The twenty-first Maine XC Festival of Champions will feature most of the top talent in Maine. The top fifteen ranked individuals in the MileSplit Maine rankings are entered along with nine of the top ten teams, and twenty four of the top twenty five teams in the most recent team rankings. The meet will be a who's who of Maine high school cross-country.
Meet record holder Ruth White of Orono is back looking to defend her title, and potentially lower her course record of 17:28.46. White the top ranked runner in Maine is once again undefeated entering the meet, and is the favorite to repeat. All eyes will be on the junior on Saturday, and some other top runners will try to run with the champion.
Cape Elizabeth's Hadley Mahoney and Bonny Eagle's Addy Thibodeau are two of those likely to give it a shot to run with White. Mahoney finished fourth a year ago, and is coming off a narrow win over Thibodeau at the Southern Maine Classic two weeks ago where the race was decided by just .05, as both athletes broke the 18 minute barrier. Thibodeau placed tenth in the meet last fall, and has taken her running to a new level so far this fall.
York junior Cary Drake is a gamer so expect her to be in the front pack. Drake is ranked #4 statewide and is coming off a seventh place effort (19:43) in the small school race at the Manchester Invitational last weekend. Senior Anna Robinson of the Royals TC is seeded at 18:00 and figured to be one of the top individuals. George Stevens Academy senior Thea Crowley is back after a sixth place effort in 2021. Crowley is one of the top runners in the state currently holding the down the fifth spot, she has only lost to White this fall.
Cape Elizabeth junior Emma Young is coming off a huge personal best of 19:03.3 at the Southern Maine Classic which has her ranked #6 in the state. Young missed the meet last fall so this will be her first FOC. Camden Hills Jenna VanRyn will have a short travel up to Belfast on Saturday. The junior finished 16th a year ago is off to a strong start this fall. VanRyn ranked #7 has a best of 19:32 this fall. Portland sophomore Samantha Moore will be one to watch after placing third in the freshman race last year. Moore (#8) is undefeated this season, and last time out broke the 19 minute barrier for first time.
Marshwood junior Sarah McClellan (#9) is coning off her best race of the season at Southern Maine Classic where she clocked a 19:20. McClellan placed ninth in 2021, and always runs well on the Belfast course. Waterville senior Abby Williams is one of the most improved runners from a year ago. Williams ran run under twenty minutes twice this fall. Bonny Eagle junior Allie Hesler placed 61st a year in the meet, and is much improved this fall. Hesler who was the key fifth runner in the Scots New England runner-up is coming off a personal best 19:27.7.
Top ranked Bonny Eagle is the favorite to repeat as team champions. Despite huge graduation losses, the Scots have been just as good in 2022. At the Southern Maine Classic they showed their quality and depth tallying 33 points to win by 55 points over #3 ranked Marshwood.
Class C Orono comes into the meet ranked #2 led by the expected low stick of Ruth White. The Red Riots have a young squad and this will be their first real test of the season. Cumberland of Rhode Island is the second best team based on 2022 5k best. Marshwood will see if they can close the gap to the Scots two weeks later. #4 Cape Elizabeth has been the top team in Class B this fall and will look to mix it up with the other top teams on Saturday. they were 16 points behind the Hawks at Southern Maine Classic two weeks ago.
#5 Falmouth edged #6 Portland by a point last week, Falmouth might have the edge in a bigger meet as they had all seven runners in before the Bulldogs fifth runner. #7 Mt Desert Island has been coming on as of late and they will look to challenge for top Class B honors on Saturday, right with them is expected to be #8 Greely. Rounding out the top teams is Camden Hills who ranks #9.
This meet should definitely give a clearer picture as to what teams should be competing for state titles late in October.