Orono senior Ruth White shattered her course at the Troy Howard Middle School on Saturday during the 21st Maine XC Festival of Champions clocking 16:56.92. The time was over thirty seconds better than the year-old record she set in winning the Festival of Champions in 2022 (17:27.15). Her mark is now the fastest known xc 5k in Maine high school history surpassing the mark of Susannah Beck of Waynflete (17:20.6) from 1985.
Houlton/GHCA junior Teanne Ewings had a breakthrough race as she kept White in her sights for most of the course her reward was a 17:15.47. Her mark was well under White's record from 2022 and also surpasses Beck's all-time mark.
White assumed the lead as the runner emerged from the woods and moved through the back of the end zone with Ewings, Cary Drake (York), Brooke Strauss (Glastonbury), Soren Stark-Chessa (Maine Coast) and Zoe Mosher (Park View, NS) in tow.
Up the super highway, White continued to press on the gas pedal, but Ewings was holding her spot about 10 yards back. The rest of the field was shattered as Strauss was third, followed by Drake. Stark-Chessa, Mosher, and Portland junior Samantha Moore formed the chase pack.
White lengthened her lead to 20m or so as the runners exited the woods and headed for the two-mile but Ewings was hanging on in fact she was the closest anyone from Maine had been to White this late in an XC race. Drake had moved passed Strauss and Moore was closing the gap as well.
As the runner ran behind the finish line Ruth was in full flight and based on the time on the finish line clock had a chance at the magical sub-17 mark. Ewings continued to push losing distance but in small increments.
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As White sprinted down the hill incline and was on the finishing straight it became apparent she was on her way to a new course record and an all-time wow performance. She gritted her teeth as she pushed her body for every last ounce of energy and crossed the line with the clock showing 16:56. White had little time to catch her breath as Ewings powered across the line at 17:15.47. The two rivals acknowledged each other and the effort they had just spent running the 5k course.
Cary Drake had her eyes on the clock as she passed under the finish line. Drake a senior and the defending Class B champion broke the 18-minute minute barrier with her personal best effort of 17:56.67. She became the 14th girl in state history to break the barrier. Moore of Portland just missed out on the sub-18 parade as the junior established herself as the favorite to win the Class A title with her 18:02.95 finish.
Stark-Chessa of Maine Coast Waldorf was the fastest sophomore in the field with an 18:11.35 effort for fifth. Defending Class A state champion Addy Thibodeau of Bonny Eagle finished sixth (18:39.67). Bedford, NH senior Fiona Lee was next (18:46.67), while sophomore Sarah Wallace (Dr. John H Gillis, NS) was eighth (18:48.) In ninth was Cumberland's Kiley DeFusco (18:51.32) with Zoe Mosher (Park View, NS) rounding out the top ten finishers at 18:52.44.