 5k best of 16:56 from last week surprised some with his 15:26.10 winning effort. The time is ninth best in state history putting Horne among some of the all-time greats and makes him the favorite to win the Class B individual title.
Blades who set the pace for the first two miles still clocked a personal best 15:39.10 as he continued his breakout fall. Behind him was senior Adam Bendetson of Scarborough who ran a personal best 15:44.2, the time moved him to the top of the Red Storm all-time cross-country list for 5k. Noble's Maddox Jordan also dipped under 16 minutes with a 15:58.10 effort while Bonny Eagle junior Xavier Lemieux rounded out the top five in 16:20.70.
In what maybe one of the best races of the 2022 season the girls junior/senior race was electric, and was decided by a photo finish as Hadley Mahoney used a track race lean to edge Addy Thibodeau by just .05 to win. Mahoney a junior from Cape Elizabeth led the race early on and had a five meter gap on Thibodeau throughout most of it, she finished with a personal best 17:55.60, Thibodeau of Bonny Eagle almost came behind to win also had a personal best 17:55.70. The times are make the duo the 10th and 11th fastest in state history as they joined an elite group who have broken 18 minutes.
Cape Elizabeth junior Emma Young had the best race of her career as she clocked 19:03.30 to finish third, next was Sarah McClellan of Marshwood in fourth with a 19:20.90, while junior Allie Hesler of Bonny Eagle rounded out the top five with a personal best 19:27.70.
The number ranked Portland Bulldogs continued to dominate the competition as the Bulldogs tallied 78 points to win comfortably by 34 points. Scarborough (#4) edged (#6) Freeport 112-113, while (#5) Bonny Eagle was fourth with 120 points. (#7) South Portland rounded out the top with 147 points.
Bonny Eagle the top ranked team in the state were impressive putting their top five runners in the top ten overall as they scored 33 points to finish 43 points ahead of (#3) Marshwood. (#7) Cape Elizabeth was third with 94 points while (#10) Greely was fourth with (#15) Freeport was fifth.