Last fall, the Cheverus boys cross country team came agonizingly close to claiming the program’s first Class A state championship since 2001.
The Stags of Portland are on the right path to realizing their dream as they head into Saturday’s state championship meet at Belfast on quite a roll, having nipped Scarborough in the regionals by the narrowest of margins.
The two teams each scored 40 points, but the Stags’ No. 6 man, Mark Beahm, edged Scarborough No. 6 Joe Prosack by two places.
Both teams will be looking to unseat 2007 state champ Lewiston, which won the East regional title handily.
The Stags are led up front by the 1-2-3 combination of Jack Terwilliger, Andrew Snyder and Taylor Dundas, with Tim Woods right behind in the No. 4 hole. All four runners earned top-10 finishes at regionals.
Josh Reali has been a solid No. 5 for Cheverus.
Scarborough is led by cross country rookie Nate Hathaway, a junior who ran to the individual title last week.
Hathaway, a track and field sensation running cross country for the first time, was timed in 16 minutes, 46 seconds on a tough Twin Brook Recreation Area course.
Sam Chick and Craig Robinson, the Nos. 2 and 3 runners, complement Hathaway well up front, while Sean Griffin and Brad Nakanishi have been solid in the 4 and 5 spots.
The Stags and Storm match up very well with Lewiston, and the championship will come down to which team has the best pack.
Class B: Greely is running as well as anybody in the state right now, and the Rangers made a surefire statement at regionals that they will be tough to beat this weekend.
The Rangers defeated runner-up Cape Elizabeth by 33 points and their top three is as deadly as anyone’s statewide.
Mark McCauley, James LePage and Logan Price make up that three-headed monster, with Andy Fitch and Sam Johnston in the fourth and fifth holes.
All five of those runners earned top-11 finishes last weekend.
The Rangers will give Eastern champ Caribou a test, but the Vikings do have the pack to make things interesting.
Cape Elizabeth senior Matt Rand, the individual champ in 16:20, will contend with Erskine of South China’s Sam Seekins and Alex Moser of York for top honors.
Class C: This one is appears to be a tossup, as any one of four teams — three from the West — could come out on top.
One of them is Boothbay Region, which is having an out-standing season thus far and cruised to the team title last week by 34 points over reigning state champion Winthrop.
The Seahawks are led up front by senior Zach Campbell, while Nate Schwehm, Matt Forgues, Chase Brown and Wendell Thayer pack a punch behind him.
Boothbay matches up pretty well with Eastern Maine champion Foxcroft Academy, and the Seahawks will need their 2-5 runners to come through again if they want to come home with the first state championship in the history of the program.
Hall-Dale of Farmingdale’s Wade Davis is a favorite to capture the individual title, and he ran a solid 16:23 last weekend.