As much as Grace Boutot loves running, her heart is truly on the ski trails.
Even though it’s still early for some Mainers to be thinking about snow, the Fort Kent High senior, who finished second in the Class C cross country state championship race Saturday, is ready to hit a different kind of trail.
“I’m excited for running to be over and now it is so I can go ski,” said Boutot after capping her high school cross country career with a 20 minute, 21-second effort.
“I think it was a good way to end it,” she continued. “I was looking to win. That’s always what you look for, but I’m happy with second.”
Boutot, a top biathlete on the U.S. Junior National team, is no stranger to competing against Adele Espy of Waynflete, also a skier, who won Saturday’s cross country race.
“We’re in the same class for high school skiing so we compete throughout the winter,” Boutot said.
Boutot stuck with Espy early in the race, going through the mile in about 5 minutes, 50 seconds before the Flyers’ senior pulled away for the victory.
“I thought if I could stay with her I would have a chance of doing well,” Boutot said.
Did she ever. Boutot’s performance was impressive especially since she didn’t do any running all week leading up to states, but a lot of her ski training involves going up and down hills, which can improve a runner’s leg strength and endurance.
“It’s helped me a lot with my strength,” she said. “And I’ve gained a lot of muscle with ski training so it’s definitely helped with my endurance.”
Freshmen rule the trails
When the results of Saturday’s state girls cross country championships were combined to determine qualifiers for the New England championships, four runners at the top of the heap stood out for one astounding reason.
They’re all freshman.
Kennebunk’s Abbey Leonardi, Bonny Eagle of Buxton’s Emily Durgin, Cheverus of Portland’s Fiona Hendry and Maranacook of Readfield’s Abby Mace clocked the fastest four times of the day, with Leonardi’s being the quickest at 18:02.97.
Leonardi would’ve easily broken the 18-minute barrier and possibly had a shot at the course record had she not stumbled around a sharp corner and into a bush early in the race, causing her to lose a few valuable seconds.
Those four will represent Maine at Saturday’s New England meet in Manchester, N.H., along with a few other local runners.
Brianne Dunn of Ellsworth, Mt. Blue of Farmington’s Melody Lam, Sarah Dickens of John Bapst of Bangor (also a freshman) and Dacie Manion of Old Town all earned individual qualifying spots while Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, Freeport, York, Greely of Cumberland Center and Waynflete of Portland earned team qualifying spots.
Mt. Blue’s Kelton Cullenberg, Ben Chapman of Ellsworth, Wade Davis of Hall-Dale in Farmingdale and Ryan James of Belfast all qualified on the boys’ side, with teams from Scarborough, Greely, Monmouth Academy, Lewiston, Cheverus of Portland and Cape Elizabeth earning berths as well.
Preseason hoop clinics set
With regional and state championships still to be decided in high school soccer this week, it still may be a little too soon to start thinking about the upcoming high school basketball season.
Well, maybe not for some folks. While winter sports practices kick off on Nov. 17, there are a number of coaching clinics coming up around the state that each school’s boys and girls head basketball coaches are required to attend.
The first clinics are set for Wednesday at Machias High School at 5 p.m. and Friday at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle’s Christie Hall at 5:30 p.m.
The other three clinics are Nov. 10 at Brewer High at 6:15 p.m., Nov. 12 at Gorham Middle School at 6 p.m. and Nov. 13 at Waterville Junior High at 6.
Coaches who are planning on attending clinics outside their geographical area should contact 296-2472.