Camden Hills girls claim second straight regional titleCamden Hills, Medomak Valley boys, five local individuals also qualify for states
Belfast — The Camden Hills girls cross-country team narrowly secured the Eastern Class B championship last season at Troy Howard Middle School when the Windjammers bested runner-up Mount Desert Island by a single point.
Fast forward one year and the Windjammers were on their running game again at the same venue Saturday afternoon, Oct. 20 with four Camden Hills student-athletes finishing among the top 15 to help the Windjammers secure their second straight regional crown.
Both the Windjammer boys and girls, along with the Medomak Valley boys, qualified for the state Class B championships, which will be run on Saturday, Oct. 27 back at Troy Howard. The boys race is at 12:30 p.m. and the girls race at 1:15 p.m.
The top seven boys and girls teams from Eastern Class B qualify for the states.
In addition, Oceanside's Abby Hersom, Riley Simmons, Cole Chase and Nick Mahar, along with Belfast's Cassie Howard, were the local runners who qualified individually for the state championships by virtue of finishing among the top 30 in their respective regional races.
There were, of course, other local runners on Camden Hills and Medomak Valley who finished among the top 30 who would have qualified as individuals but qualified as members of their teams.
Course conditions were less than ideal with rain falling much of last week and particularly Friday night into Saturday morning, which left the runners to endure the rain-soaked, muddy, slippery conditions that also included standing water in places.
The Windjammer girls, led by scoring runners Brittany Bowman, Emily Lopez, Hannah Brownawell, Samantha Morse and Lily Kassen, compiled 51 points, 14 better than second-place Waterville (65), while Mount Desert Island (78), last year's state Class B champion, finished third.
Both Camden Hills teams turned in a wealth of stellar individual performances, led by Ben Trapani, who finished second in the boys race, and Bowman, who placed third in the girls race.
Windjammer coach Becky Flanagan said she was pleased with both teams, particularly the boys, who missed qualifying for the state championships by one place last year, finishing eighth at the regional. The Windjammer boys also were missing one of their top runners, James Annis, who did not compete with a sprained ankle.
"We adjusted our training last week and the results were evident," Flanagan said. "Ben [Trapani] is running better than ever and feeling fantastic, freshmen Eli Smith and Ben Winchenbach performed wonderfully, making the top 30 cutoff, and the others — Eddie McCluskey, Nat Lawson, Forest Priestley and Crockett Lalor — ran great races."
The Ellsworth boys turned in a dominant performance with three Eagles finishing among the top four and all five scoring runners among the top 10, as Ellsworth finished first with an impressive 27 points — a whopping 100 points better than second-place Caribou.
The Camden Hills girls prevailed despite standout freshman runner Jacqueline Russell being unable to finish the race due to illness. Russell is one of the Windjammers' top competitors.
Additionally, Kassen collapsed into the mud at the finish line and was pulled off to the side, where she laid for several minutes. Flanagan said "both girls are fine" and will run in next week's state championships.
"It may have been dehydration, which we will be addressing this week," the coach said of Kassen's collapse. "It was a rough race, kind of like running in fudge sauce. I couldn't believe how tired they looked when they were finishing. It was the type of day that defines a team, and they were champs in every way possible. When Lily ran by and saw that Jacqueline was in trouble, she knew that she had a job to do. She listened to me when I hollered for her to finish strong for the team, doing it and doing it well."
The Windjammer girls finished second to MDI at last year's state Class B championship meet in Cumberland, while Medomak Valley, the lone local boys team to qualify last fall, finished 14th.
Flanagan said both Windjammer teams are looking forward to next week, particularly the girls, who are eying the first state cross-country championship in school history.
"We would love to bring that title home with us," Flanagan said. "They've worked hard — running to the top of Beech Hill and the [Camden Hills] State Park trails (which are truly uphill both ways). They've cross-trained and we have had a nutritionist in to work with them. Their teamwork and dedication to each other almost can't be described. They are a wonderfully coachable and talented group."
The Eastern Class B girls team scores were: 1, Camden Hills, 51; 2, Waterville, 65; 3, Mount Desert Island, 78; 4, Caribou, 81; 5, John Bapst of Bangor, 124; 6, Winslow, 130; 7, Ellsworth, 222; 8, Belfast, 241; 9, Presque Isle, 256; 10, Medomak Valley, 279; 11, Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, 294; 12, Old Town, 300; and 13, Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft, 346.
The Eastern Class B boys team scores were: 1, Ellsworth, 27; 2, Caribou, 127; 3, Mount Desert Island, 138; 4, Winslow, 141; 5, John Bapst, 143; 6, Camden Hills, 164; 7, Medomak Valley, 184; 8, Waterville, 187; 9, Presque Isle, 243; 10, Hermon, 256; 11, Oceanside, 276; 12, Belfast, 301; 13, Old Town, 304; 14, Washington Academy of East Machias, 309; and 15, Foxcroft Academy, 414.
The individual Midcoast girls results (92 overall runners) were: 3, Bowman, CH, 20:34.43; 5, Hersom, Ocean, 20:57.52; 6, Lopez, CH, 21:00.05; 7, Brownawell, CH, 21:02.69; 14, Morse, CH, 21:37.63; 19, Simmons, Ocean, 22:26.64; 22, Howard, Bel, 22:56.33; 27, Kassen, CH, 23:13.37; 30, Ella Scott, CH, 23:35.24; 35, Jill van der Schaaf, Med, 23:51.74; 42, Maria Swebilius, Bel, 24:46.35; 51, Shannon Staples, Med, 25:05.06; 53, Romy Carpenter, Bel, 25:07.06; 58, Rayanne Leach, Med, 25:38.11; 68, Lindsey Ward, Bel, 26:38.15; 72, Krista Hooper, Med, 27:32.17; 75, Sarah James, Bel, 27:50.65; 81, Maddie Wich, Bel, 28:44.30; 84, Beth Corson, Med, 30:44.83; 88, Geneva Bielenberg, Bel, 32:00.52; and 90, Ashley Pezanowski, Ocean, 32:56.93.
The individual Midcoast boys results (102 overall runners) were: 2, Trapani, CH, 17:39.93; 15, Chase, Ocean, 19:06.42; 18, Ivan Johnson, Med, 19:10.98; 19, Eli Smith, CH, 19:12.77; 22, Mahar, Ocean, 19:22.17; 23, Alexander Casas, Med, 19:22.21; 26, Ben Winchenbach, CH, 19:26.30; 30, Gavin Felch, Med, 19:30.31; 39, Nick Anderson, Med, 19:49.71; 49, Doug Wich, Bel, 20:32.81; 56, Forest Priestley, CH, 21:04.47; 57, Sam Johnson, Ocean, 21:04.88; 58, Grant Richards, Bel, 21:07.97; 66, Crockett Lalor, CH, 21:46.65; 67, Patrick Groening, Bel, 21:51.14; 69, Hendrik Andrews, Bel, 22:01.73; 72, Jordan Bickford, Bel, 22:10.07; 73, Aidan Ripley, Bel, 22:12.04; 75, Ethan Merrifield, Bel, 22:13.39; 78, Daniel Bubar, Med, 22:35.43; 80, Eddie McCluskey, CH, 22:47.51; 84, Nat Lawson, CH, 23:13.84; 89, Josh Delgado, Med, 23:44.30; 95, Daly Winterich, Ocean, 25:51.28; and 99, Curran Grant, Ocean, 27:30.68.
Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.