With the rain that is predicted to fall on Saturday, high school cross country runners can expect another mud bath at this weekend’s state championship meets at Leavitt Area High School in Turner.
The action kicks off with the Class A girls race at 11 a.m., followed by the “A” boys, Class B boys and girls and Class C boys and girls. Races begin approximately every 40 minutes.
The most competitive team races may occur in Class B on both sides while some of the state’s top individuals will be chasing state titles in Class A.
In Class A, the Brunswick girls ran roughshod through the Eastern Maine field at last week’s regional championships in Belfast, and the Dragons look poised to earn their second state title in as many years.
Brunswick’s closest challenger may be WM “A” champ Scarborough, which is led by arguably the state’s top female runner in senior Erica Jesseman.
All three PVC “A” schools, Bangor, Brewer and Hampden Academy, will be in the field, with the Witches making their first state meet appearance in six seasons.
Hampden Academy has another one of the state’s top individuals in senior Molly Peverada, who ran uncontested to the individual title last week.
Brewer is young, with five sophomores and two juniors in its lineup, and frontrunner Katie Snow will be looking for a top-20 finish.
On the boys’ side, Scarborough leads a deep field of contenders, followed by KVAC rivals Edward Little of Auburn and Lewiston.
Bangor senior Casey Quaglia will look to cap his first season of high school cross country by competing for an individual state crown, and junior teammate Riley Masters will be looking to crack the top 10 as well. Brewer, led by Travis Blackmer and Evan Taylor, should be competitive as well.
In Class B, the rematch between the Cape Elizabeth and Mount Desert Island girls will likely be the highlight of the day.
MDI beat Cape Elizabeth in the Maine XC Festival of Champions earlier this month, finishing second overall in that meet, and the Trojans haven’t looked back since.
“We’re really looking at Cape Elizabeth, that’s what our focus is,” MDI senior Amanda Ohmeis said after the Trojans’ win at the EM regionals last week.
MDI is also led by frontrunners Heather Spurling and Jessica Swanson as well as Sue Falt and Leila Banks.
The boys meet will feature yet another individual showdown between Ellsworth senior Corey DeWitt and Caribou junior Sam Sheehan, and both runners’ respective teams will be in contention.
Cape Elizabeth earned the top ranking in the latest coaches poll, but the Eagles and Vikings have both the standout frontrunner and strong pack to run with the defending state champion Capers.
The red-hot Eagles have only beaten Caribou twice this season – but both times have been in postseason meets. DeWitt, Logan Will, Alec Phippen and Ben Chapman provide coach Andy Beardsley’s team with a lethal 1-4 punch.
Caribou will need strong races from Sheehan, Spencer McElwain, Stefan Ciszewski and Drew Freme to contend for a top-three finish.
In Class C, defending state champions Freeport girls and Lisbon boys are the favorites again this year.
Eastern Maine champ Foxcroft Academy and EM runner-up Orono could contend on the boys side, while Addison Pellerano from George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill should be in the mix for first place.
Winthrop, out of the Mountain Valley Conference, has been closing in on Lisbon in the last few weeks and has a strong pack.
In the girls meet, Freeport is poised to run to yet another state title, as it upset Class B rival Cape Elizabeth at the Western Maine Conference meet two weeks ago.
Eastern Regional champ Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln has a strong 1-2 punch of Renee LaFlamme and Casey McCloskey, and will be in contention. LaFlamme will be one of the favorites for the individual title.