All the work done by Medomak Valley High School athletic director Matt Lash, along with his father Neil Lash and cross-country and track-and-field coach George Gould to make a cross-country course viewed by many as a cut above the rest, has been recognized at the state level.

Not only has it been recognized, but it will be the venue for one of the state’s most prestigious athletic events.

Medomak Valley High School has been selected to host the 2010 Maine Games/New Balance State Cross-Country/5K Championships, which is run in conjunction with the 2010 Maine Games.

The cross-country race will be held at the Medomak Nature Trail on the Medomak Valley High School campus Saturday, June 26.

This event is the exclusive Maine qualifier for the 2011 State Games of America. Athletes who medal in the Maine Games Cross-Country/5K race will automatically qualify to compete at the SGA in San Diego the first weekend of August.

“We have been given a great opportunity to showcase what I believe is one of the best 5K courses in the state,” said Matt Lash. “We have a lot of work to do. The Medomak Valley community always steps up and does it first class. At this time, we do not know how big this will be. We could have 100 runners or 500. I am confident we will do it right.”

According to the Maine Games website, the event “is a non-profit, public charity with the mission of making Maine a healthier place to live, work and raise a family.” The games also “provide a statewide state on which amateur athletes of all ages and abilities can compete, practice good sportsmanship, and develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime.”

The 2010 Maine Games will have more than 15 events that will take place over the course of five months. The 2010 Maine Games began March 19 with a middle school ice hockey tournament in Biddeford and will culminate in August with a high school volleyball tournament in Lewiston.

“It’s obviously something that is very important to us and it’s a huge step to get us to where we want to be in the cross-country community,” said Gould. “I think Neil and Matt, their goal from the very beginning with the new course was to have something we could showcase the entire district with and it certainly does that.”

Gould said other than a few minor details here and there, including adding another small section through the woods, the course is ready to go for the big race in June.

The Medomak Nature Trail was used this fall for both Medomak Valley High School and Medomak Middle School cross-country events, and also hosted the Busline League middle school cross-country championships.

Gould was pleased on hearing that the Maine Games would be coming to Waldoboro, and while putting in a fair amount of time himself on the course, could not praise not only Matt and Neil Lash, but the community involvement in helping the course become a reality.

“It’s a huge, first-class event, an incredible organization and [Maine Games Executive Director] Jeff Scully has been very helpful in all of this,” said Gould. “We’re just looking to have a fun race for the Midcoast runners in the area and bring in some runners from other places as well.”

Work officially began on the course in the spring of 2007 when Medomak Middle School, which now neighbors Medomak Valley High School, was officially completed. Both Lashes and Gould put in many hours on the project, along with community volunteers in helping build the course. The course officially opened in the fall of 2008.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.